The last decade of the twentieth century produced quite a number of analyses about memory and identity, both individual and collective, which took shape in the works of the newer generations of artists. The impact that some of the exhibitions presented by Uruguayan artists residing abroad had in Montevideo cannot be ignored, especially these two: the one in 1991 on Rimer Cardillo (b. 1944), and another held the following year on Carlos Capelán (b. 1948), both organized by Alicia Haber (b. 1946) [regarding the second exhibition, see in the ICAA digital archive “Una formulación antropológica,” by Alicia Haber (1313189)]. These two exhibitions occupied the entire building of the Centro Municipal de Exposiciones, over 5000 sq ft, and both were considered a form of super installation. With the exception of Nelbia Romero’s 1983 large environment, this pair of exhibitions that took place almost a decade later anticipates the genre of installation as a visual language used by contemporary Uruguayan artists of the nineties.
The exhibition Charrúas y montes criollos held in Montevideo in 1991 on Rimer Cardillo, who was based in the United States since 1984, is one of those efforts that gave impetus to artistic works on the concepts of “identity and memory” that unfolded in the nineties in Uruguay. This exhibition on Cardillo especially highlighted the capacity of team work, as it mobilized the municipality’s carpenters, blacksmiths, and workshops in preparing for the exhibition. The will and commitment, generated by the common interest of staging a memory that had only just in 1985 been articulated, is part of the social merit of this exhibition. In it, it appears for the first time in the country, with all its strength, the possibility of connecting a ceremonial metatext of homage to a destroyed past. Included in the exhibition were works of high artisanal value that transcended the mere excellence of workmanship to elevate an aesthetic of the primitive, rudimentary, and symbolic-ritual in service to rescuing memory.