La Menesunda, immersive art
Martina's goosebump moment
‘La Menesunda’, an immersive art experience – Martina’s goosebump moment
“Hello, my name is Martina, I am from Italy. I want to talk about an experience, an immersive art experience that I had 2015 when I was travelling to Argentina, in Buenos Aires. During this immersive art experience called la Menesunda, it is a sensorial labyrinth, where you just enter by yourself, and many things happen to you and the same time you feel, you smell, you taste, and you meet actors and it is so surprising and you like what it is going on in a positive way. I felt goosebumps and was excited at the same time. At the end of the labyrinth, let’s say, walk in this labyrinth, I felt so fulfilled. Well, nice to meet you! Bye, bye.”
‘La Menesunda’, an emblematic work by Marta Minujín
‘La Menesunda’, an emblematic work by Argentine plastic artist Marta Minujín and an unusual exhibition that in the 1960s revolutionized cultural norms through provocation and ephemeral art, returned to Buenos Aires, half a century after its creation.
Synthesizing a fragrance with the smell of frying, manufacturing two hundred and fifty meters of polyethylene tubes and producing the sound of functioning intestines were some of the tasks necessary to recreate one of the great milestones of modern art in Argentina.
The experience of ‘La Menesunda’ begins by climbing a steep staircase to find the first of the environments, a hallway with seven televisions, two of which reproduce the image of the visitor in closed circuit, something that half a century ago surprised and appealed to the excessive progress of technology and media.
Then, the visitor must choose whether to go down into a neon tunnel or continue to the next space, where he or she will find a couple on a bed who will show him or her how to reach the inside of a huge woman’s head where a make-up artist and a masseuse will offer their services.
Another space to highlight is the narrow corridor with walls covered by huge “intestines” that leads to an orifice through which you can contemplate a series of scenes from Ingmar Bergman’s films that will make you go through a refrigerator with sub-zero temperatures.
An intense smell of dentist leads to a corridor occupied by various shapes and textures that passers-by cannot avoid if they want to reach the end of the route that ends in an octagonal room with mirrored walls and the smell of frying with black lights and fans that caused a whirlwind of shredded paper.
A massive success
In 1965, when Minujín presented ‘La Menesunda’, a total work of art that appealed to all the senses of the participant through a provocation with images of the intimacy of Argentine homes and their everyday life, she achieved both media scandal and massive success.
Fifty years after the authentic representation that Minujin made together with Ruben Santantonin at the Torcuato Di Tella Institute, the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires recovers the set of material, sensorial and symbolic relationships that made its existence possible.
Its creator says that she came to this planet “to create unusual things for people to intensify their lives through art”.
Half a century ago, the exhibition of this work attracted a large number of visitors, who waited up to three and four hours to see the exhibition, but the pop artist’s creation disintegrated after two weeks, and its trace was only reflected in the newspapers and in the minds of those who visited it.
Having the artist’s presence and being able to rummage through her memories has made the reconstruction of the project possible which, without blueprints and without too many documents on its development, has managed to faithfully reflect the original piece of fifty years ago and whose name, in lunfardo, means “mixture” and “confusion”.
A multidirectional universe
For five months, ‘La Menesunda’ was once again a labyrinthine tour that could be smelled, looked at, listened to and touched, and that the artist defines as “a multidirectional universe that captures people’s minds” and invites to travel to 1965 in this new edition.
“‘La Menesunda’ was not so much a starting point, but the closing of a chapter that opens the door to the next episode in the history of Argentine art,” said Sofia Dourron, one of the curators of the Museum of Modern Art and author of the texts in the exhibition catalog.
The work has been donated by Minujin to the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires and intends to reach the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) and the Tate Modern Gallery in London, the artist told Efe.
Marta Menujín, the main exponent in the South American country of “ephemeral art”, is considered the creator of the “happening”, an artistic manifestation of multitudinous character that requires the participation of the spectators.
Over time, Minujín’s conceptual, pop, psychedelic and action works became a paradigm in the Argentine art circuit by revolutionizing pre-established social norms and establishing a counterculture.
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