It is a pleasure for Xippas Gallery to present ‘Crónicas del Sur‘ (Southern Chronicles). As its title indicates, this exhibit introduces a series of art pieces that comprise an account of the South, based on the work of artists from the southern part of the Americas, particularly Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Through the works selected, the exhibit is intended to celebrate, amidst their diversity, the resemblance and convergence in the artistic production of different artists. Based on a shared comprehension that relates trends derived from common aesthetic paradigms –as in productions linked to abstract, geometric and concrete art – the show defines bonds with modern Latin American traditions. The idea is to present an account that is neither broad-based nor totalitarian, but rather turns the exhibit into a forum to convey the consideration of the production, the ways, and the artistic thinking of that part of the world.
This part of the continent –which, quoting artist Joaquín Torres García in his mention of the city of Montevideo, comprises white light, winds and humidity– is the focus of this selection of pieces that go beyond their particular intent and also invite to a revision of their precedent artistic traditions. Such ideas and memories contain and inspire the exhibit. In Latin America, Modernism -and more particularly abstract art– bequeathed a legacy that is visible in the work of contemporary artists like those who take part in the “Crónicas del Sur” show. As they revisit, deconstruct and expand ideas, they inadvertently function as non-official heirs of such traditions. Their work suggests a dialog with history and a journey through shapes that survived to return.
The exhibition comprises a diversity of works of art that share common venues, in combinations of recent pieces with works specifically produced for the show, as is the case of Drawing Machine (Pentium, 2018) by Marco Maggi, Croma XIII, 2018 (J. P. Costigliolo, Shapes in yellow, red, black and blue) by Pablo Uribe, and a new piece by Dani Umpi. Further to a dialog with history, the pieces define a unit in search
of carefully balancing a story that is to be adapted to an original purpose, that is: to compose a sense, and to establish relations referred to that part of the world. The sculptures, paintings, drawings, objects and video elements constitute a displaying body with hints about the South, by means of works of art that are presented as chronicles.
There is a dialog between conceptual strategies and formalizations both abstract and concrete. These ways of thinking produce an art that, as Gérard Wajcman said about Marcel Duchamp’s conceptual art, in the end is nothing more than a device, or an optical instrument with which we may have another look, and a machine for producing questions and answers that are visible. As objects introduce emptiness, they turn visible what cannot be seen. What matters here is how these pieces lead us to see, and give us an image of the world by transforming our perspective.
These productions entail an expressive potential, as they establish formal bonds with concrete and geometric art, and an appraisal of shapes, colors, planes, rhythms and poetics. Such a repertoire of resources enables the definition of discursive and expressive strategies, or the suspension thereof.
Ferreira Gullar, the poet who authored the 1959 “neo-concrete” manifest, stated that art should encounter something that is more than just the aggregate of its component elements, and capable of being decomposed through analysis but comprehensible only from a phenomenological perspective. Works of art that do not belong to a specific artistic language but to life and to the undetermined experience of being.
Memory functions as a material trace where the object is but a vehicle to comprehending, and its means is the venue, and where all this has taken place: in the South.
A duet version for violoncello and voice by Caetano Veloso and Jaques Morelenbaum of the 1923 River Plate tango classic entitled “Mano a Mano” (Direct Confrontation) –originally by Flores, Gardel and Razzano– was produced for their 1992 live recording and tour “Circuladô Vivo”. This theme song is an icon of tango repertoires, whose lyrics portray the misfortune of the cocky character from the 1920s called “compadrito”, described by poet Francisco García Jiménez as quasi romantic and altogether sardonic. Morelenbaum, an instrumentalist, arranger and director with classical training, masterfully summarizes and unfolds the power and sentiment of tango in his bow and violoncello. In fact, he condensed academic tradition to compose a theme exquisitely and skillfully intoned by Caetano Veloso in a language that is foreign to him. Tropicality, jazz, tango, performance and syncretism in their most sincere expression. This show, free from victorious yearnings, shall seek to represent such concurrence of various doctrines.