Ausencias/Absences is an exhibition of photographs by Gustavo Germano. The artist makes enforced disappearance visible by showing us pairs of images: one that belongs to a family in the past before disappearance, and another that attempts to recreate that same photograph after the disappearance of one of the pictured loved ones. The photographs taken decades later show the absences of the victims of State–sponsored violence in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay during the dictatorships from the 1960s to the 1980s. Thus, much time has elapsed between the two photographs in each diptych. And within that lapse of time resides the horror of past human rights violations, but also the work of the truth commissions, trials, and other struggles for truth and justice. By capturing the memory of the disappeared through those empty spaces that were left forever in the families, Germano’s project reminds us of the devastating and long-lasting effects of human rights violations.
Gustavo Germano (b. 1964, Argentina) has been working on photographic projects related to themes of memory since 2006. In his three series, all entitled Ausencias/Absences (2006, 2012 and 2016), Germano focuses on the victims of enforced disappearance during the dictatorships in Argentina (1976-83), Brazil (1964-1985) and Uruguay (1973-1984). In 2009, Germano completed a series entitled Distancias/Distances a project on the Spanish republican exile of 1939. In 2015, he launched the project Búsquedas/Searches, a series about the theft and trafficking of newborn children in Spain during the Franco dictatorship (1939/1975) and the restitution of identity to the grandchildren of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.
This exhibit is co-sponsored by the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, Department of Art, Hispanic Issues, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Human Rights Program, the Human Rights Center, University of Minnesota Libraries, the Department of Philosophy, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, the Department of History and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (Gustavus Adolphus College).