With the exhibition “Suspension Points” Galleria Continua is delighted to welcome to San Gimignano one of the most prominent artists of the modern Latin American artistic panorama, Jorge Macchi. The solo show presented by the artist is composed by a series of works that weave together literary, musical, cinema and art history references with the accidental, the dreamlike, and with humour and tragedy: large and small-scale sculptures, oil on canvas paintings, watercolours, installations and two works born of a new collaboration between Macchi and the Argentinian musician and composer, Edgardo Rudnitzky.
Jorge Macchi creates a poetics of suspension, of that which endures in time or goes beyond the limits of the frame. “Suspension Points” takes its name from a diptych in which the dots which form the image appear to disperse upon reaching the edges of the paper like a cloud of dust formed by blowing. As punctuation marks within writing, suspension points are misleading. Not only do they establish a particular rhythm in the flow of our reading but they also imply a subtraction, a removal. They suggest a continuity of something not there, something we must infer. As implicit ghostly ellipses to the narrative cadence, they push the reader on and further into the text by activating the imagination: an effect which is rather similar to that which Hemingway obtains with his “iceberg theory”, whereby the reader is asked to fill in textual omissions with his or her own sensations and impressions. These absences, deviations and modulations form part of the means by which Jorge Macchi realises his works, explains Laura Hakel, curator of the exhibition.
Jorge Macchi’s work constitutes an ongoing invitation to reconsider the relationship between the objects of the world and our perceptive and intellectual systems. If our senses allow us to configure a perceptible experience and to elaborate upon it via experience and knowledge, then Macchi works to dismantle this relational mechanism – to undermine the linearity of the process and to shake up our perceptual mechanisms and indeed the entire experiential and cultural system, which is also born of automatic and mechanical procedures.
In order to increase the tension between our logical understanding of the world and the emotional and sensory experience which we have of it, the artist uses a wide range of media. Jorge Macchi’s pictorial style – both parsimonious and at times anti-iconic – gives us a vision of the world made of fragments and cuttings. The elements which make up his oil paintings and watercolours refer us to a way of seeing inherited from the history of painting. Nonetheless, it is impossible to find continuity in the technical and iconographic content, not least because their meaning is somewhat hidden. Macchi traces a path characterised by deviations and negations, and the viewer is called upon to play an active role, since the understanding of the work can only come about with the passage of time, via reflection and contemplation of the image. Among the central features of the artist’s work are: the reconfiguration of conventional systems – time, space, composition (alphabetic and musical); the incidental element; the centrality of the image and the attention given to materials which communicate a content.
With his works, Jorge Macchi recreates the conditions of a parallel reality which, vacillating between reality and fiction, perturbs our certainties and finds its way into the folds of our consciousness. Occupying the parterre of the ex-cinema and theatre space, the installation “La noche de los museos” is no exception. It was created in 2016 for the artist’s first important retrospective in Argentina. In the centre of the parterre is a large area of carpet, upon which several spotlights lie as if fallen from the ceiling. Although broken, they seem to bring to light a design in the fabric, whilst the rest of the surface appears to vanish into nothing. The piece invites the spectator to reflect on the meaning of one of the central questions in Macchi’s work: the materialising power of light. Moreover, as the curator underlines, this installation creates a contradiction between the past and present of an action, the ambiguous evanescence of an image and the presence of the visitor. Without masking its artifice, “La noche de los museos” creates a tension between what we expect and that which in reality does not take place. Thanks to a sophisticated digital weaving system, the carpet combines around twenty colours: “I have always liked those motifs that are like overlapping cubes”, the artist explains, “it is obviously a visual motif but at the same time it creates a spatial illusion. The choice of red and black allowed me to work with two different gradations of colour (...) the black imposes a more abrupt gradation than that implied by the red in order to arrive at the colour of the natural wool (...) we had to do a lot of tests so as to eliminate rough transitions in the gradation of the colours (...). This project has inspired me to continue working with this medium, to try and make the design more complex and incorporate even more colours.” Jorge Macchi’s work resists any critical interpretation. Rather than constituting a linear progression, they present themselves as dense and intricate semantic networks – elegies to the absence of any one single vision of the world.
Jorge Macchi was born in 1963 in Buenos Aires, the city where he continues to live and work. He is one of the most renowned Argentinian artists among those who came to prominence during the 90s. In 2001 he received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Among his solo shows we note: Perspectiva, CA2M (Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo), Madrid, curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio, Spain (2017); Perspectiva, curated by Agustín Perez Rubio, MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires), MNBA (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) and Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016); Lampo, curated by María Iovino, NC ARTE, Bogotà, Colombia (2015); Prestidigitador, curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, Contemporary Art University Museum (MUAC), Mexico (2014); Container, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (2013); Music Stand Still, SMAK, Ghent, Belgium (2011); the Centro de Arte Contemporanea Galego (CGAC), Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2008) and The Anatomy of Melancholy, Blanton Museum, Austin, USA (2007); Light Music, University of Essex Gallery, U.K. (2006); Jorge Macchi, Le 10Neuf, Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain, Monbéliard, France (2001) and The Wandering Golfer, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (MUHKA), Belgium (1998).
The artist has participated in joint exhibitions hosted by the Memorial de América Latina, San Paolo (2017), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2016), Maison Rouge, Paris (2015), Fondation Beyeler, Basle (2014), Fondation Cartier for Contemporary Art, Paris (2013), National Gallery of Art, Washington (2012), and also in many international shows: Kathmandu (2017), Liverpool and Sydney (2012), Lyons (2011), Auckland (2010), Yokohama (2008), Porto Alegre (2007), San Paolo (2004), Istanbul (2003) and Havana (2000). In 2005 he represented Argentina at the 51st Venice Biennial. The artist’s works are to be found in important collections such as those of the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York, MUSAC (the Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilla and León), Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo (CGAC) in Santiago de Compostela, Fundación Arco in Spain, MUHKA in Antwerp, SMAK in Ghent, Belgium, Fundación Banco de la Nación Argentina in Buenos Aires and Museo d’Arte Contemporanea of Rosario in Argentina.