Born in San Juan, Argentina,1960. In 1972 he moved to Buenos Aires.
Attended various workshops in drawing and painting at an early age.
He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, as an architect in 1985.
He studied photography in the '80s.
He was a teacher of Architectural Design at UBA, FAU from 1985 to 1991.
He studied Art History and Modern and Contemporary Philosophy.
He has developed his work in paintings, photography, objects, carvings, boxes, and installations.
He has participated in more than a hundred group exhibitions, in Argentina and abroad and at the major international exhibitions of contemporary art in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, Berlin, London, Zurich, Rome, Madrid, Caracas, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Cordoba , San Juan and other Argentine cities.
He has performed solo shows several times in Buenos Aires, New York, Miami, Berlin and Rome.
His works have been collected by the Castagnino-MACRO Rosario, Prov Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, R.G. of Rodriguez, the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of Palermo, the A. Lacroze de Fortabat Foundation, the Arcor Collection, the Alon Foundation, among other hundred important institutional and private collections in the country and abroad.
He received numerous national awards, including the Grand Prix from the National Salon Pro Arte, Córdoba 2001, the 2nd prize in the National Hall of Santa Fe in 2000, the 3rd prize at the drawing Siemens Award / National Museum of Fine Arts 2004, in the framework of the International Architecture Biennale. He has obtained special mentions such as: Close Up Award in the National Museum of Fine Arts in 2002, Salvador University Award 2001, the National Hall of Plastic Arts 1998, in the Wall Contest INET-National Museum of Fine Arts 1998, at Palermo University Awards. MNBA in 1995 at the Municipal Hall L M. Belgrano 2005, among others.
He develops production of work workshops particularly and in various cities of the country.
He has been invited as curator in several national salons.
He has organized and curated several group exhibitions of other artists.
He is Director of the National Endowment of the Arts since 2005.
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.
Well, I think it all of my works somehow represent me. I will Choose one.
I choose it for various reasons: because I feel interested towards it and helps me to show various different stages of the process, because some interpreted it lightly as a joke, and it is not, even if it has some ironic and parody features, and because, although it is developed through the operative methods used for most of my production, the way and the procedures chosen this time are not strictly pictorial. Support in which I have done most of my known work.
The construction of the story.
Because some of my other activities in the field of visual arts, I have for the last three years go over several regions of the country, getting in contact and establishing relationships with local scenes and artists in various cities. Each region with particular characteristics, different levels of development -in all aspects of artwork production- that go from important to very limited.
I had reflected frequently on the impact of scarcity of resources in the production of contemporary artists from these regions. The effect of this limitations in the choice of the supports and the chosen procedures to carry out the work. And about how much or how it impacted, conditioned or transformed the operation of production, if not on the artwork itself.
I found various cases:
- In some, using conventional means responded to a decision, to a position (beyond their philosophical aesthetic thought), in others not.
Many of them focus on the painting as a medium, others as an end in itself.
I watch lots of paint, and am interested in its position in contemporary production. I find it as one possible way among contemporary operative production even when t is highly bombed. Obviously with a conscious positioning within the painting itself, attempting a reinvention of the language, and straddles the philosophical question on the same task and knowing its history.
But I must admit that in many places I find, intentionally or not, painting artists who are anchored at other times, modern, pre modern and even in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
I have also been noting that this tendency placed this painting in an isolated position, self-excluded of the conceptual operations so representative of the post Duchamp artistic production.
- In other cases, many artists opt for a technological environment. Most times only digital imaging procedures, not the use of high technologies applied in the production or interlaced.
The first ones, those who opt for traditional media, for obvious reasons find fewer obstacles in relation to limited technological resources. I was focusing and detecting specifically the relationship of such instability in the production of contemporary artists living in small and medium cities.
If I allowed myself to be taken by the definitions of centre and peripheries, In which I do not believe because it would validate the discourse that comes out of the centers, I would say contemporary artists residing and working in remote parts of suburban cities in peripheral countries of the great centers of art circuits ... well not only of art.
When these artists choose to use technology as a tool for producing they face many practical limitations. From not having their own computers and having to work at "cyber coffees" or friends' homes to the lack of photo labs to expand and print photo images. And I'm not talking about border towns.
In turn, all or almost all of them, have fluid access to updated information and images of artistic production worldwide.
