5245 - Exibitions of the past, projects for the present. Museums during the national-popular period in Argentina and Chile

The paper proposes a look at the museum field of Chile and Argentina during the high years of the national-popular period, especifically the governments of the Frente popular [Popular front] and Juan Domingo Perón, respectively. The main question to be addressed is: how did the "exhibitionary complex" (to borrow Tony Bennett's term) develop as a field for the production, circulation, and appropriation of narratives and representations akin to projects aimed at reformulating the nation and the state? I will pay attention to historical narratives and representations of the people and the popular displayed both in institutionalised spaces and in temporary exhibitions. The materials I will be working with are, mainly, exhibition catalogues, leaflets and 'visitor guides'. Regarding the aims of the symposium, the paper stresses an analysis of the projects mobilised by intellectuals and state apparatusses during the period. Such a project can be characterised as both 'populist' and 'nationalist', although with an a sense opposed to that elaborated by national oligarchies. My contention is that, although limited in their scope and practically orthodox in their display technologies, the exihibitions helped create a climate in which popular participation and a reformulation of the national became possible, and, indeed, desirable objectives. In that sense, I shall be looking at spaces that go beyond the museum space, looking at exhibitionary practices that enter into a productive dialogue once inserted into a broader cultural field.

Keywords: museums, visual culture, historical narratives, national-popular period

Author: Marambio, Matías (Universidad de Chile, Chile / Chile)


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