Gabriel Chaile, Juan del Prete, León Ferrari, Mariana Ferrari, Jorge Gumier Maier, Silvia Gurfein, Mauro Guzmán, Alfredo Hlito, Guillermo Kuitca, Fernanda Laguna, Luciana Lamothe, Alfredo Londaibere, Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos, Emilio Pettoruti, Marcelo Pombo, Cristina Schiavi, Xul Solar, Lino Enea Spilimbergo, Pablo Suárez, Yente
24.09.19 | 25.10.19
In order to “revalorize Argentine modern art in contemporary thought,” Roldan Moderno organized a year-long series of exhibitions curated by guest curators. In that framework, art historian and curator Jimena Ferreiro came up with the idea for Acople, an exhibition that staged “some idea-forces that articulate the narrative of local art through a matching system that takes the shape of tentative proximities, enlargements, duplications, oppositions, rivalries and admirations,” she writes in her curatorial text.
The Spanish word acople—coupling as well as audio feedback in English—makes reference, Ferreiro goes on, “not only to adhering, joining, and fitting together but also to sound distortion that produces a noise and something like an echo.” In the spheres of sound and of image, it is “a phenomenon produced by a system when it draws back onto itself its own signal, inserting it ceaselessly, time and again.” The show paired works, but also drew open relationships between them, connections that went beyond what might, at first glance, have looked like a back and forth between sets of mirrors facing one another. Ferreiro applies the term acople to twentieth- and twenty-first-century Argentine art to establish “a great conversation between works across time.”
The idea of the musical cover also ran through the show, albeit obliquely. “Cristina Schiavi (Buenos Aires, 1954) [for example] did a cover of a painting by Emilio Pettoruti (La Plata, 1892–Paris, 1971), one of the most important artists of the Argentine modernist avant-garde active in the first decades of the twentieth century. Through her work, Schiavi manipulates the objects produced by the heteronorm, producing a strangeness-effect in order to evidence the sex-genetic marks of geometric modernism,” the curator explains. The exhibition included other key figures in strains of modernism and the twentieth-century avant-garde: Xul Solar (San Fernando, 1887–Tigre, 1963) and Alfredo Londaibere (Buenos Aires, 1955–2017) share a single spiritual search that is “encoded and embodied in their works.” If observed carefully and from a certain distance, Londaibere’s work contains the declaration “Self is absolute” amidst so many colors and forms suggestive of a “lettrism linked to the experimentation of the constructive avant-gardes” (Ferreiro).
The art of Jorge Gumier Maier (Buenos Aires, 1953) is tied to the Argentine abstract avant-gardes in a very specific way. The show paired one of his works from 1992 with a work by Yente (Buenos Aires, 1905–1990) and Juan del Prete (Vasto, 1897–Buenos Aires, 1987). “My tie to abstraction,” remarked Maier in a 1993 interview quoted in the curatorial text, “lies, above all, in its appropriation by modern interiors.”
In distinctive ways, Alfredo Hlito (Buenos Aires, 1923–1993) and Guillermo Kuitca (Buenos Aires, 1961) both explore “that indiscernible—and infrequent—zone between abstraction and figuration,” is how Mariano Mayer, whom Ferreiro also quotes, puts it. In both artists’ work, lines form structures (they do so explicitly in the case of Kuitca, who uses maps and architectural floor plans in his paintings). Along those lines, Luciana Lamothe (Mercedes, 1975), an admirer of modern architecture, “makes works with piping connected with hinges and like devices, the same materials she uses in her functional installations and sculptures—works like constructive structures that have turned against themselves.” One of Kuitca’s floor plans outlined in a crown of thorns (that is, in fact, the work’s title) was paired, in the show, with a sculpture by Lamothe—a cylinder of iron pipes whose surfaces have been cut down, shaping multiple sharp tips. Gabriel Chaile (San Miguel de Tucumán, 1985) would have liked to be an archeologist, Ferreiro says, explaining “magic orbits his work, as does faith in the capacity to transform matter, the very stuff of miracles.” Therein lies his tie to Hlito, who lived in Mexico from 1964 to 1973, where his work took on aspects of pre-Columbian culture.
In her works, Fernanda Laguna (Buenos Aires, 1972) creates forms of communication where artistic language acts as “a way to speak outside the art system,” writes Inés Katzenstein, whom Ferreiro also quotes. In the show, that “poetic force” was matched with the inscriptions of “poet, showman, minstrel, and performer” Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos (Mar del Plata, 1939–Buenos Aires, 1992). “A remarkable figure on the Buenos Aires art scene, one as extravagant as he is essential, with work that dematerialized to the point of becoming a simple vision of immediate experience.” “Pablo Suárez (Buenos Aires, 1937–2006),” Ferreiro goes on, “rematerialized his work to similar end. Outside was genocide [in reference to the bloody Argentine dictatorship in power from 1976 to 1983], inside the bed, plants, sheets, pleasure.” Acople coupled his nudes and drawings by Mauro Guzmán (Rosario, 1977) that “call forth unruly crowds, the excesses of the grunge aesthetic and queer androgyny.”
Marcelo Pombo (Buenos Aires, 1959) and the artists of his generation rediscovered “common beauty.” At a roundtable in 1994 with León Ferrari (Buenos Aires, 1920–2013) and Luis Felipe Noé, two politically committed artists, Pombo explained—as Ferreira recounts—that “he did not feel drawn to the great struggles of his nation and the world. All he really cared about was what was happening within a meter of his person.” The show matched his Guirnaldas con frutos podridos (Garlands with Rotten Fruit, 1993) and Ferrari’s Sin título (Untitled, 2006).
In recent years, Mariana Ferrari (San Miguel de Tucumán, 1975) has produced a series of paintings that takes apart the mountain landscape painting tradition, the iconography and earthy atmosphere that Lino Enea Spilimbergo (Buenos Aires, 1896–Unquillo, 1964)—who taught at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán—painted. Ferrari takes those landscapes to the field of gestural abstraction. “She uses the English word painting rather than the Spanish word pintura because it refers to both the thing and the action. That dynamic force is key to understandings her art, always on the vague limit between annihilation and vitalism, between disintegration and reunification in a very personal way of understanding painting in relation to territory and tradition,” Ferreiro goes on. Those extremes of the vital and the inert are also at play in the painting of Silvia Gurfein (Buenos Aires, 1959), who “wavers between the ghost of the form, its past life and ultimate disappearance until it turns into sheer color, blotch, mist, vibration, suggestion.”