Montevideo-Artists and Galleries

Court Yard of Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo, a converted prison in central Montevideo.
Court Yard of Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo, a converted prison in central Montevideo.

Tuesday the 7th of May, new day, new country.
I got off the boat at Colonia and onto the bus and arrived in Montevideo to be met by Lindsey an outgoing and kind person who is studying Japanese and Korean in the University as part of her major. After settling into her house I let her get back to studying and began to look around the city.

Montevideo, like all the South American cities I have visited so far, is full of street art and graffiti. The diversity and colour of the works make the streets, that could otherwise have seemed a bit drab come to life.


I  took time to visit a range of museums, including the pre-Colonial art museum and decorative arts museum. However, two spaces stood out and these were SUBTE and Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo. SUBTE is a subterranean gallery in the space that was intended to be the entrance and ticket hall to Montevideo’s first Subway station. Construction was halted shortly after this initial hall was finished as architects realised that the ground was made up of rocks which are very hard, so progress would be extremely slow and costly. The station is now predominantly used for installations and proves to be a space that shows some of the countries less conventional pieces. EAC is in the old womans prison in the university district of the capital and uses the ex-cells as salons to host individual artists works. The space is managed by the government and changes the exhiits every two months. You are also invited to look around the grounds. The building alone is worth a visit. The current show, T10, until the end of May, is well presented and incorporates an interesting mix of works. Nearly all the museums in Uruguay are free. If you do have to pay its around $20, which is about US$1.

Montevideo was completed with a couple of studio space visits starting with artist and manager of contemporary space MARTE, Gustavo Batares (Located at: Colón 1468, Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo).  He is an easy to talk to sort of person who happily showed me about the space and explained its history of commercial gallery turned studio come show space. He is now preparing to open a show on the 18th of this month with Rally Arts.

After this I went to visit Eduardo Cardozo in his studio. Its actually more of a house than a studio. He has three rooms with very high sealings, as is common for buildings in Uruguay, a kitchen and a bathroom. We discussed his work career and life over some Mates, I wanted to start painting there and then! But, just before I expresses my desire to sabotage a canvas friends started arriving and Friday night band practice began.

I left the band to find Claudia, who I was going to stay with in the country side, at a protest over the exploitation of Uruguay’s natural resources…

Next instalment: Art Classes and the Beach.


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