Graciela Sacco

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Graciela Sacco
Datos generales
Nombre Graciela Sacco
Fecha de nacimiento 1956
Nacionalidad Argentina
Ocupación Artista y Profesora
País de nacimiento Argentina
Ciudad de nacimiento Rosario
Fecha de fallecimiento 2017
País de fallecimiento Argentina
Ciudad de fallecimiento Rosario

Graciela Sacco was an artist and professor who was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1956. In 1987 she received a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the National University of Rosario in Argentina, where she also worked as a professor until 1997. Her work was associated with themes of social conflict, political violence and migration and, together with her explorations into photography, video and public space interventions, it enabled her to attain a position as one of the most important Latin American artists in the world in the field of contemporary art. Her art has represented Argentina in various international biennials, including São Paulo (1996), Mercosur (1997), and Shanghai (2004). In 2017, she died at the age of 61 in Rosario due to cancer.


Graciela Sacco considered herself an artist committed to the time and place that she happened to experience. For this reason, she became deeply involved with her context by formulating questions regarding situations of conflict in which the concepts of limit, border, action and reaction converge[1]. Her influences range from conceptual art to the advertising material published by the media, particularly from the 1960s and 1970s, which were a period of harsh social repression following the emergence of military dictatorships in the Southern Cone of South America. While her work was always strongly rooted in her native Rosario, it also proved to be timely and critical in whichever city of the world Sacco took it to, as was the case in the biennials of São Paulo (1996), Havana (1997 and 2000), Venice (2001) and Shanghai (2004). Sacco participated in numerous international fairs, including the ARCO art fair in Madrid, Art Basel in Miami, Basilea in Switzerland, the Paris Art Fair, Art Chicago, ArteBA in Buenos Aires and ARTBO in Bogotá. Her works are part of the collections of institutions such as the Reina Sofía National Museum Art Center in Madrid, the Paul Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York, the National Fine Arts Museum in Buenos Aires and the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art. Graciela Sacco died suddenly in Rosario in 2017, leaving behind one of the most solid bodies of work in Latin American contemporary art.

Artistic career

Graciela Sacco was able to lay the conceptual foundations for her artistic work through the graduate thesis of her bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts. In said thesis, she carried out research into the Tucumán Arde (Tucumán Burns) avant-garde group of artists (1968) and their anti-establishment activities, which condemned both the precarious living conditions faced by sugarcane farmers in the province of Tucumán and the soft position taken by the media to benefit the large monopolies of the crop in the late 1960s. Tucumán Arde undertook interventions in public spaces in Buenos Aires, Rosario and Santa Fe, openly laying bare the crisis in the province using posters, graffiti, statistics and photos. A significant proportion of Sacco’s pieces were produced in the early 1990s, and were gradually transformed and activated as many times as the artist deemed necessary, redefining them in accordance with the social eruptions of each era and region. For instance, Bocanada (Mouthful; 1993-2014) is a series of heliographs showing close-ups of mouths, open as if shouting; her first installation took place in a kitchen that supplied meals for public schools in Rosario, and whose workers were on strike even though they were aware that their work provided what was for many children the only meal of the day. Over the course of a decade, with Bocanada Sacco left her mark on walls and buildings in cities such as Buenos Aires, São Paulo and New York, making waves and being critical of political campaign propaganda and other types of advertising hoardings. Graciela Sacco authored a book, published in 1994 and entitled “Sun Writings: Heliography in the Artistic Field”, in which she developed her research into heliography, a technique that enables images to be fixed on any medium, such as wood, acrylic, spoons and plates. The use of heliography would be decisive in her work, as she gradually strengthened her conceptual needs for movement, transition, transformation and quotidianity through the various mediums she employed. In Cuerpo a cuerpo (Body to Body;1996-2014) Graciela Sacco would use heliography on splintered wooden spoons to imbue photos of student demonstrations with new meaning, such as those of May 1968 in France, the Cordobazo and Rosariazo uprisings in Argentina in 1969, or the 1971 protests in Colombia that ended in the massacre of dozens of people. In this series, political violence was revived by constructing a universal memory of struggle and social protest. In 1996, Sacco was the only artist to represent Argentina in the 23rd São Paulo International Art Biennial in Brazil, participating with her works Las cosas que se llevaron (The Things They Took; 1996), El incendio y las vísperas (The Fire and the Eve; 1995), Esperando a los bárbaros (Waiting for the Savages; 1995-2014) and Bocanada (1993-2014), where she presented her notion of “interference” and explored the impact that occurs when images materialize before the world’s eyes by dematerializing everyday objects[2]. In addition to the São Paulo biennial, Graciela Sacco would participate in others such as Mercosur (1997), Havana (1997 and 2000), Venice (2001), Shanghai (2004) and Bienalsur (2016-2017). Transition, borders and limits are themes that were also probed by Sacco; in M2 (2007-2014) she used the square meter as a unit of area to explore the minimum living space that human beings need in society, and the circumstances through which said space is reduced or violated. In it, her experimentation with mediums shifted to video installation and the effects of site-specific lighting.

