Mildred Burton (1942 - 2008)

Made in France (1974)

Pencil on paper
height: 49.5cm
width: 35cm

Donated by Marcos Curi 1993


Made in France is a delicate charcoal drawing of a curious, ornately carved piano that, as the title indicates, may be described as 'French' in style. The drawing dates to a period in 1974 in which Burton produced a series called los encantos de la burguesía (the charms of the bourgeoisie). Glusberg has described this series as inspired by a 'negative nostalgia' that seeks not to re-evaluate the customs of the past but to find in them the beginnings of present-day customs in Argentina. Argentina is considered to be one of the most European countries in South America, due to its history of large-scale immigration from countries such as Italy and Spain. With its elegant architecture Buenos Aires, the country's capital, is often referred to as the 'Paris of South America'.

Emerging from beneath the piano lid are two flowers (one without a head). Dwarfing the instrument, the flowers interfere with the viewer's sense of scale. Between the stalks a humorous-looking fly supports itself, its two large eyes staring out at the viewer. The presentation of such incongruous objects in Burton's work has led to her categorization as a surrealist artist, a label that she rejects. Instead, according to Argentine critic Jorge Glusberg, her work results from the 'fortuitous encounters between inconsistent and anecdotal elements of ordinary existence' and 'the constant opposition between common sense and imagination'.

Jorge Glusberg. Del pop-art a la nueva imagen. Buenos Aires: Ediciones de Arte Gaglianone, 1985.

Joanne Harwood, 2008

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