I was born in Rosario (Argentina), in March the 8th of 1964 (International Working Woman Day), while the Beatlemania was at its highest point and under the Pop Art sign. I was raised in the industrial neighbourhood of Somisa (a gigantic fabric that produces steel), a place rather similar to the Simpson's Springfield, located in the outskirts of San Nicolás (the north of the province of Buenos Aires). I studied with the Salesians, but I really don't have much to say about them other than I loved to draw and paint and they thought it was a waste of time and school supplies. My adolescence happened during 1976's dictatorship and it was spent inside a bubble filled with rock and tobacco. At some point I discovered that I wanted to be a painter. I went back to live in Rosario, I studied Law for a little while and I finally studied Fine Arts in the National University of Rosario, in 1985. My painting professors, which belong to one of the last century avant-garde movements, had stopped painting out of political and aesthetic conviction in 1968. They spent almost 20 years without even touching a brush. By logic, they didn't consider essential that a painter know how to paint, but they were interested in us expressing ourselves in the most authentic way. I had to find the colours' secrets outside. I learnt almost everything from Emilio Torti, a formidable artist that actually painted and painted a lot, and by fortune didn't neglect the aim of being authentic. I learnt the rest from Juan Pablo Renzi, Pablo Suárez and my friend Xil Buffone, who wasn't affraid of loud and shiny colours, or anything.
My first collective exhibitions started in 1986 and my first individual exhibition in 1990. Afterwards, I had many collective and not so many individual in Argentina, Bolivia and Spain, where I lived between 2001 and 2004 while Argentina was being destroyed and was being rebuilt so quickly at the same time...
Between the final years of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, I participated in several artists groups of Rosario with different results. My experience with big groups formed by plastic artists have more to do with my operational needs rather tan aesthetic convictions, and I think as well that that was the general rule because I think that the shortage was general and the particular aesthetics were perhaps too many to get along. With the little groups -my friends- there has been a much closer collaboration, at a personal and aesthetic range. They still endure over time and they happen periodically in a very natural way, beyond any label.
As for what strictly does to my curriculum, I have gained some prizes and some Fine Arts museums have one of my works among their collections, thing that has been filled with pride to my Lady Mother.
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.
"La Última Cena" (The Last Supper) acrylic over fabric - 150 x 100 cm - 2003. The style is pop and the theme religious at a first instance, also aesthetic and politic. Is the last supper and a cabinet meeting, or the meeting of shareholders of a multinational company. Our Lord Jesus Christ and Jorge De La Vega. Pop human beings incarnating the characters of a pop scene. Place and moment of decision. It's a painting done from a digital montage where the Christ that appears is the same Christ from Dorés's Bible and Jorge De La Vega's image (taken from the Otra Figuración catalogue - 1963) is repeated 12 times, 11 in skin colour and one in green. The chalice, the host and the vine come from my grandmother Pura's missal. The virtual space is generated with a graphic program (Corel Draw). Once the image was completed onscreen, everything is turned into lines (vectors), the artwork is printed in real size and it is transferred to fabric performing the tedious, long and exasperating method of carbonic paper. Once the drawing is placed over the canvas, I proceed to paint it with love and in acrylic, according to the original sketch and with the logical variations that may happen along the way. In general, this is my technical methodology.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
My artwork is very easy to read due to its characteristics. There are actually very few suggestions I could give as on how to read it. It's figurative, graphic and sometimes narrative. In my case, the reading would be a previous instance to seeing this work. The images that appear are the most frequently used of characters and objects that are very well-known for almost everyone. I use this aesthetics archetypes (if there are, I prefer the stereotypes), respecting "textually" their material look. My questions come from reflections that are both ethical as aesthetics, sometimes deep and sometimes superficial, always due to whim and need. And if the image is pop in a wide sense and specific at the same time, the spirit is dada and some effects are surreal. Many of the details are completely unexplained. In essence, I paint what I feel like painting, what amuses me, what I love, what troubles me or what I hate from my deepest core.
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 and try to set myself in the pop tradition, but in a very personal and dynamic way to what the contemporary dialectic respects. Pop art is still current as far as these issues that gave birth to it stay current (and enhanced after 40 years of technological evolution): a) The society of consumption, advertising, mass media plus Internet, etc. b) The contrast of a solemn, close, elitist, hollow art, sustained by different economical and cultural powers. I don't consider myself as a pop artist in its retro sense. I do take many elements from that aesthetic but it is not my only referent, there is also a dada spirit, surreal in the visual montages and there is a certain baroque twist in the way I articulate them. I find it very hard to mention a referent strictly contemporary unless the concept of contemporary include the last four decades. My generation colleagues might be a reference but almost never a reference. Besides the old guard of American pop, I'm very interested in the artwork of "pop artists" such as Eduardo Arroyo, from Equipo Crónica, or Keith Haring, Antonio Berni, terribly pop when he decided he wanted to be pop, Jorge de la Vega... Juan Pablo Renzi who was pop in spite of himself, Pablo Suárez, Benedit, Líbero Badii... and among the surreal artists and related to Magritte or Max Ernst and, from here and there and always Bacon, Freud, Dali, Picasso, Klimt, Van Gogh, Goya, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Zurbaran, Leonardo, Van Eyck and the medieval miniatures and Cándido López's national miniatures. I'm also very interested in the propaganda images of the first half of the XX century, the Russian avant-garde, the Stalinist propaganda, the socialist realism or the Mexican muralists. The catechism illustrated. Also the Chinese propaganda of the 50s, the Cultural Revolution and the contemporary one. The Cuban pop-propaganda and, from our country, the Peronist propaganda is one of my most frequent references.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
The artwork that moved me was "Exclusión" of Pablo Suárez, a poetic and killer synthesis of the Argentina of the end of the century. As for exhibitions, I remember De La Vega's retrospective held at the National Museum of Fine Arts... I came out on fire, totally amazed. Benedit's retrospective, held at the same place, was a strong lection on beauty and professionalism. Le Parc's retrospective, also held there, was an exhibition that arrived 35 years late and yet, sounded perfectly contemporary. Berni and his contemporary. "Correlatos" (I've seen it in the Castagnino Museum of Rosario), there you could tell that he was the biggest, the more alive and more necessary artist.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
In general, the art hasn't changed very much in the last 15 years, hardly a change of tendency, some death and some resurrection of painting and the appearance of photography as one of the Fine Arts. At the beginning of the 90s, the tendency in vogue were the playful kitsch objects, made with polyester resin and plastic little dolls, perhaps as the reaction to the severe (and almost always flabby) post avant-guard painting of the 80s. After the mid 90s, there was an abolition of boundaries between artistic disciplines which includes photography (digital or not) and digital art, which suddenly gain many adepts. In the halls compete and coexist all the trends without distinction nor restrictions. In the rest of the world happens the same thing, confusion matches globalization. I'm not sure that this experiment has resulted largely rewarding until now. In all the types yes there was a progressive hegemony of a certain post-minimalism barely conceptual -either of design, technology, organic or fleeting- suggested, driven from the institutions, galleries, the critic and the curators. Inside this process the artwork has lost materiality, content and charm... it has lost importance. I believe contemporary art has resulted in a type of its own and it has stopped being a temporal reference. An artistic category officially transgressor was beaten by a boring conservatism that is no longer able to include within its range (and its artificial atmosphere of controlled risks) all the contemporary artistic manifestations. Eventually, the excluded became more attractive, just like in the Academy period. Sooner or later they will be assigned with a specific name -a "ism"- that will define somehow and set the concept free of the particular aesthetic contemporary connotations.