Nada está donde se cree…” (Nothing is where it seems to be…) was an anthology exhibition of the artist’s work, curated by Diana B. Wechsler. It was initially designed to be site-specific at the Hotel de Inmigrantes in Buenos Aires, a place of passage for European, Asian and African immigrants who arrived in Argentina during the 19th century and currently the home of the museum of the National University of Tres de Febrero, a space of historical memory through artistic interventions and symbolic productions. The exhibition was subsequently adapted for the Miguel Urrutia Art Museum in Bogotá in 2015, where works such as Bocanada (1993 – 2014), Cuerpo a cuerpo (1996 – 2014), M2 (2007 – 2014), Tensión Admisible (Admissible Tension; 1996 – 2014), y Sombras del sur y del norte (Shadows from the South and the North; 2001 – 2014) were presented.

Characteristics of her work

In conceptual terms, the cornerstones of Graciela Sacco’s art lie in the notions of “interference”, the limits that separate the public from the private, and the legitimization of art through space and the relationship with its public[3]. “Interference” is the element that stimulates the creation of relationships between the artist’s work and the everyday life of the observer, a lure that causes tension and triggers reflections regarding social and political questions that never lose relevance within a global context. Similarly, and as an heir to Argentinian conceptual art who was influenced by the language of advertising and permeated by the complex circumstances of repressive military dictatorships, Graciela Sacco explored numerous techniques (such as heliography, video and installation) that would enable her to disseminate photographic images obtained in large part from historical archives, the press, television and the internet. Sacco was particularly interested in using and resignifying everyday objects such as spoons, suitcases, tables, boards and knives, alluding to them as carriers of memory and catalysts for thought.

Featured works

  • 1993-2014: Bocanada (Mouthful)
  • 1995-2014: Esperando a los bárbaros / Entre Nosotros (Waiting for the Savages / Between Us)
  • 1996-2014: Tensión admisible (Admissible Tension)
    • Cuerpo a cuerpo (Body to Body)
  • 1997-2014: El combate perpetuo (Perpetual Combat)
  • 1997-2017: ¿Quién fue? (Who was it?)
  • 2001-2014: Sombras del sur y del norte (Shadows from the South and the North)
  • 2007-2014: M2
  • 204-2017: Fueron al norte para llegar al sur (They Went North to Reach the South)

Works by Gabriela Sacco in the collections of the Banco de la República

Works by Gabriela Sacco in the collections of the Banco de la República
Title Year Location Technique Registration number
Sombras del Sur y del Norte (Shadows from the South and the North) 2001 EN EXHIBICIÓN Bogotá, Centro Cultural de Bogotá, Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia (MAMU), Exposición Permanente de la Colección de Arte, Tres décadas de arte en expansión Light installation AP3598


