Enticed by a Sculpture Park in Uruguay
We recently sang the praises loudly of the surprises we found in the Argentinian town of Alta Gracia . Due to the way we travel we are able to stop anytime something happens to catch our eye. A couple of weeks ago we were driving east in Uruguay, on our way to Brazil, when we left the coast road at Manantiales to drive inland on Route 104. Just a few kilometres along this road I saw a sign for a museum and sculpture park. I didn’t take a lot of notice until we were driving past and I could see some large sculptures in a huge, grassy paddock. It piqued my interest, and I was fairly sure Juergen would like it from the little I had seen, so I convinced him to turn around. We were both glad we did!
The park is the brainchild of Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry. He was born in Montevideo in 1954 and is now world renowned in his field, living and working in the city of Lecco in Italy, which is also home to the Pablo Atchugarry Museum. While he advances his career in Europe, he also makes frequent visits to his homeland, maintaining a workshop on this 30 Hectare property in Uruguay.
The Fundacion Pablo Atchugarry is a non-profit organisation, created by the artist in 2007, with the idea of promoting visual arts and other creative pursuits. The sculpture park fosters the work of local and international artists and every year the list of sculptures in the outdoor display is increased by between 2 and 5 works.
The complex has a gallery, in the main pavilion, with 3 rooms. There were works from a different artist on display in each room – an American, an Italian and a Uruguayan. We didn’t completely understand the woman at reception, but we think that perhaps these exhibitions change from time to time.
There is also a gallery in another building which showcases a permanent collection of Atchugarry’s work. Other buildings and outdoor structures complete the complex with a restaurant, amphitheatre, library, auditorium and an education centre.
Education is a fundamental objective of the foundation. Every 2 years it organises the National Biennial of Young Creators. It also creates educational programmes for the local schools throughout the year.
This museum and sculpture park was a great find for us. We spent at least an hour wandering around the large, grassy area in brilliant sunshine, but you could spend much more – we had to meet our travelling companions further along the road. The sculptures were interesting in their diversity, and the grounds made the perfect place to showcase them. Entry to the park is free!