Parque de La Memoria, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Facing the water, behind the University of Buenos Aires, stands the Parque de la Memoria, a park displaying monumental sculptures by internationally renowned artists such as Denis Oppenheim, León Ferrari or William Tucker and dedicated to the 30,000 “desaparecidos”.
At 10am, opening time, the sun is already strong. Walking along this barren land, the visitor is immediately taken aback by the emotion this site carries.
The nine sculptures, of which seven by Argentinean artists, are imposing, humble, powerful, and they all share a common theme: the vanishing, the disappearance.
The artists’ intentions are explained on plates that accompany each work, all of them poignant. With 30.000, Argentinean artist Nicolás Gagnini, born in 1966, fragmented the portrait of his late father, gone missing in 1977, on twenty five equidistant thirteen feet tall prismatic poles. Moving around the sculpture, the viewer gets to the precise angle where the entire portrait reveals itself. As one continues moving, the portrait slowly disintegrates and disappears.
Reconstrucción del retrato de Pablo Míguez, by Argentinean artist Claudia Fontes, born in 1964, is displayed at about a forty yards off the shore of the Rio de la Plata and was created in memory of the ones who were thrown into this river. The sculpture consists of a small metal figure which disappears to the eye as the water reflects in it. Today, Pablo Míguez, disappeared at age 14, would be the same age as the artist.
The Parque de la Memoria, conceived in 1998 through the collaboration of a human rights organization, the University of Buenos Aires and the Executive and Legislative powers of the city, is a place to remember, to reflect upon, and to honor the victims of the 1970s and 1980s “State terrorism”.
The park also includes a museum as well as an imposing monument to the victims, which in itself is a true work of art. This long granite wall varies with the light from black to gray and zigzags to the skies and to the water like a large scar on the bare landscape. The names of the thirty thousand victims, aged 14 to over 80 years old, most of them in their twenties, are engraved in the granite, arranged chronologically and by alphabetical order. Depending on the angle at which the visitor looks at the wall and on how the shade and light hit it, the names appear and disappear.
Through its architecture and the impressive choice of artwork it showcases, this park is a subtle, graceful and powerful testimony of a heartbreaking page of history.
Artists : Dennis Oppenheim, William Tucker, Roberto Aizenberg, Marie Orensanz, Grupo de Arte Callejero, Nicolás Guagnini, Claudia Fontes, Norberto Gómez, León Ferrari
Parque de la Memoria
Avenida Costanera Norte Rafael Obligado 6745
Behind the university campus
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Open Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm
Saturday, Sunday and holiday from 10am to 7pm