Antonio Berni’s experimental figuration was a key point of departure for the members of Nueva Figuración. Beginning in the late 1950s, Berni developed two narrative series based on the lives of imaginary characters Juanito Laguna, a boy from the slums, and Ramona Montiel, a prostitute.

In these two works, Berni explores the use of three-dimensional printmaking techniques, lending surfaces a sculptural quality. Ramona seems to be assembled out of discarded objects the artist found in the street. Fragments of cheap tablecloths, broken mechanical parts, and forgotten ordinary items reinforce the marginality of Ramona’s existence. Berni pursued through these innovative collagraphs the central goal of his long and prolific career, an art of social engagement.

See also: Antonio Berni, Retrato de Ramona [Portrait of Ramona], 1963, Collage of collagraph prints