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 I choose to describe is a series of magazines (they all work in more or less the same way) painted with acrylic. They are car magazines; I always use the British publication, Car, because I like their style in photographing cars. I choose an article inside it, according to the interest in the photo that illustrates it. I try to think of an image and paint it on top.
I search for certain things with this image and its construction. I attempt for the final composition (the original photo + the intervention) to work, formally, as a traditional advert, so as not to surprise the reader’s first impression too much, but I choose the image in such a way so as make the work’s statement very uncertain (chauvinist?, feminist?, Marxist?). I working with materials like these, I am looking for the spectator to expect a strong statement or denouncement. In carefully avoiding this denouncement, I search to short circuit a certain method of automated reading with which we habitually see a magazine like this (for men-kids, commercial, advertising, etc). I then hang them on the wall, open on the intervened page. I like the initial reaction some spectators have, who initially do not perceive there is something strange in the magazine and when they realise they seem very surprised. I am interested in that magazines synthesize disconnected things without, at the same time, erasing the differences.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
I prefer not to suggest anything, in the sense that it is best to come across my work without the command of seeing a specific concept or idea in it. I would like for my work to reveal to the spectator the way in which the automated look (which is standard, necessary for social survival, I think) does not see objects but rather ideas, categories. Beyond these categories, in the objects that are allowed to be experienced as such, desire, art, nausea, beauty, etc reside: intensities instead of memories. The implications of this are very thrilling for me.
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 most beloved referents at the moment I think are Paul McCarthy and Marcelo Pombo. I like working with surrealism in the style of Mike Kelley, which entails an interest in Georges Bataille.
I like the fact that in McCarthy ketchup is blood, but it is still ketchup, it comes out of a Heinz jar. The fictional aspect is evident and when his videos become disturbing this is augmented by the fact that the spectator cannot take haven in having been tricked by an illusion.
I am interested in Pombo’s work with the medicine boxes, the juice cartons. Using “rubbish” to make decorations but without idealising them. To decorate rubbish. I like his sense of humour: laborious to the stage where the obsession has to be love, though this relationship may be dark and perverse.
I am also enthusiastic about Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Guattari and Deleuze, I find their criticism on psychology very useful in thinking about my work. It gives me tools with which to develop and defend an idea about art in which the investigation on the personal and subjective structure is a powerful (if not the only) political tool.
Marcaccio’s work was useful to me in understanding an elemental part of the basic operation of contemporary art, I like his work because it is didactic and rotten. It was useful because it is didactic and I like it because it is rotten (cancerous?).
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
I find Jacoby’s Proyecto Venus (Venus Project) important. I am interested in, beyond its success as an alternative economic system, the very concrete manner in which it affected many people’s behaviour and daily life. An institution dedicated to being an existential experience.
One of my favourites was Siquier’s exhibition in which there were charcoal drawings on the wall. It confirmed an idea I had about his work, the which I thought for many years was a misinterpretation on my part. The “virile and trembling” strokes allowed me to enjoy the semi-architectures that came out of the 3DMax (or perhaps it was some other software) as planes for ideal, rigid and tortuous psychic structures. Self-inflicted prisons, constructed by a mandate, to owe to oneself.
I was not yet interested in art, but I think that the rise of Beauty and Happiness (Belleza y Felicidad) must have been very interesting, B&H as an event, artwork and gallery.
I also like the cycle of exhibitions at the Borges curated by Gachi Hasper, I was pleased to see the Borges transformed into a place to which one feels like going. It seemed correct to choose the artists’ “B side” works for a space so void of history. Of all the exhibitions I single out Ballesteros’ and Diana Aisenberg’s. I found Covered Light Sources (Fuentes de Luz Tapadas) disturbing and effective. It was effective in being disturbing, particularly in contrast to the scientifically positive and sterile text which accompanied the show. In mind the piece was about censorship, silence and the traces left by that which is “missing”. Ballesteros said nothing of this in the text, probably because he trusted that in writing it he would be repeating himself.
Diana Aisenberg’s exhibition came after the apogee of the dictionary as a brilliant conceptual, digital artwork, etc. In seeing the paintings and the crockery dialoguing in ways that reminded me of the style of conceptualism, I felt a kind of vertigo in drawing connections to the dictionary work; it made me see how inept I am to see painting. It seemed to me that the imposed naïveté that she has was made critically visible in coexisting with the untrammelled and progressive dictionary.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
I feel there is an investigation into the personal, the subjective, the capricious. The ornament and decoration are characterised by the acquisition of their meaning in a more anguished than familiar daily setting. The “deformed” as ideal, an ideal linked more to humour than to beauty (although without excluding her). In the best cases (those I like best) this humour searches to construct systems of personal desire with what is available, with a volunteering (though sometimes also forced) economy of resources. I am very interested in a certain intuition in which one can find the only realist source of “truths” in that that is personal and subjective.