La Muestra Nómade (The Nomadic Exhibition) by Ral Veroni
Introduced by Emma Balch
Today, on a chaotic, humid summer afternoon in Buenos Aires I found myself in Galeria Mar Dulce, unfolding the pages of La Muestra Nómade and talking about the story of books with Ral Veroni.
Buenos Aires born artist, poet and publisher, Ral Veroni created La Muestra Nómade as an exhibition catalogue and artist’s book over 20 years ago.
Ral was in his early twenties and at the time there was just a handful of elite galleries. He had no place to exhibit his work, so he took his work out onto the streets. He made 11.3 x 8.1 cm screenprints – or ‘little collector’s cards’ as Ral Veroni calls them – which he ‘exhibited’ in public transport, phones and toilets. Individuals who stuck their cards in personal diaries, on refrigerators, etc. were the exhibition’s ‘private collectors’.
The book I looked through today contains the full series of 42 self-adhesive screenprinted cards from Ral Veroni’s itinerant exhibition around the city of Buenos Aires between August 1990 and January 1991.
The pages were screenprinted in imitation of the style of the children’s sticker or card collection albums of the Sixties and Seventies. In Nomadic Exhibition Collector’s Album, Ral Veroni’s original screenprints are stuck directly onto the pages, in playful reference to the children who rushed to be the first to fill their album and win a prize.
La Muestra Nómade Collector’s album is sized 22 x 14 cm, but unfolds page by page to allow the viewer to see both sides and the 42 designs altogether. Unfolded, the full size of the work is 22 x 158.3 cm. In the last fold, there is a photocopied notebook of exhibition itinerary, detailing the locations where the stickers were ‘exhibited’ and the names of the ‘collectors’ who own them.
For me, this book is an expression of the spirit of Buenos Aires that I so love. It is a place where obstacles and limited resources are fought with a fighting spirit of ingenuity and creativity.
La Muestra Nómade Collector’s Album is an edition of 80. It was printed in Ral Veroni’s studio on Pedro Goyena Street during February 1991. A copy of it can be viewed at Galeria Mar Dulce in Palermo, Buenos Aires.