The “Casa Nacional Del Bicentinario” is a new cultural space dedicated to reflect on the political, social and cultural transformations that took place in Argentina in the past 200 years as one way to contemplate the country’s future. Located in Recoleta on Riobamba Street in a 1913 magnificent building that was renovated for the centre, it was opened in March 2010 to commemorate the Argentinean bicentennial of the May revolution of 1810.
In addition to producing and exhibiting temporary expositions about important themes of life in Argentina over the past 200 years, there is space dedicated to public debates and interviews, documentaries and music, education programs for schools and the public and finally space for courses and workshops.
In this review I will focus on the main exhibition, “El Gran Juego De Leopoldo Marechal”, which is about the, not very well known but never the less one of the most important Argentinean writers. Leopoldo Marechal was born in Buenos Aires in 1900 and died in 1970. He was a poet, novelist and essay writer. His book “Adam Buenosayres” is considered one of the most important novels of the Argentinean literature. He also excelled as a poet and in 1941 won the most prestigious poetry prize offered by Argentina. In 1951 he also won the first prize for a theatre production. Unlike other famous Argentinean writers and poets, Marechal was not well known. This was primarily because of his political ideas, support of the Peronism movement and his criticism of human rights violations in Argentina. His writings were banned during the military dictatorship of Aramburu and he was persecuted and had to briefly exile himself in Santiago de Chile. The Argentinean ministry of culture is setting the record straight by acknowledging Marechal in this exposition, which retraces his life and work and by commemorating him as a writer who knew how to use literature to emancipate his fellow countrymen.
The exposition is composed of photographs and documents from the national archives and the Marechal foundation run by his daughters as well as first editions of his books and other related documents and information, including his own typewriter!
As you enter the first floor hall where Marechal exposition is displayed, you will see a series of posters about his life; childhood and his summer trips to Maipu, early adulthood and work, his life through the 1920’s, his time in Europe during the late 1920’s and early 1930, his family and the early death of his wife, his political involvements, his isolation during the decade of 1955 to 1965 and lastly his final years and his death in 1970. There are also two sections on the man as a theatre writer with some of his plays on large screens and on his poetry with some quotes from his poetry books.
Obviously this is a serious exhibition that invites you to think about the writer and contemplate his time and the political scene during his life. This is of course in line with the objectives of the “Casa Nacional Del Bicentinario”.
I enjoyed the presentation very much and ended up buying Marechal’s book “Adam Buenosayres”. In addition to this main exhibition, there is a couple of small ones about Bolivia and another about Myths and symbols in Indian art.
I hope you will be able to visit this exhibition and I think you will like it too.
It took over an hour to go through the Marechal’s exposition and about half an hour for the other two.