Nicolás García Uriburu
Nicolás García Uriburu (born December 24, 1937) is an Argentine contemporary artist, landscape architect and ecologist.
Life and work
Born in Buenos Aires in 1937, García Uriburu began painting at an early age and, in 1954, secured his first exhibition at the local Müller Gallery. He enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires, where he received a degree in architecture, and relocated to Paris with his wife in 1965. His Three Graces, a sulpture in the pop art style, earned him a Grand Prize at the National Sculpture Salon in 1968. Venturing into conceptual art, he mounted an acrylic display at the Iris Clert Gallery, creating an artificial garden that set a new direction for García Uriburu's work towards environmental activism.
He was invited to the prestigious Venice Biennale in June 1968, where García Uriburu dyed Venice's Grand Canal using fluorescein, a pigment which turns a bright green when synthesized by microorganisms in the water. Between 1968 and 1970, he repeated the feat in New York's East River, the Seine, in Paris, and at the mouth of Buenos Aires' polluted southside Riachuelo. A pioneer in what became known as land art, he created a montage in pastel colors over photographs of the scenes in 1970, allowing the unlimited photographic reproduction of the work for the sake of raising awareness of worsening water pollution, worldwide.
García Uriburu applied his fluorescein treatment on such diverse waterways as Paris' Lac de Vincennes (1971), the Trocadéro fountains (1972), the Port of Nice (1974) and the Port of Antwerp (1974). He continued to devote his art to the portrayal of endangered species and habitat loss, and was honored with a Grand Prize at the Tokyo Biennale in 1975. In 1981, he used an appearance at the Kassel Documenta 7 exposition to dye the Rhine, and joined German artist Joseph Beuys in planting 7,000 oaks. García Uriburu returned to Buenos Aires in 1982, following which he planted 50,000 trees. Remaining active in the city's tree-planting effort, he turned to portrait art and in 1993, was invited to the renowned Ruth Benzacar Gallery on Florida Street to present Utopía del Sur (Southern Utopia), a display devoted to his cause.
Still active in his cause in Argentina, García Uriburu has directed tree-planting efforts in neighboring Uruguay and has organized protests over the unabated degradation of Buenos Aires' industrial Riachuelo waterway, jointly with Greenpeace. He also teaches secondary school students and presides over the Foundation that bears his name, which displays his art and houses an extensive ethnographic museum devoted to Pre-Columbian art.