I was born in Buenos Aires on December 7th, 1966
In 1977, the military government kidnapped my father and three of my uncles. I never saw them again.
In 1981 I attended Diego Maradona’s début with Boca Juniors.
Between 1986 and 1988 I studied with Roberto Aizenberg and remained his friend until his death.
During 1994 I was a member of the violet football team of painters, along with Pablo Siquier, Julio Grinblatt and Guillermo Iuso.
In 1994 I settled in New York. That year, I co-founded an experimental film company together with fellow artists such as Karin Schneider, with the idea of working with people coming from different disciplines.
In 1999 I married Karin Schneider at a Dan Graham pavilion, located in the terrace of the Dia Foundation, on 22nd St.
On September 11th, 2001 I saw the Twin Towers collapse from the terrace of my loft
On September 11th, 2004, my son Uri was born at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York.
On May 2005 I founded, along with other artists, art historians and curators, «Orchard», a cooperative art gallery in the Lower East Side.
I have exhibited my work and my films in several places around the world, among which I privilege Buenos Aires, New York and Rio.
I’m addicted to chocolate.
I recurrently dream that I fly, I dream and conduct my dream and that I’m being chased.
In Buenos Aires I am represented by Ruth Benzacar Art Gallery.
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.
In 2002 I produced an exhibition called Homo Ludens. It consisted of a modified billiard table, whose surface and game perimeter reproduced the shapes and colours of a concrete painting by Lozza with an irregular frame; balls, cues and two bar stools; and a series of drawings that constituted the “currency” played at the table. An illegal parallel economy (non exclusive) to the gallery was favoured: any participant could play against me or Orly Benzacar for money, goods or services against my drawings. The act of playing also generated a series of infinite possible concrete paintings traced by the paths of the balls, blurring the boundary between artist and participant. And the gallery constituted several times a social environment that exceeded the contemplative during the exhibition-activity. Given that the work had to maintain the function of a pre-existing object (a billiard table); and that that function if extremely precise, I had to find and coordinate a series of relatively unheard-of professionals: people who work with marble, billiards, dry-cleaning, etc.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
My output is divided into three intersecting fields: my work in fine art, my work in film, which is a collaborative space; and my writing. I will refer to the first.
Ideally my work should, by perceptive means, propose for the spectator-participant a possible manner (in the concrete sense of experiencing the work) and/or a possible model (in the abstract sense in which that experience operates on all of life) for existence, something that literally moves them (physically around paintings or objects, and emotionally). There are aspects of the work that function in relation to the situation in which it is shown or distributed (but it is almost a previous condition that there be other aspects of the work that transcend the specificity of the context or the distribution mode): a contract with a professional for 500 pesos in a prize in which 30000 is handed out; an illegal economy above the uncertain economy of the art market’s transactions.
There is always in the production a semantic and analytical depth linked to history. Often my pieces are also reflections of other pre-existing pieces. The social pyramid springs from the Working Class Family (La familia obrera), seen from the neoliberal pauperism of the middle class; at the table I aim to highlight the joyful aspect of concretism and the Madí.
Lastly, an old modernist tic; I aspire for the discourse surrounding my work to be primarily ruled by my own discourse.
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 recognise myself in any one tradition but rather in several, and during the last decade I got closer to the Rio de Janeiro and New York traditions. As basic references in those traditions, I take Hélio Oiticica and Dan Graham. Two of the recurring pieces of advice from my late adolescent teacher, Bobby Aizenberg, are of almost daily use to me: tend to solve problems more by subtraction than by addition; listen to the piece more than to yourself and to others, avoiding interferences.
As an Argentine artist, I am particularly interested in the possibilities of literary and fictional statements that our art history is undergoing: Xul inventing a language and a game whose rules changed continuously, or modifying a silent piano according to the sound-colour correspondences; the Madís making fiction of a series of inexistent artists – with catalogued portraits included – mixing them with existing ones, presenting them amongst their work in Paris at the Réalités Nouvelles exhibition; Jacoby, Escari and Costa taking into practice their manifesto by generating photos and press about a happening that never took place; the Hydrospace City as an ars combinatoria machine in the style of Raimundo Lulio, with psychoanalytic nuances, a polis in which infinite potential cultures and parallel subjectivities can be projected; Greco writing “The End” in the palm of his hand before committing suicide, turning his life into a film; Fabio Kacero’s Nemebiax listing a universe of new words which he does not bother to define; an art magazine without images, which presupposes either that its community has exactly the same visual experience always present in their minds, or that the discourse surrounding the visual world holds enough interest as to become autonomous (or gradual combinations of both possibilities).
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
Fabio Kacero swayed between the formal and the conceptual universes with admirable fluidity. The work of Guillermo Iuso narrates, increasing literature’s and painting’s entropy, the Dantean fresco of the decomposition of one country’s model into another’s, and heads with abandon towards the subjectivity of “things Argentine”. The work of Pablo Siquier was and is a model to put together, by default or excess, a practice halfway between modernity and beyond.
Res and Julio Grinblatt remind us, in different ways, that photography allows us to think beyond the image, and that it is a meta-disciplinary discipline par excellence.
The most memorable exhibition of the last five years may have been Dark Room, which questioned ideas about authorship, the spectator, the linearity of time, and the act of exhibiting; and handled a sinister load that resonated in the darkest parts of Argentina’s political and social history in a perfectly indirect and effective way. Finally, there are institutional resources to carry out retrospective showings and catalogues that permit some form of evaluation of fundamental artists: Aizenberg, Grippo, Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos, Ferrari, Kuitca. Those exhibitions are significant by definition.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
From the outset, I do not think that grouping contemporary Argentine art in tendencies is very productive. It is more legible in terms of a group of exceptions. Within my generation I vividly recognise the formalist group that operated as such in the first half of the previous decade, and in the developments within the last few years I see through Ballesteros a way towards randomness and the gesture, through Siquier and Hasper a way towards murals and space, and through Kacero a way towards language and performance. Fabián Burgos paints better every day and does not seem to have head anywhere else. And Lucio Dorr’s object aristocracy is late coming and a sophisticated addition.
Artists from other previous circles, based on discourse, of a more strategic and personal nature, such as those from the Rojas C.C., or the Harte-Pombo-Suarez group, are following individual paths with diverse success.
In fact, most of my generation has proposed individual paths and most of the groups have been, in a way, forced by circumstances. In today’s heterogeneous landscape it is even more difficult for me to outline tendencies. I can point out that many artists are deciding to be politically open, and with good results, something which in 1990 or in 1995 I could not see in the dominating discourses, either central or alternative.