Born in Buenos Aires, 1967. Made individual expositions in Buenos Aires (Malba–Intervenciones III, Museo de Arte Moderno, CCEBA, Gara Gallery), Rotterdam (Mirta Demare Aktuelle Kunst) and Barcelona (Doque). Participated in several collective shoes in Argentina and abroad. Amongst the most relevant are: “Observatori 2000 – First International Artistic Research Festival in Valencia”, Príncipe Felipe Museum of Arts and Sciences, Valencia (2000); ARCO Madrid 2000 (Cutting Edge), 2001, 2002 y 2004 (Futuribles), “III Bienal de la Crítica” (Critics’ Biennial), Castagnino Museum, Rosario (2000); “2º International Buenos Aires Biennial”, MNBA (2002); “Ultimas tendencias en la colección del MAMBA” (Latest tendencies of the MAMBA Collection), “Recorridos Urbanos”, (“Urban Tours”) Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (2002); “Edición Madrid 2002”; etc.
His work was awarded the MAMBA Award– Telefónica Foundation 2002 (First Prize in Experimental Digital Art), the 2002 Leonardo Award (MNBA), the 2002 Konex Awards (Dipoloma to Merit, Konex Foundation), amongst otherss. He was granted the Pollock-Krasner Grant (Pollock-Krasner Foundation, 2003) and the subsidy to creation of the Antorchas Foundation (2002).
Vision of art
1. Choose a work that represents you, describe it in relation to its format and materiality, its relation with time and space, its style and theme; detail its production process.
As an artwork that represents me I would like to refer to the Colossus (el Coloso) at the Malba (Buenos Aires Museum of Latin American Art). I am not sure if it is especially more representative than the rest, but I suppose it posed along the way of its development, many of the issues related to the subjects or items of the question (relationship to time and space, doubts, problems, themes related to the form of exhibition, in relation to the production process, etc.). To make something visible in such a loaded architecture, but which at the same time “intervened” the space without obstructing it, seemed like a highly interesting challenge and not a very common proposal in our medium, where the resources and the facilities to take on a project of this breadth do not abound. In this sense, the development of this intervention implied the conformation of a working team conformed by architects, industrial designers, people to assemble the pieces, metal craftsmen, painters, personnel specialised in high rise, heavy billboards and projectionists. It also implied learning about projections and structures, about the characteristics of the materials, the development of negotiating abilities with the institution and with suppliers who in turn outsourced some tasks. To sum up, an effort that implied many actors in varied categories and whose management was a really enriching experience, and for me an absolutely novel situation in the artistic field in which I was accustomed to working in a relatively autonomous way, with one or two suppliers or assistants, depending on the piece.
With respect to the piece as such, the choice of the straining gymnast’s figure at the moment of maximum tension crossing the hall of the museum like a bridge I found ideal for many reasons. On the one hand, push up exercises are ones in which the highest quantity of muscle groups are required to work simultaneously. I was interested in this idea of effort and strength, enhanced on top of it by the monumental scale of the figure, with a ten-metre base and six metres high. Nonetheless, given its location, at the edge of the precipice, the relaxation of this character would provoke a collapse into the void. This ambiguous tension between strength ad fragility I also found interesting and is related to the following point, which is with the idea of the “colossus” and its double meaning in relation to the scale on the one hand and to the representation of the divine on the other, which is where its original name comes from (kolossos). In this sense, I found the replacement of an immortal deity in a triumphant position, characteristic of the original “kolossoi”, interesting because of the hollow silhouette of an abstracted, anonymous and reclining gymnast. Lastly, another aspect of this piece which I at least found personally enriching is that it conducted me towards research lines about Greek culture on the one, up to the point of engendering aesthetic discussions about “the colossal” in art, and on the other, since Kant, who saw in the “colossal” the almost impossibility of being represented, until Derrida, who looking back on Kant and Hegel, asks himself whether the colossal in art is possible today.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
Honestly, I absolutely reject any suggestion as to how to read my work. I do not demand anything special from the observer either. I have ideas or concepts that interest me and I think they are relevant and they are repeated in my work, but I do not know if they are legible for this or that observer.
3. In reference to your work and your position in the national and international art fields, what tradition do you recognize yourself in? Who are your contemporary referents? What artists of previous generations are of interest to you?
