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 called 9803, made at a time when I numbered everything, is 1.60 x 2.30 m. It is in the collection at the Mamba, and I choose it because by being there somebody may remember or might have seen it. It is one of the first paintings I drafted on the computer, thus it was a pivotal painting for me; a change in the means of production, in the formal variables; it was the same painting, I have always painted the same painting, but the computer allowed me infinite probabilities. It was one of the first paintings I drafted exclusively in the computer; before I used to paint after some very complicated steps, and when the painting was at a stage where it could be seen, I set it vertically and if I did not like it, corrections were messy; I used to correct the painting, sort to speak, on the canvas. With the computer, all variables, all failures were corrected in the screen, thus by the moment I painted it was only a matter of transferring it to the canvas, so even another person could do it, because nothing was solved at the moment of producing the canvas itself; the whole battle had been solved on the screen. I had transferred that first picture in a very ridiculous manner; I had seen the movie about Michelangelo, with Charlton Heston, a movie in which he makes the Sixtine Chapel. I had seen that he produced the drawings in huge pieces of paper and made small holes in the apostles, in the drawings, and then passed a sponge with thinned paint. Thinking about that, I printed 50 small pieces of paper on my computer, with the whole 2-meter picture, and I put the paper on the canvas. With an alcohol marker, I pressed at each intersection point, thus a dot was transferred; or I took out all pieces of paper, made an incredible constellation of dots; I was four months with that picture, the computer was supposed to make things easier but I was not fully knowledgeable; still, it was a pivotal moment.
Regarding the means of exhibition? I do not have any interesting aspects on that respect.
They happened within the same constants, that is why I say that I always paint the same picture; changes followed, the use of Illustrator (the painting was made with that program) was more sophisticated and the changes multiplied, even that picture was made with Illustrator but it has remains of geometrical constructions with a ruler and a set square; the use of technology always drags formal repertoires from earlier technologies, afterwards I became more independent from usual geometrical means and I played more freely with shapes. Basically, the shape I could not incorporate before was the regular curve, which is much more difficult to make with a set shape; with the computer it is possible to make it without mistakes.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
For this question I would refer to the San Pablo Biennial’s catalogue, which has a text by Nicolás Guagnini (published in ramona 48). Nicolás and I have known each other for a long time, and that text reflects many discussions we have had for a long time; it is a text that describes me clearly.
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?
When I was studying it was difficult to see geometric art in Argentina, even if it was concrete art; it was during the dictatorship and that was forbidden... and I did not identify with the art that was being produced. This was curious, although not that much, because it is the same with contemporary art, that my influences came from other places, from music and architecture, even from contemporary dance, which at the moment was my main interest - I went to see every dance company that came to Buenos Aires -, and later from literature. But at the beginning the references were from music and architecture, it was thus difficult for me to immerse into a tradition, precisely because the traditions that influenced me were alien to me; I was a foreigner to them, and I did not identify with traditions in the visual arts. Nonetheless, there are individual works that I liked, such as De la Vega’s; his work taught me to compose, my work is basically composing and he taught me everything I know about composition... Before I liked Dubuffet; since the local context in the visual arts was not stimulating or refreshing for me, I researched for a long time, a somehow unrigurous research, Brute art in general, the art of drunkards, madmen, children, etc. There I found an expressive and formal freedom that I did not find in the official art that was being produced here.
After that moment of influence from music and architecture, the model that emerged was literature. From music, somebody who blew my head when I was 17 and thought that everything was crap, was Steve Reich, a US repetitive musician, a minimalist musician who was 40 at the time. He did something intense that could only be made at that moment, and I said to myself: “If this guy could do it, it is possible to do it,” and he saved me! Later, Cage with the lightness in chance, Brian Eno in the environment of the sound mass. In architecture, influences of all kinds: Buddhist, Italian architecture – particularly from baroque -, Deco architecture with Salamone - that demential architect from the Province of Buenos Aires -, also rationalist architecture, Clorindo Testa; but one of the first strong influences I had when I painted with colour was Gaudi; I saw all that in books but it was very strong. Afterwards, with time I started to read more, and the model for emotional support was composed by Flaubert, Robert Walser, Kafka; people with a harsh writing, not very seductive, sort to speak. On that sense, I would like my work to be fascinating without being seductive, almost a paradox, a dry production, but attractive at the same time.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
Regarding the works produced during the last 10 years, I would like to choose a work by De la Vega which appears in the cover of Ruth’s catalogue. That work handles tensions and unbalance in a very extreme manner; it has a big mass of nature in one of the sides, almost opposed to the monster which has a different nature than the mass in the corner; it is a game of expressive textures and of masses, intense, but also eloquent and very clear in its expression.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
Tendencies perceived in Argentine art during the last years? As in any country, it is very diverse; contemporary art has exploded, it blew up; you have anything you may want, foreign referents, anyone you want; it is atomized.
Precisely, the interesting aspect of Argentina is that it does not have a clear identity like Mexico or Brazil, whose image to the world is clear for interpretation; thus the success of their cultural interventions. But I like the idea of us not being anything specific, even talking to Brazilians, they do not identify with that image of a party, exuberance, dance; because it is also reductionist and to some extent it does impoverishes. That idea of not being anything; a friend was telling me “...we ain’t nothing... and you, even less so!”. Still, there are recent common lines, like a very intimist line which is close to what the lads could produce, Tucumán, for instance, was a referent of that production; young artists that work with minimum resources, without a penny, with their most intimate subjectivity, usually related to a very small scale. It seems to me that beyond some formal lines or lines of political activity that are seemingly related to external contexts, in which many people now work, the recurrence to the immediate context is strong, very strong in Argentina. The Rojas Cultural Centre also represents that, the Rojas is extreme subjectivity. These are very local tendencies that did not develop anywhere else like here. Regarding the technical aspects, it changes a lot; it is very diverse. Small sculptures and drawings, video; but basically, the Rojas had to do with the closest affective aspects; I am talking about Gumier’s mandate during the 90s. Everything that happened there allowed many young artists to concentrate in their subjectivity and to display in their works any curiosity, vibration, shake. That was enough, no further preparation or anything else was needed. That makes the connection with subsequent production, from new generations, the one of Sandro Pereyra who comes afterwards. This does not mean this is the only thing that I liked, but I think this has to do with large groups extended throughout the territory.