Computer technology has allowed it.
Technology reaches us through media, which does not mean we have access to using it.
Technological means, held by a minority, are used for massive media transmission, pictures, advertisements and certain speeches, new in its means of transmission but with old structures of thought and market strategies of the socio-cultural established systems.
Thus in the "periphery of the periphery" we all receive the technology... at least... the news of it, we see on TV or the screen, but away from its full services.
I came to reflect on the impact of this situation, the union of the available information and technology, together with the scarcity of resources given in the artistic field.
Undoubtedly we are in an era that might be called technological, we are cut by technology, immersed in it.
If language constitutes us as subjects, we surely will be given through the technological language with a new subjectivity.
But along the way, I feel that contemporary production specifically in these scenes, develops and passes through thoughts, aspirations, systems of thoughts, perceptions and meanings already established, on the strategies of production and also above the technological, but of course, only with the available means ... with the means at hand.
This thinking of “resolve with what you have got”, within limitations, instability and insecurity requires ingenuity and in some cases helps emphasizing the poetic and the intention of the artwork rather than the means through which it was constructed, technological or not.
And I was interested in these situations, these contradictions and their implications.
I was then working with the concept of precarious work, present in most of my work, now applied specifically to this field and described issue, with the intent to address it in one or more works that could put it into evidence.
I considered the intention of working this problem with a work that could be placed “inside of it”. To conduct the idea departing from this inconsistence; departing from the widespread and established technological information and digital image and, at the same time from the prevailing scarcity of resources in these regions.
To develop digital type of image or technological type of image materialized from and with other means that could set out this insecurity. With this intention I looked for possible materials and elements that could help me for the attempted operation.
I tried, moreover, without being literal or explicit, to address the problem in a more raw, not so subtle or hidden behind poetic way -as in previous works of mine-. (At the same time, I looked for a work that could speak for itself, that did not need in its exhibition a text like this to accompany).
I wanted to use materials of common use and circulation.
In those days came the call for Cultural Chandon prize to be outlined at the MNBA of Neuquén. Award, which as you know, is designed to promote, select and disseminate a contemporary production in the visual arts. In an attempt to federalize the project and support artists of different regions, it is performed each year in a different city. I found an interesting framework for the posing of this project.
For the last three years I have been alternating my business trips with a half nomadic residence part time in Bs As and part time in Roca, Rio Negro city that is forty Km away from Neuquen.
Facing the possibility of submission for this call, other considerations were added to the creative process. On one hand I was interested on using materials that besides from being suitable to the proposal, could be obtained in the area. On the other hand came into play the always complicated issue of packing and shipping works to distant exhibitions.
I worked with various possibilities and finally chose to develop the work in one piece of one meter by two, double translucent plastic with encapsulated air bubbles, known as Airenpack or plick-plick…seen in all types of packaging.
It fulfilled in many ways to media and body of work at the same time. Viewed from a distance the bubbles could function as pixels, or rather, as modules of lighting scoreboard of a web banner.
With regard to a material that could be easily got in the zone, they not only manufactured in large scale in Roca city, but there is also the urban legend that was invented and developed there. I decided then that this rather than being the packaging material of the work, would be the support a constituent part thereof.
I would use the bubbles as pixels and would give them color one by one by writing a text that could refer to the problems they wanted to show.
To join several of the items that make up this issue of technological productions marked by the scarcity of resources, and referring to some sort of self entrenched painting and specially emphasizing the need some people have to make crafted artworks, I thought it could be interesting to create the colored pixels by injecting liquid paint in each bubble, one by one.
Painting in a bubble within contemporary art.
The artwork poster, simile digital technological image done through the most crafted procedures would make it more possible and opposite to the operative procedures or digital technology. Emphasizing the contradiction.
I chose to make the text: Argentine Contemporary Digital, which does not speak of one as an artist with such features but for the contemporary Argentine art and digital.
So I built the project and sent it to the Chandon awards. It was especially thought for this contest and to be exhibited in that area.
The project was selected but then another circumstance brought an interesting paradox in the process.
I had not submitted a photo of a work already exhibited but the text of a project to be conducted. For the creation of Chandon catalog of the show we had to send photo of the work in a very short term. My times are always scarce from one activity to another; definitely not allow me to inject hundreds of bubbles by the time they asked the photo.