There are different artistic movements or traditions in which I feel represented, and they may not necessarily bear any relation to each other. Within the twentieth century, I am interested in from Italian metaphysical painting to conceptual art and minimalism, passing by the paintings of Edward Hopper or the photos of Philip Lorca di Corcia. I also feel a profound interest in Andy Warhol, an artist who in certain circles I feel is wrong to cite, and whose tradition is vindicated mainly by design as the mere creator of the graphic resource of the reproduction of the photographic image. I think that his value as an artist goes way beyond that, and that issues he put forward about visions of society and about how society represents itself have a lot of depth to them and relevance, besides his capacity for generating work with different means and resources being coherent with his way of perceiving reality.
Within the local scene, I think that each in their tradition, Berni and Fontana are landmarks in which one can’t feel anchored, beyond a greater or lesser interest in one or the other. Further on, I think that the art and means movement in the 60s, or that decade’s preoccupation to integrate art and life are interesting issues and relevant today. Further on, I am very interested in Ferrari’s work about architectural office plans and that alienating environment. I was also very interested in Porter’s work with dolls on white spaces or the photographs on coloured backgrounds, and her capacity to generate work of a high sensitivity and emotion starting with the supposedly intellectual resources of conceptual art linked to the problematic of the representational.
With respect to the contemporary referents, I feel one can mix too much of the personal in the evaluation.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
I think that talking about our very recent work is difficult since one runs the risk of mixing the personal in the evaluation.
Anyway, I can cite, as exhibitions that were significant for me, De la Vega’s retrospective at the Malba, which allowed one to see the creative path of a very interesting artist and not so well known in all his dimension, the exhibition at the Mamba by León Ferrari about offices and architectural plans, or the video For You by Liliana Porter, where the representational I think gives every time more room to reflect on the personal, through a metaphor represented by the dolls I different situations.
I also find very interesting a whole series of works by Guillermo Kuitca, some of which have been seen in the Malba last year. They are paintings and drawings in urban spaces like medical institutions, gymnasiums, offices, glory holes or sexual interchange cabins, which aren’t precisely his most well known pieces.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
I think Light Art vs. Political Art has been discussed quite at length, made very graphic by the phrase “Light Light Rose Luxemburg Rose (Rosa light rosa Luxemburgo), conceived by Jacoby.
I find it already clear and even obvious to identify a movement linked to the Rojas C.C., which with fissures and internal contradictions, set forth an anchoring with the avant-garde and the geometric abstraction of the 40s from a playful and original place. Even though not all the group was constituted by abstract painters (Pombo, Schiavi), I think one can observe a certain dominance in the chromatic palette, in the materiality, and in all a series of variables which I am not interested in developing now.
Once the apogee of this period had culminated, a counter current appeared to emerge in a virulent way, and it was the when all these debates where put forward and round tables about Light Art vs. Political Art, which during 2002 (just after the explosion of the December 2001 crisis) were dominant in the discussions in the local artistic scene. Along with the talks and debates, there multiplied exhibitions in which each institution and curator wanted to show their “up-to-date-ness” before the new agenda. It was then that the sin of the political quotation passed on to be a virtue, and in this way the teddy bear was replaced by corrugated cardboard, stardust makeup by gun powder (an operation which was greeted by a lofty columnist from the “great Argentine paper”), and Christmas at Francisco Solano (Navidad en Fransisco Solano) by Pombo was displaced by birthday celebrations of street children organised by artists who only a little while before took photographs of their cute little dog in some European residence or they did videos about origami. “Collectives” of collectors, curators, children in need and artists called by their funny nicknames appeared heading social actions of whose continuity we have no news, the which were photographed to be shown in a shop on Arenales street. In some cases someone got to decree the “death of irony” and its replacement by this form of action, which also included solidarity with subjects about factories, development of cooperatives somewhere between artistic and proletariat, etc. In very few years, the mania of our medium transferred us from the dominating Light Art to the “Bongo Art” (art by NGOs).
It is probable that the passing of time may conduct us to a situation of greater equilibrium, or that a new current may arise which I do not know through where it would pass.
Another “tendency” that has flourished in the last few years is the rise of the so-called “new media”. Beyond a certain late presence by photography, digital art and video in the local contemporary art circuit (in the 90s they weren’t very legitimate media or used by the artists that remained positioned as representatives of that movement), now what is seen, o the contrary, is a kind of explosion to the infinite of the so-called media. Seminars and workshops of interactive art, net art, hypermedia, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, electronic interfaces and work with sensors through which the spectator affects the development of the piece, proliferate in different spaces and institutions. Much of what has been seen in this sense until now are reflections of the medium o the very same medium. It rests to be seen if whether at some point some work of interest rises in the local scene.