Amalia Pica deals with systems of language and communication, social habitats and social interaction. Pica investigates the office as a social structure. Offices are often characterized by typical dull furnishings. Conference tables are emblematic of this, but in contrast to conventional office furniture, Pica designed them in her typical formal language of geometric shapes and bold colored surfaces. This is intended to counteract the tedious everyday processes with something joyful.
This visual principle is also present in the wall works, made of Formica on plywood, where she brings the tabletop to the wall in studies that explore the possibilities of the choreography of the tables. The geometric figures further demonstrate Pica's affair with Concrete Art. In contrast to their European counterpart, the movement in South America, including in the artist's home country, Argentina, was explicitly political. The works there were always inherent of the desire for new social visions.
JOY IN PAPERWORK is, complementary to this, the result of Pica's preoccupation with bureaucracy, which is also inspired by personal experiences related to her naturalization to Great Britain. Inherently, bureaucratic systems are attempts to convey order and transparency through a precise set of rules. However, through mismanagement or over time, these systems are often complicated and oppressive.
In the bureaucratic jungle, special symbols are assigned a special role. A particularly important instrument for expressing official power is the stamp, whose specific signs often mercilessly decide the weal and woe of an application. The artist herself had this experience, whose many stamps in her passport from countless trips thwarted her first application for British citizenship. As a result, in her renewed application process, she did not leave Britain, a travel restriction that suddenly became a reality for people all over the world during the pandemic. During her period of non-travel, Pica began collecting various stamps from all over the world and used them as instruments for her graphic works. She explores the role that such symbols and instruments play in structuring processes, and in particular the power we assign to them. By using them outside their traditional system, Pica deprives these signs of bureaucratic communication of their power. The patterns on the paper thus become new systems of order and coding, of finding pleasure and ultimately offer an escapist alternative.
Amalia Pica's works deal in particular with the complex mechanisms of communication and social interaction, as well as with social systems - themes shaped by her experience in the Argentine military dictatorship in which she grew up. She works in a variety of media, including sculpture, installation, photography, drawing, and performance.
She was awarded the Zurich Art Prize in 2020, as part of which she had a solo exhibition at Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich/Switzerland. The work REARRANGING THE CONFERENCE TABLE was created for this occasion.