Born in Argentina and based in London, artist Amalia Pica explores metaphor, communication, and civic participation through drawings, sculptures, large-scale photographic prints, slide projections, live performances, and installations. The MCA exhibition Amalia Pica is the artist’s first major solo museum show in the United States and includes approximately fifteen of her most significant works from the last seven years, in addition to new commissions. Using simple materials such as photocopies, lightbulbs, drinking glasses, beer bottles, bunting, cardboard, and other found materials, Pica creates work that is formally beautiful and conceptually rigorous while addressing fundamental issues of communication—such as the acts of delivering and receiving messages (verbal or nonverbal) and the various forms these exchanges may take. She is particularly interested in the role of the artist in conveying messages to audiences and the translation of thought to action, idea to object. Her work is optimistic in its reflection of moments of shared experience, often incorporating signifiers of celebration and communal gatherings such as fiesta lights, flags and banners, confetti, and rainbows.

Having grown up in Argentina, Pica is attracted to the limits and failures of language and concerned with what it means to have a platform to speak out from. Her work raises questions about individual versus collective speech in the context of extreme political situations, such as those in 1970s Argentina or present-day Afghanistan, and demonstrates how open communication is a right in some regions of the world and a privilege in others.

In addition to new work, the exhibition will include Strangers, an in-gallery performance in which two people who have never met before hold a bunting between them for a specific duration.

This exhibition is co-organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and MIT List Visual Arts Center. It is co-curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Pamela Alper Associate Curator at MCA Chicago, and João Ribas, Curator at MIT List Visual Arts Center.