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Detrás de la cortina [Behind the Curtain]

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Detrás de la cortina [Behind the Curtain]

20th century
59.5 cm x 51.4 cm (23 7/16 in. x 20 1/4 in.)

Antonio Berni (Rosario, Argentina, 1905 - 1981, Buenos Aires, Argentina) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Argentinean
Medium and Support: Collograph with relief halftone and hand-inking
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the Museum of Modern Art, 1982
Accession Number: 1982.8

Beginning in the late 1950s, Antonio Berni turned to innovative collage and printmaking techniques as he pursued the central goal of his long and prolific career: an art of social engagement. He developed two narrative series based on the lives of imaginary characters Juanito Laguna, a boy from the slums, and Ramona Montiel, a prostitute from the lower class who was seduced by the media’s depiction of the good life.

In this melodramatic composition, a lace curtain withdraws to reveal Ramona Montiel with a client. While Antonio Berni often used Ramona and her escapades to illustrate Argentina’s class politics and social inequality, the scene also gestures toward poverty on a wider scale. The television screen, running unnoticed in the background, shows a starving child on the news. Berni’s experiments with printmaking techniques involved embossing everyday objects in high relief on wet paper, which resulted in a sculptural form.

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