I was born in 1966, in Tucumán. A strange state: cradle of so many artists and test-tube for genocide operations. I spent my childhood and part of my adolescence in a city in the south of the state, where I learned the truth behind the saying “Small town, big hell”, and I saw Travolta chased by the military force. Then I went to a Technical High-School, I felt fascinated by Pink Floyd’s The Wall and finally, in 1985, I started the Art School of the National University of Tucumán, in the middle of the so called “Alfonsinian spring”. My stay there lasted longer than that political utopia. It was 1993 and, already as a graduate in Plastic Arts, I won a scholarship that took me to Brussels (Belgium) for two years. I studied engraving on iron in the Academiè Royale des Beaux-Arts, with masters Dewint and Brichet as my teachers. There, I learned that you cannot be more of a stranger than among those of your very same country. I came back in 1995 and dreamed of a new School of Arts. I discovered computers because I had to make my living. In 1996 the Antorchas Foundation awarded me with Financial Aid for Multimedia Creation, and with other two Graduate Scholarships in Engraving. I left the country again in 1999, this time heading to Barcelona, to the UB, and there I understood it all. That year I came back and founded the Digital Art Workshop in the School of Art of Tucumán. And all that digital universe was opening out in front of my face… Printing, multimedia, net-art: there were no more boundaries whatsoever. My works were published both within the country and abroad, in the Art and Desing by Computer Spanish journal and in the web. I was lucky enough to meet some artists that leaded my path: Anahí Cáceres, Alicia Candíani, Leo Gotleyb, Yuyo Noé; from the art critic world (and personally) Justo Pastor Mellado; from visual contributions although not personally, Joel-Peter Witkin, Joan Fontcuberta, Diane Arbus, Sebastiao Salgado… ; from cinema David Fincher, Peter Greenaway, Gaspar Noé, Guillermo del Toro and of course the great Chris Cunningham. In 2003, I finished my Master in New Technologies at the UNED (Spain). My work continued, exhibits all over the world, awards abroad, in Be-Digital, Barcelona, in The Digital Image (Spain). I left one more time, now towards the core of Latin America: Lima, Perú, to work in a University (the PUCP), and again I understood and learned that technology is a prosthetic aid for those who lack of a skilled hand but possess a creative heart. I won the 2° Award of Multimedia Art of the UNT showroom, and once again... I came back. In 2006, I won a Scholarship of Financial Aid for the Realization of the Course Art, Nets and On-line Communities with Julia Masvernat from the National Founding for Arts. I still live in Tucumán and work with digital technology, photography, animation, 3D images, esthereoscopies, digital video and anything allowing me to express myself. In 2007, I won the Accesit of digital Engraving of Olot, Spain, and the Telefónica Foundation picked me as their scholar for the Cordoba Program of Interactive Art, under the leadership of Rodrigo Alonso and Mariano Sardón. Currently, I am living in Iquique, Chile, pursuing a Master in Visual Arts in the Arturo Prat University, where I also teach one of the units, with the green Pacific Ocean as my everyday view. I will return to Tucumán though, since I am co-tutoring a research project in New Technologies, and I will keep on, as I usually do, trying to move my students in the School of Arts, in the engraving workshop where I currently work.
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.
The work I choose for this brief analysis is “Santa Evita greets the peronist child promising him a fair, free and sovereign Argentina”. This work falls within the limits of the current tendency of digital art, with its format fluctuating between the printing and the object, since when it was selected for the OSDE Showroom National Award and exhibited in the Imago Space, it was hanged like those gold albums the record companies have on their walls. It was created in 2006, and I choose it because it is one of my newest productions. The printing simulated the sleeve of a vinyl album, together with an album with its center printed. The cover showed a reminiscence of the concept of the “Sgt. Pepper” album by The Beatles, framed in a neo-pop style, more ironic and caustic than it was in the ’60s. The setting shows Eva Duarte greeting a kid from that time, under the attentive look of the local jet-set (Monzón, Gardel, Legrand, Casán, the Che Guevara, Maradona, etc.). The red background simulates that album cover, mocking the fact that peronism was transformed into a merchandising object. Here, I can assemble my work with the manipulated images (or documents, because these are “reliable” sources of the collective unconscious), the coloring of those pictures, executed completely using digital art, and the irony, an engine of a certain dark critical humor that’s characteristic of all of my work. There is a social tendency revealed in this work, as a critique to the so-called “politically correct art”. Basically, the process I usually apply in my works is repeated here: first there is a general idea that launches the work with the images, and then a kind of fine tuning where this idea gets refined, so that I can later add some elements in a pure dadaist “psychic automatic” style.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
Usually, the reading of my work is non-linear: it is more like a web navigation map. Even when this concept is not new (it was already used by El Bosco back in 1300), the format is new indeed: in some way, it forces the audience or user to open their eyes and establish connections among completely different elements. Sexuality, eroticism, society, a surprise element… they are all parts of my work, and therefore, even when it doesn’t require a previous education, it does require an openness of the mind and senses.
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?
Every time I talk about my work, some revealing details arise. My work is influenced by artists not directly related to what we can call “art or plastic art” from an orthodox point of view. My main referent over the last 15 years is the American photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, and his work loaded with eroticism, irony and boldness. His work with corpses and “freaks”, together with the baroque reminiscences from the XVIth century make him my favorite referent. Another American photographer, Wee Gee, is an unavoidable milestone in my work. I should also name here as a referent of my work the Asian-American Daniel Lee and his digital antropomorphisms. In the local arena, the work of Marcos López and his treatment of photography influenced significantly my job, although there are points of divergence between us. Cinema also contributes to my production. Specially, the sub-genre of the video-clip as an artistic contemporary expression (for instance the English Chris Cunningham, some pieces by Flora Sigismondi and Michel Gondry). David Fincher also collaborates with aesthetic unavoidable elements in my work. Music is another fundamental item; from Monteverdi, Bach, Vivaldi, to Michael Nyman, Apocaliptica or Pink Floyd.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
A retrospective exhibit of Víctor Grippo at the Museè des Beaux-arts of Brussels in 1994, where the work of this Argentine artist could be admired, starting from his Di Tella period and beyond. An exhibit gathering these requirements is that of Graciela Sacco, presented at MAMBA in 2004. There, the artist showed her heliography-based work (a technique she has been exploiting for years now) and the transition from this to digital art with projection and animation. The strong social burden in her work is reinforced under the use of new technologies. The exhibit “Sequences and pulse” by Anahí Cáceres (2004) at the 180° Contemporary Art (Buenos Aires): there you could see the work of this artist who comes from the tradition of plastic art and has evolved into a multimedia artist. Her work is completely intimate in spirit, it conveys the exquisiteness and breaks every possible boundary.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
It is clear, from my perspective, that the main tendency over these last years has been directly linked to the use of photography and animated image. Photography abandons its sacred enclosure and gets into the plastic art, assuming a predominant role. Another aspect that caused a deep impact is the objective-performatic, that combines the use of different elements, state of the art technology and the body itself. In the digital field itself the advance has been great, including the work of several contemporary producers.