Under The Same Sun: Artist Profiles

Amalia Pica

Amalia Pica

Originally published in Art in America, June/July 2012. Photo courtesy Tom Mannion and BMP Media Holdings, LLC

Amalia Pica

Amalia Pica

Amalia Pica, A ∩ B ∩ C, 2013. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. Photo courtesy David Heald

Amalia Pica

Watch a short film about Amalia Pica's performance Asamble at Peckham Square, 11 June 2016


Amalia Pica was born in 1978 in Neuquén, Argentina. She moved to Buenos Aires to study at Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes P. Pueyrredón, completing her undergraduate degree in 2001 while assisting in the workshop of artist Tulio de Sagastizabal. She has completed residencies with the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2004 and 2005); BijlmAIR, Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2007); Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California (2012); and Iaspis, Stockholm (2013).

Central to Pica’s work is the problem of communication, which she explores by setting everyday objects alongside obsolete technologies such as shutter telegraphs, slide projectors, and 16 mm film. Yet while her interest is in language, and in the mechanisms by which communication is attempted, most of her projects are silent. She compensates for this apparent lack by adding texts that elucidate the missing parts. Venn Diagram (under the spotlight) (2011), for example, consists of two overlapping circles of coloured light projected from theatrical spotlights. In accompanying captions, the artist explains how the dictators of the 1970s banned Venn diagrams and the set theory they illustrate from Argentina’s schools, viewing them as potentially subversive at a time when citizens were being prosecuted for gathering in public. Reflecting further on the branch of mathematics that analyzes and depicts group dynamics, Pica presented an installation and performance titled A B C (read as “A intersection B intersection C”) at the Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, in 2013. It featured performers holding up colourful acrylic shapes in unexpected combinations, applying the mathematical rules of intersection. Returned to the walls at the performance’s conclusion, the shapes seemed endowed with a new and subversive communicative potential.

Pica highlights the significance of listening and interpretation in installations such as Eavesdropping (2011), in which drinking glasses are affixed to the wall in an evocation of the age-old snooping technique, and Switchboard (pavilion) (2013), in which the familiar improvised tin-can-and-string telephone is rendered useless by a mass of tangled cords. The artist’s use of antiquated technologies thus emphasizes the ironic possibilities for miscommunication between artist and spectator. Yet while her work can seem reticent at first, hinging as it does on the impossibility of perfect rapport, it is never without humour. Aware that her ideas can never survive the process of realization entirely intact, Pica revels in their inevitable mutation and creates new systems of discourse that brim with fractured syntax, encrypted semantics, and gleeful semiotics.

Pica has had solo exhibitions at Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2010); University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2011); Modern Art Oxford; Chisenhale Gallery, London; and Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland (all 2012); and MIT List Visual Arts Centre, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Neuquén, Argentina (all 2013). She has participated in the group exhibitions Deceitful Moon, Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2009); the Venice Biennale (2011); and The Ungovernables: New Museum Triennial, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2012). Pica received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award and participated in the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation’s Grants and Commissions Program (both 2011), among others. She lives and works in London.


Related Exhibitions and Collection Items

Amalia Pica Performance: A ∩ B ∩ C

Amalia Pica Performance: A ∩ B ∩ C

11 June - 10 September 2016

In A ∩B ∩C  artist Amalia Pica invites performers to manipulate translucent...


Amalia Pica: Asamble

Amalia Pica: Asamble

11 June 2016

As part of Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today, Amalia Pica’s...





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