I could have chosen to send only the text of the draft and put it in the catalog instead of a photo of the work, but I chose another option.
I photographed the Airenpack cloth of two meters and digitally in photoshop I colored bubbles on the photographed image. And so, I was producing the digital image of a non-digital work supposed to set and materialization precarious craft images influenced by such technology.
I do not deny that I loved the contradiction in which I found myself.
Finally the bubbles were injected one by one with all the required patience and obsessive madness.
It was interesting how the painting sometimes unexpectedly moved out of the bubbles, leaving marks of the manual crafted process, not rigorous and not technological.
Many hours I spent injecting, with my head elsewhere, somehow the work had already been done. Other possible relationships to arise of the intersection of the work with the audience in the area of the showing interested me a lot.
Due to my sometimes unpredictable location in one or another city, I had to do the work in Bs As and not in Roca as planned. There was then a second paradox, I could not easily take it to Neuquén, ( by car), It should be packed.
I had to build a rigid box of wood to protect it. .
That is, the work done in disposable packaging material would be further packaged with extreme care so I could, at least the opening day, be in good conditions. And I say “at least to the opening day” because the proposal to the museum and the organizers was that the play could touched. It had no support and had to hang stretched in space or near a wall or floor.
The hole in which the painting was injected had to dry in order to seal the bubbles. The interior paint was still liquid. Who has not been tempted to finger tight airenpack bubbles? The work would have this “touching” side.
I was interested in the process of transformation and degradation that the work could suffer in the course of the exhibition, paint dripping, evicted by the pressure from the bubbles... by public of a contemporary art room.
The work was exhibited in the window of access to the Museum of Neuquén. They previously called to ask me if I agreed. It did not seem bad to me, the work would sail in the ambiguity of whether it was the poster of the exhibition or a work within it.
I only regret that it was finally hung at certain height above the doors. Not only was unattainable to the touch and a possible transformation but it was linearly or literally interpreted as a sign. Foreseeable risk I had to deal with. I was not at the opening, but comments I arrived. Some detected the intention of highlighting the contradiction and complexity given in contemporary art production when technology and / or digital artists are away from these resources, and their incidence of these in the works produced.
Others saw an ambiguous critical to certain conceptual productions, most found certain amount of irony in the statement.
Last irony: The work finally came flawless, intact, carefully packed to my workshop in Buenos Aires.
In vast regions of the country in the field of contemporary art, we traveled bare feet, winding dirt roads, mobile phone in hand.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
My work in general? Well, as everyone is willing to or able to. Every work has different reading layers and fields. Maybe I would suggest to stay away from the superficiality of the image, appearance, procedure and format. I would suggest inquiring into the intention and the problem on stake, its possible meanings. My paintings and objects are usually loaded with lots of conceptual and symbolic elements. I also use as resources fairly recognizable symbols that circulate in the symbolic and imaginary field. Sometimes I find that many see these resources as an end on itself and not as means chosen to develop issues into my own poetry and language.
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 do not recognize myself into any particular tradition.
There are many artists of very diverse methods of production and periods that interest me. The list is very long, I will name some of the lat century: Munch, Matisse, Picasso, Klee, Man Ray and all Dada, Magritte, Miro, Wols, Dubuffet, Tàpies, Antonio Saura, Rothko, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Bacon, Lucian Freud, Kiefer, Kippenberger, Barceló, Basquiat, Lucio Fontana, Oldenburg, Gerard Richter, Stinger, Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Mario Merz, Kosuth, Ernesto Neto, Gabriel Orozco, Carsten Holler, Gonzalez-Torres, Andreas Gursky and many more. From Argentina Berni, Grippo, Vigo, Liliana Porter, Maresca, Prior, Kuitca, Bianchedi, Daniel Garcia, Hoffman, Fratticelli, Egar Murillo, Torretta, Perrotta, Marcaccio, Siquier, Macchi, Ballesteros, Mauro Koliva, Ananke Asseff ... ugh! It is long and there are many more.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
I choose Grippo's retrospective in 2004 at the Malba. I think we were able to see a full body of work of much interest. It also allowed us to grasp the construction of a sensitive critical thinking through conceptual and visual operations.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
The formation of self-managed groups and artists’ collectives.