Nicolás García Uriburu, Argentine artist and landscape architect, Died at 78


Nicolás García Uriburu was born on December 24, 1937, and died on June 19, 2016, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He was an Argentine contemporary artist, landscape architect, and ecologist.

Uriburu work in land art was aimed at raising consciousness about environmental issues such as water pollution.

García Uriburu started painting at an early age and, in 1954, secured his first exhibition at the local Müller Gallery.

Nicolás enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires, where he received a degree in architecture, and relocated to Paris with his wife, Blanca Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, in 1965.

Nicolás later fathered a child named “Azul” with Blanca.

Nicolás García Uriburu Three Graces, a sculpture in the pop art style, earned him a Grand Prize at the National Sculpture Salon in 1968.

He then ventured into conceptual art, he mounted an acrylic display at the Iris Clert Gallery, creating an artificial garden that set a new direction for García Uriburu’s work towards environmental activism.

Nicolás García Uriburu was invited to the prestigious Venice Biennale in June 1968, where García Uriburu dyed Venice’s Grand Canal using fluorescein, a pigment which turns a bright green when synthesized by microorganisms in the water.

From 1968 and 1970, Nicolás García Uriburu repeated the feat in New York’s East River, the Seine, in Paris, and at the mouth of Buenos Aires’ polluted southside Riachuelo.

Nicolás García Uriburu was a pioneer in what became known as land art, he created a montage in pastel colors over photographs of the scenes in 1970, allowing the unlimited photographic reproduction of the work for the sake of raising awareness of worsening water pollution, worldwide.

Also to environmental conservation he also produced works of art that showcased humanistic naturalism and an antagonism between society and nature, such as: Unión de Latinoamérica por los ríos {Latin America Union for Rivers}, and No a las fronteras políticas {No to Political Borders}.

He applied his fluorescein treatment on such diverse waterways as Paris’ Lac de Vincennes (1971), the Trocadéro fountains (1972), the Port of Nice (1974) and the Port of Antwerp (1974).

Nicolás García Uriburu continued to devote his art to the portrayal of endangered species and habitat loss, and was honored with a Grand Prize at the Tokyo Biennale in 1975.

During 1981, he used an appearance at the Kassel Documenta 7 exposition to dye the Rhine, and joined German artist Joseph Beuys in planting 7,000 oaks.

He and Beuys shared similar views on Humanism, social philosophy, ecology and libertarianism.

García Uriburu returned to Buenos Aires in 1982, following which he planted 50,000 trees.

Nicolás García Uriburu passed away at 78 yrs old.