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.
It is an installation that acts as the incidental music that constantly affects the rest of my work. The title is “The ancestors’ forest” [El bosque de los ancestros] and I have exhibited it with some variations in the spaces of Loreto Arenas Gallery (2005), House of Culture, Buenos Aires City (2006) and in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Salta (2007). There are morphological aspects in this work that make the circularity, the flotation and insinuate a particular erotic. It is a series of shapes made of empty rubber circles from where threads made out of secondhand motorbike tires hung, and are crossed by fringes made of the same material which are fixed with visible rivets. They are just over one meter high each. They are part of a set and hung from the ceiling by means of strings. The empty circles should be suspended just above the human sight. They contain the poetics of rolling, of a movement that serves as a metaphor for transit between worlds and states of mind. This aspect can be seen in my works and link this one with my performances and drawings of muscular men that are always part of my research. “The ancestors’ forest” contains all the elements that were later developed at the different stages in my work.
The development of this work is linked to a particular celebration within the religious Afro-Brazilian universe of celebrations called “Egungún” which I had the chance to attend. Indeed the link between ancestral worship and art is a point on which I focus most of the time. And it is also the focus of the book series “Arte Brujo” that I make with Dany Barreto and guests. I don’t feel that working from that place is giving into exoticism, I’m aware that my head must move in all directions to run the gears of what I’m interested in and that should happen with my work. This installation includes my perception of emptiness, of the ghostly, of a dancing fairy. And a nocturnal feeling that allows that fairy to be the opposite of evanescence and to admit mysteries.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
Concerning this question, I guess that the first request artists have is that our work is read with enthusiasm. Without it, “The Ambassadors” of Holbein could have being seen badly and between dislocated thoughts. After this innocent request, almost a prayer, I think of a viewer that is aware of my process and that ideally has seen my work in my studio or during an anthology show where he or she can find work from different periods and perceive a thread. But, clearly, the most usual thing is that the work is seeing in an exhibition where there is only one series or one aspect of the work highlighted; or even more partially, in a group show where minimum aspects of my work are exhibited. There are people that see my work and make an abstract and formalist reading (especially of my work with tires) and other who like to see the conceptual and cultural context to which my body of work refers to. Both are partial, possible and acceptable readings. We have to start liking something from some point, “getting into” it somehow. But my favorite spectator investigates the visual and conceptual slopes and realizes that they are both interlaced and indicate an essence. To facilitate this action from the spectator, it seems crucial that an exhibition of mine has some degree of commitment with the show, with the intention of capturing the attention of those who attend to it.
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?
My “line” is marked by Latin American artists who researched about the relation between visual arts and rituality, specially the Afro-Latin, and that didn’t do this “from the outside”. Lam, Mestre Didi, Rubem Valentim, José Bedia, Belkis Ayón, Ana Mendieta, Cravo Neto are some of them. From the ones with whom I interact, the following are also in this line: Dany Barreto, Ángela López Ruiz, Guillermo Zabaleta, Anabel Vanoni. And outside my personal focus, from contemporary art, I’m very interested -much more than I thought in the beginning- in Young Brits, I think Cai Guo-Qiang is great, also Keisuke Shirota. In relation to the past of national art, I feel totally identified with Pre-Colombian Art from here, especially with sculpture artists that carved stone. And later on, with artists that had some rawness in this works, like Berni. And also with the ones interested in a believable metaphysics; I’m thinking of Guzmán Loza, Gramajo Gutiérrez, Gambartes. Internationally speaking, I’m fascinated by Cycladic Art, Egyptian or the traditional African sculpture art. And the much closer in time: Bacon.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
Guillermo Kuitca’s retrospective exhibition at Malba – Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires had elements adrenalin and show that turned it into a great spectacle, a feature that I celebrate and thank in an exhibition (in a mega show above all). It was the come back of an artist who served as mirror to contemporary Argentinian artists. And it was not disappointing. At least not for me! I liked several retrospective exhibitions (and I think about the works and not the sets up, etc) like the one from Hlito, Gambartes, or the one of Berni when he participated in Venice Biennial, all of them where in Recoleta. I liked Karina Peisajovich’s show in Braga Menéndez Gallery (2006), it had an intelligent search, clear and it achieved what it was proposed. Dany Barreto’s exhibition at Recoleta Cultural Center (2001) and the one of Ronsino / Bordese, the same happened at this one, I liked them very much and they were generous, full and circular exhibitions.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
Beyond the formal freedoms achieved, of which I am happy and very much, I’m not particularly optimistic about this period. Groups around curators and marketing advisors are the most solid ones. And the groups that worked around more intellectual elements are out of date. I also think that we were forced to quit with an ironic tone, that at times can seduce but in the end it’s saturating given its compulsory nature. Anyway, I think that what will remain is the blurring of every limit, something that will retrospectively make the reading very positive.