Graciela Carnevale, El encierro – Project for the Experimental Art Series, 1968, photo: Carlos Militello
Graciela Carnevale
El encierro – Project for the Experimental Art Series

Graciela Carnevale (*1942, Argentina) was a member of the Grupo de Arte de Vanguardia de Rosario, a collective that created a complete upheaval in the local art scene from 1965 until it disbanded in 1969. These artists from Buenos Aires and Rosario organised the now legendary artistic and political happening Tucumán Arde. Their objective was to sound out the limits of their own methods and forms of artistic practice entirely in the spirit of the classical avant–garde. They also created an information campaign against the official propaganda of the government. Since the 1990s, Carnevale has been working again as art producer. She also teaches at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina.

“The work consists of first preparing a totally empty room, with totally empty walls. One of the walls, which was made of glass, had to be covered in order to achieve a suitably neutral space for the work to take place. In this room the participating audience, which has come together by chance for the opening, has been locked in. The door has been hermetically closed without the audience being aware of it. I have taken prisoners. The point is to allow people to enter and to prevent them from leaving. Here the work comes into being and these people are the actors. There is no possibility of escape, in fact the spectators have no choice; they are obliged, violently, to participate. Their positive or negative reaction is always a form of participation.” (Graciela Carnevale) With the action El encierro (The Enclosure), Carnevale sought to unleash a liberating violence in response to the violence she herself was exercising as a metaphor for the opposing forces in the capitalist system along the lines of Franz Fanton’s book The Wretched of the Earth, which was read assiduously by that generation. The action ended abruptly when the police intervened.

Intervention: 8.10.1968, Rosario, Argentina

Courtesy Graciela Carnevale

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body control, happening, public space, state oppression, violence