The Velázquez Prize recognizes the experimental work of artist Elda Cerrato

  • The main plastic arts prize in the Hispano-American sphere recognizes the “extensive and sustained work, until recently little recognized”, of the 92-year-old Argentinian artist

The Velázquez Prize for Plastic Artsthe largest in the sector in the Latin American sphere, endowed with 100,000 euros, recognized the veteran Argentine visual artist Elda Cerrato, 92 (born in 1930 in Asti, Italy), valuing her “broad and sustained experimental artistic work, until recently little recognized”.

In Cerrato’s work, “seemingly unconnected territories intersect: spiritual searches, esoteric inquiries, radical politicization, art’s capacity for anticipation, and a particular call for attention to the fragility of democratic institutions in Latin America. & rdquor ;, pointed out the jury of the prize granted by the Ministry of Culture.

In her works, the artist, teacher and researcher, who lives and works in Buenos Aires, has always been present the theme of personal and collective memory, developed through research into esoteric, political territories or a reflection on the absence and presence. For this reason, the jury of the Velázquez Prize recognized that it speaks “of memory at the edges to account for an enlightened trajectory from the margins of movements, institutions and hegemonic artistic tendencies”.

Military dictatorship

With her partner, the experimental musician Luis Zubillaga, Cerrato was part of the first groups of the mystical master Gurdjeff in Latin America and other alternative spiritual and philosophical research since the 1950s. In the 1960s she was very close to Aldo Pellegrini, Juan Carlos Paz, Oscar Masotta, linked to the Di Tella Institute and later to the CAYC. He was also part, with Juan Carlos Romero, of the foundation of SUAP (Unique Union of Plastic Artists).

During the Argentine military dictatorship and in the 1960s, she lived in Venezuela, where she was actively involved in the cultural milieu of Caracas and, in particular, in the group El Techo de la Ballena. After the dictatorship, his work draws attention to the threats to democratic life, in the continuous context of economic, political and social crisis that Argentina is going through.

Anthological exhibition

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In 2015, the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Buenos Aires, where he taught, published ‘Memory on the edges’, which brings together its archives, as well as texts by different authors and researchers. In 2021, the Museum of Modern Art in the Argentine capital organized a anthological exhibition of his work under the title “The wonderful day of the peoples”. Currently he is working with his son Luciano Zubillaga on the audiovisual project ‘Family Reunion’.

At last year’s edition, vindictive Cuban “performer” Tania Bruguera won the Velázquez Prize. Previously, recognition has gone to artists such as Antoni Tàpies, Luis Gordillo, Antoni Muntadas, Jaume Plensa and Antoni Miralda.


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