Montevideo, Uruguay

July 2, 2014

In your city, how can we tell that we are in the year 2014?

That is very difficult to do because time goes by very slowly.


What in your city reminds you of the past?

Most of it. That’s the wonderful thing about Montevideo. After the dictatorship and the first conservative governments, the city has again discovered love for itself and radiates its old energy.


Which building or intersection in the city would make us think that we are in the future?

None, fortunately. The city is based on nostalgia.


Where in your city would be the best place to lose track of time, freeze time, or gain time?

When I was a child, the Parque Rodó was that place, and is still that place today. Whenever I go to Montevideo I go there, particularly to one spot with a pond and a little bridge that has cement railings imitating tree branches, and where one sees pink frog eggs floating in the water. Otherwise, the Plaza Zabala, a perfect-scale square bearing the monument to the founder of the city.


What song or local band would you recommend for an everyday playlist?

Anything sung by Carlos Gardel, who eighty years after his death is still getting better every year and maintains his position as the best Uruguayan musician.


In which bookstore can you find new or second-hand publications on art history, exhibition catalogs, or artist monographs?

Puro Verso, Linardi y Risso, and probably any bookstore found in the Old City.


What dish most embodies your city, and where would you find it?

Dulce de leche in any form, to be found everywhere. Uruguay lost against Costa Rica in the last World Cup because Brazilian custom officials had confiscated 86 pounds of dulce de leche the team had brought with them as energy supply.


What is a monument that reveals a hidden past?

The Venus by Molle de Berg in Punta Carretas. Inspired by the Venus of Milo she has no arms, and for stability she has her feet buried in a cube.


Where would be the best place to view the sunset in your city?

The top of the big mountain next to the port (el Cerro), about 900 feet high.


What aspect of your city most inspires you?

The perfectly clean light in April and October that allows one to touch things with one’s eyes.


If you were to be commissioned today to create an artwork “about” this city, briefly describe your proposal.

Many years ago I proposed to remove all the city’s monuments with horse-riding heroes except for one, probably the one honoring Artigas, our supreme national hero. This remaining monument should be made headless and prepared so that the heads of all the nationally important characters (including Artigas) could be screwed onto the monument on their corresponding birthdays.