I was born in Río Cuarto (Córdoba). I am self-taught. As a boy, I had an interest in animals, plants and drawing (in that order). I started as a graduate student of Biology. When I turned twenty, I left everything behind, came to Buenos Aires and entered a monastery to embrace religious life. I got out. I went back to Córdoba. I returned to the monastery in 1990 (as a layman, but still living in the cloister) and made Buenos Aires my place of residence for good. During my five-year stint in the convent, I painted, I wrote, I read, I played football, I grew cacti and collected insects. I came out in 1995. I started exhibiting my work individually in 1997, the year in which a book on my work was published. Since then, I exhibit regularly at museums and fairs in Argentina and also abroad: France, Spain, Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Poland and the United States. Some of the distinctions I have received are the Creation Award of the National Fund of the Arts (Buenos Aires) and the Creation Award of the Antorchas.Foundation. My paintings and drawings are part of private and public collections in Argentina, Germany, Canada, Chile, Spain, Brazil, France and the United States. I live and work in Buenos Aires.
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.
I choose “Leda”, a work which is representative against my will. It is an acrylic painting, on a 170 x 120 cm. canvas, from 2003. I do not create the beings in my paintings, I destroy them. Their final and delicious pulp is the dish in a banquet in which I am at one time creator, executioner, cook and guest. I paint —probably as every painter out there— to rid my head of images. However, this particular work continues to haunt me, and the same thing has happened to many who have seen it, or so they say. This painting shows the two recurring topics of my work: Siamese twins (hermaphrodite, in this particular case) and crucifixion. Biology and Theology live together and copulate in the canvas: no wonder I have described my works as being “leper icons” and also as “delirious sadism”…
I made a lot of sketches for this painting. Leda, impregnated by Zeus in the shape of a swan, subverts bodies and heavens and gives birth to these creatures who suffer the uncomfortableness and the stigma of their disrupted anatomies; and through and because of those anatomies, they also taste the salty tang of existential annoyance. Involuntarily grotesque as they are, metamorphosis is their only hope. They are lessons on Anatomy aimed at no one, they go through absurdity, silence and complexity: in a nutshell, the particular filth which is being alive.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
In silence, and totally free of prejudice. My work lacks a message, I do not follow any particular aesthetics, I do not favor any movement over other, and I am not interested in what is unreal and what is real, with their infinite paradoxes; I care only for that ever-fleeting point where what is “close” contains the perversion of what is prosaic. Reality is the only thing truly subversive.
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?
I am interested in the works of Eduardo Sívori and Cándido López, I love Lucas Cranach, the School of Fontainebleau and Picasso’s sketches for his Guernica. Also: Hans Bellver, Leonora Carrington, Cosme Tura, Russian icons, old Biology-book illustrations, the German Primitives, and, as a twilight-god or a sour angel, the advisory presence of Mathis Grünewald.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
León Ferrari’s exhibition at the Recoleta Cultural Center.