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.
Altered topographies. I choose an intervention that I did back in 2007 in La Punta, that I called "Altered topographies". But before that, I must talk a little bit about La Punta, since this work is directly connected with such a place.
It all started out when Pablo Guiot told me about the launching of his project, in which he offered the house he was renting with Flavia -and that had recently been their family home- for the execution of works that experiment with it. I found their proposal both daring and seductive, since it activated on me many ideas that had, until then, remained hidden, and this seemed to be the opportunity to reveal them and make them come true.
The house. This little house in a corner bore the shape of a bow. with its suburban neighbourhood stories to it, inside a Province that was also small, its little door and small back yard, kitchen and tiny bathroom; so divorced of any functionality, yet a house in the end. A house that, no matter it had been emptied of furniture, still kept telling its stories. I thought, then, to treat it not as a group of walls on which I were to hang my works, but to consider it an object on itself, and let it be the one to express its own physicalness. Deal with its idea of a popular architecture -with no right angles or plane walls- and all what that implies. A little house that, as many others, was born on the verge of rational modern ideas but that ended up being modern in spite of that.
In order to activate such meanings I decided to cross it with 'another architecture' made out of tighten barbed wire, placed in regular squares without taking into consideration the limits of walls and doors. I must point out that in Los Nogales, the farming land where I live, barbed wires are part of my everyday landscape. There, I spent a great deal of time watching the different ways with which people try to avoid them, and for some reason that I only understood afterwards, I thought on moving such reality to La Punta. As a result, I tightened the wire at a certain height so as to obstruct normal circulation, and made out of a material that was dangerous enough so that people were always aware of its presence. Boundaries, limits, borders, but also nation, city, home. Concepts that are currently in full resignification.
Limits usually pose us different questions and reactions. On "Altered Topographies" I decided to put two logics that have reciprocally been connected throughout history into dialogue, and that have somehow conditioned all of us. I was interested in putting people in a situation in which every action had to be thought and thought over, denaturalize the human step, paying attention to every movement -even the more natural ones- and working from a concept of art that could activate this other concept called risk.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
It should be read as any other work, in relation to its context. First of all, see how it dialogues with the environment and the emerging time, and then confronting it with different and more generals culture levels. My work, as many others, does not form a unique, solid body; on the contrary, it has responded to different questions as time went by. I mean that, from the 1980s on, many things have happened in the world, in the country, and in every square mile I had set foot in, and a great deal of my attention was focused in trying to understand and respond to this wonderful and sometimes terrible things called world and life.
That is to say that my realistic paintings and the researchs during the years of the military Dictatorship resulted, during the first years of Democracy in an experimenting process that started out with paintings made out of enamel spray paint on polyethylene and moved, as the new Democracy settled, to newer forms of research that included almost every language (objects, actions, interventions, installations, etc.) I think I have been permeable to all aesthetic and ideological debates that have taken place during these years, and that were not indifferent to my artistic production. Now, having said that, I must say that such paths and trajectories makes us think and reflect upon the behaviours of men in relation to issues such as power and society, and about art and its implications as seen from these geographies.
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 recognize myself in whatever keeps generating something that is alive despite the passing of time, something that stills counts with the sufficient amount of energy so as to provoke valid results. I recognize myself in the ready-made tradition because, no matter what, its challenging arguments are now revitalized, in reference to the newly sweetened forms produced by the cultural industry and the mass culture.
I recognize myself in the tradition that deals with expanding the concepts and fields of artistic disciplines; in the tradition that puts the concept of originality into question and installs the idea of appropriation and re-writingness.
My contemporary references are many. In some cases, these are punctual works. I'm interested in Oscar Bony's head, his gun shots, its wall built in Recoleta and, I think, his "Familia Obrera" (Working familiy) still has a radicality to it that moves us. Attitude and freshness in León Ferrari and Guillermo Kuitca when it comes to painting.
Of previous generations, I'm particularly interested in our abstract artists and the constructivists, Tomás Maldonado being the first of them. Later, the conceptualists, specially Víctor Grippo, works by Luis Benedit and Horacio Zabala, the attitude and audacity in some works by Pablo Suárez. I'm also interested in a group of Tucumanian artists with which I discuss arts and cultural politics. I'm interested in my students of Taller C and deeply enjoy creating with them a space where I see them so attentive and concentrated in these artistic issues.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
That of Guillermo Kuitca in MALBA, for the painting technique has not caused such high feelings or emotions in me ever since. A sort of vertigo and tenderness.
The exhibition by Tomás Maldonado and the Ulm School in the MNBA (2007), I think it was important for the part of the country that was able to see it (and for me), because it allowed to understand its greatness and international renown.
- Interfaces (all of them), because I think it's a project that has come up with new dialogues between local scenes, some of them taking place for the first time. I think this type of proposals are good, and should be repeated, since then aim to build up a national artistic scene with more participants and speakers.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
I'm not very keen on groupings and tendencies because they seem relative and contingent. A rather sterile task if it doesn't have a what for, a when and a how. Classifications have caused more than one mistake in the field of art, such as that of the 'Rojas' aesthetics' that, as time passed by, proved it wasn't such, or that other big mistake that consists on believing that Argentine art equals Buenos Aires art.
Besides, what criterion should be used for such a classification! Subject affinity? Technological issues, discipline, materials, language, discours, sense of belonging? Or maybe that scheme by Raymond Williams may come in handy, that of dominant artists, residual artists and emerging artists.
However, there is a significant amount of artists that identify themselves with what is called 'contemporary art' or 'emerging art' or whatever you want to call it, setting up a great deal of sub-aesthetics that also happen to share some micropolitics. Without the objective of forming a solid group, they usually present characteristics that make them different from other artists and that are related with a certain spirit of time, new ways of connecting with history and culture, and a different way of understanding the relation between politics and art. A subject, on the other hand, to which I have dedicated some pieces of writing.