Miguel Mitlag (1969, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
He studied Film Direction at the Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires. Attended phtography workshops with Juan Carlos Villareal (1990); Alberto Goldenstein (2000) and an art clinic with Jorge Gumier Maier (2001) During 1991 and 1992 he did several workshops at the International Center of Photography, New York. In 2000 he was awarded with the Artistic Creation Grant, given by the Fundación Antorchas, and in 2003 obtained a fellowship to attend the Programme of Visual Arts Workshops CC. Rojas, UBA-KUITCA. Among his individual exhibitions, the following are highlighted: Those he did in Braga Menéndez (2006) and the photogallery of the CC Rojas (2002). He took also part in several collective exhibitions, such as “Civilización y Barbarie” (Civilization and barbarism), contemporary Argentine artists, Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Chile, Argentina (2004-2006); Folk, Daniel Abate Galería (2005), Barilaro-Mitlag, Espacio Vox, Bahía Balnca (2001), Argentine photography, with his work Art Detroy, at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA, 1999)
The work “Plataforma stripper” (Stripper platform) was selected in the ArteBA-Petrobras award, and in 2004, his work “Patio Interior” (Internal patio) took part in the Proyecto Red, ArteBA. At the same time, he was awarded with the 1st Prize, Bahía Blanca Art Biennial (2005), and the Leonardo da Vinci video award (1996) for his work “Art Detroy”, among others.
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.
“Brown monument” is a C-print photograph. It's a work that I did back in 2003, at a moment in which I was thinking on how to develop a mental idea on a 3D dimension. First, thought as a real monument, a cynical monument, empty of all content, very acid. I added elements that I found particularly interesting or suggestive, such as, for example, a guitar, a flute or some cookies. I was interested for it to be a container space of a certain situation -in this case, some cushions that, to me, represented time suspended, inactivity. It was also the first time for me to totally build something up, obstructing any previous surface.
One of the objectives was to show that, within that apparent naturalness everything is already built and viceversa, that in such artificiality there are vices and models that may seem accidental; highlighting some special aspects. As I was saying before, I covered it all. There isn't anything within that picture that was there before. It's a complete fake. That's when I started thinking about the falsification of spaces. Some Germans objected that a monument usually has a pinnacle on its center. To me, it was interesting to turn it upside down.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
First of all, it seems to me that a work of art, an oeuvre, needs to be read carefully, looking for connection points with previous works, with other artists with things outside the world of art, with philosophical ways of thinking, with science, cities and urban mythology. Without all that background, art becomes a little bit like fast food. No matter what, it's always been like that, no one comes from the jungle, looks a painting and says 'This is great'; there's always a cultural background. Second of all, it seems that in my work there's something of a tone that's very subtle, and that one can grab or otherwise it vanishes very easily. It's a thin red line. Again, I think that this aspect is present in every form of art, maybe in different degrees.
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?
Tradition is a problematic concept that doesn't attract me whatsoever. Generally, people that interests me lives and produces from reality, from what they see on the streets, from the news, from what they have in their heads today. There are many people doing quality art in Argentina, risking themselves as they can, with enormous economic difficulties, because here the art market is a joke. Generally, I'm interested in artists that I know, and therefore, can understand what their projects are and even admire them. Both myself and such people are interested in rock, electronic music, parties and books. I name a few: Valentina Liernur, Debora Pruden, Rui Krygier, Gary Pimiento, Leo Estol, Carla Bertone, Mariano Grassi, Fabian Burgos, Roberto Jacoby, Gumier Maier, Magdalena Jitrik, Eduardo Navarro, Nicanor Araoz, Galindo. Raving Mad Carlos, Fred, Rosana Schoijett, Luciana Lamothe.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
Some works by Fabián Burgos seem very interesting to me in order to think the connection between aesthetics and what's more physical or mental. It's a very deep and committed work. Víctor Grippo managed to group all of that together and connect it to a social aspect in Argentina. Marcelo Pombo: his last exhibition in Benzacar was very powerful, with humor, sensibility, very compact, perfectly resolved, a closed world, almost educational, didactic in relation to its elements (characters, situations, psychedelic abstractions). Alberto Goldenstein's photographic acurateness, RMC's shows, those nobody goes to and so vanish in the ether. Gastón Pérsico's heavy mental: a pastiche of concepts, thoughts, music, creative processes, institutional environments and an urban tribe in Buenos Aires.