Amalia Pica

Amalia Pica, Whitewash, 2006.

Amalia Pica, Whitewash, 2006.

Pica (b.1978, Neuquen Capital, Argentina) likes to see her work as the result of her will to bring into real life what she has learned in books. She compares herself, in this sense, to Don Quixote. The art that results from such an impossible project is a sort of imaginative re-accommodation of truth, ‘a translation of reality into what has been read, or a superposition of both’ (Pica). As a result, her pieces are always contextual interventions on buildings, monuments or objects, which can include performative components, or performances closely linked to specific contexts or situations. Perception, time, memory and a certain sense of spectacle are chief instruments for her work.

An early piece epitomises her poetics. Thanks to the same old schoolbook illustration, all Argentinians recognise the historic bright yellow house where the country’s independence was claimed. However, this house, located in a small northern city, is actually white. As a way of negotiating the contradiction between reality and its iconic image, Pica cast a yellow light over the real house during 40 minutes (the equivalent of a class period). By an artistic sleight of hand, she made true what was falsely learned and believed by the people. Always spiced with irony, Pica’s work is a critique of icons that is carried out on the icons themselves.

Despite the historical importance of Liverpool’s four equestrian statues, familiarity has made them invisible. For International 06,  Pica invited us to revisit these monuments, and consider the role of myth and legend in the telling of history.

Whitewash propagated a fiction that the artist had painted the monumental horses white. Pica’s images, printed in the local newspaper, showed the stalwart bronzes transformed into the white steeds of fairytale. For Pica, the medium was crucial. Newspapers ground commentary in particular moment, Whitewash enacted the shift from story to history, addressing ‘a tradition of history told as epic, of legend and facts intertwined’.

Amalia Pica at Liverpool Biennial 2006

Mixed media intervention
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2006
Public realm

Supported by

Northwest Regional Development Agency
Mondriaan Foundation Amsterdam
Royal Netherlands Embassy
Visiting Arts