  • 1956: Born in Rosario, Argentina.
  • 1987: Awarded a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the National University of Rosario, with a thesis focusing on the Argentinian avant-gardes of the 1960s.
  • 1987-1997: Is the professor of the lecture “Issues of 20th Century Latin American Art” and the Experimental Art Workshop at the Fine Arts School of the National University of Rosario.
  • 1989: Receives a grant from Conicet with a UNESCO subsidy to carry out the research project entitled “Non-objectualisms in Argentina 1970-1990”.
  • 1994: Publishes her book “Solar Writings: Heliography in the Artistic Field”, in which she researches artisanal methods of producing photographic images.
  • 1996: Participates in the 23rd São Paulo International Art Biennial in Brazil.
  • 1997: Takes part in the 1st Mercosur International Visual Arts Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
  • 1998: Forms part of the group exhibition “Art in the World: 100 Artists of the World in Contemporary Art”, a show organized by the Beaux Arts magazine at Passage de Retz in Paris, France.
  • 2000: Participates in the 7th Havana International Art Biennial in Havana, Cuba, and the 9th International Photography Biennial in Mexico.
  • 2001: Takes part in the 49th Venice Biennale in Italy with her piece Entre nosotros (Between Us).
  • 2001-2003: Wins the “Artist of the Year” award from the Argentinian Association of Art Critics in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 2004: Takes part in the 5th International Art Biennial in Shanghai, China with her work Sombras del Sur y del Norte (Shadows from the South and the North.)
    • Forms part of the group exhibition “Between Silence and Violence: Argentine Contemporary Art” at Sotheby’s in New York, USA.
  • 2006: Participates in international art fairs such as Paris Photo, ARCO, the International Contemporary Art Fair and Estampa 2006.
    • Takes part in the 2nd International Art Biennial of the End of the World in Ushuaia, Argentina.
  • 2011: Forms part of various group exhibitions such as “Radical Shift” in Germany, “Crisisss Latin America: Art and Confrontation 1910-2010” in Mexico and “Any Exit Can Be Imprisonment” in Spain.
  • 2012: Obtains the Konex Merit Diploma from the Konex Foundation in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 2015: ESite-specific retrospective exhibition at the Art Museum of the Banco de la República, entitled “Graciela Sacco: Nothing is where it seems to be…”.
  • 2017: Participates in Bienalsur, the International Contemporary Art Biennial of South America with her piece “¿Quién fue?” (Who was it?) which was used as a public space intervention in La Paz, Bolivia.
    • 2017: Passes away due to cancer in her native Argentina.
  • 2018: A posthumous exhibition entitled “Graciela Sacco (1956-2017): Tribute Show” is held at the National Fine Arts Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

See also


  1. Interview for the Art Museum of the Banco de la República, as part of the exhibition “Nada está dónde se cree…” between July 9-October 5, 2015 in Bogotá.
  2. Catalogue of the 23rd São Paulo International Art Biennial, Brazil, page 44:
  3. Opening discussion between Graciela Sacco and Diana Wechsler as part of the exhibition “Nada está dónde se cree…” between July 9-October 5, 2015 in Bogotá.


1. Moncada, G. P. (July 9, 2015). Study guide 173. Graciela Sacco. Nada está donde se cree... Bogotá: Banco de la República.

2. Sacco, G. (2019). Graciela Sacco. Taken from

3.TRansHisTor(ia). (2015). De Sacco a González pasando por Tucumán (From Sacco to González via Tucumán). Taken from Banrepcultural:

4.Wechsler, D. B. (2015). Nada está donde se cree… Taken from Banrepcultural:

Art collection of the Banco de la República

  • Visit the artwork Shadows from the South and the North of Graciela Sacco in Colección de arte


1.Research and text: Mónica Piragauta Roldán, mediator of the museums and collections of the Banco de la República, for Banrepcultural.

2.Text revision and editing: Inti Camila Romero Estrada and Diana Marcela Salas Solórzano. Public and Educational Services, Art and Other Collections Unit (UAOC)