Galleria Continua Havana is pleased to host in its exhibition spaces PORTAL –the first solo exhibition in Cuba of one of the protagonists of the international art scene, Jorge Macchi.
Macchi's work is characterised by its attention to the unexpected, to the stratified unveiling of the everyday and its different levels of meaning through a profound sense of strangeness. It is not possible to identify pre-determined stylistic lines; each medium is used as a simple and free tool to express a series of ideas.
The project that the Argentine artist presents in Águila de Oro is an invitation to reconsider the relationship between the things of the world and our perceptive and intellectual system: sculptures, oil paintings on canvas, watercolours, installations and a video work play on the theme of transparency and concealment, undermining the linearity of the experiential process conditioned by automatisms and mechanicalness. "Portal", the work that gives the exhibition its title, marks an intermediate area –a space of suspension– where reality and illusion meet: a common zip displayed vertically becomes an imaginary portal, a space-time passage that the visitor can theoretically decide to cross by surrendering to an imaginary plot rather than remaining trapped in it. In "Before and After", the cement that should support the brick wall is replaced by fissures of air. In this way, the concept of space is paradoxically abolished by transforming light into invisible "carrier" material.
The pictorial figure of Jorge Macchi - sparing and at times anti-iconic - gives us a vision of the world made up of fragments and cut-outs. In the large paintings on canvas in the "Cover" series, our gaze is captured by visual motifs that are difficult to classify: circles, rectangles and triangles suspend the representation in order to create a new form of relationship with the viewer. The images in the background ("Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe" by Manet and Velázquez's "Las Meninas" as interpreted by Picasso) appear to be fragmented due to the overlaying of a geometric template for technical design. Macchi's intervention focuses on several levels: on the reflection of Picasso's painting that looks at Velázquez or Manet and uses their materials for a reformalisation of the world; on the experience of painting that becomes art history; on the intention to create a new collision between gesture and time of painting, vision, and perception of an image realised through the pictorial medium with all the cultural expectations that this medium implies. The relationship with the viewer becomes a perceptive process, the pictorial surface becomes a time and a space of contemplation for which a reconfiguration of our attention and our interpretative parameters become necessary.
In the work "Doppelgänger" (a German term composed of doppel, "double", and Gänger, "who goes", "who walks"), Jorge Macchi investigates the concept of doubles. "Collecting reports over several years from the police and the daily newspaper, Crónica of Buenos Aires, I noticed that there were phrases that recurred in different contexts, for example 'lifeless body', 'macabre discovery', 'bodies in an advanced state of decomposition'. In this project, I selected pairs of news items that share the same phrase and at the same time share the same amount of text and the positioning of the phrase in the text. This material allowed me to work with symmetrical forms that have a point of contact, the point where the news items share the same phrase. This phrase then works as a bridge between two different stories, a point of transition between two formally identical realities but which are completely different in content", explains the artist.
In the video room of the Águila de Oro, Jorge Macchi presents "TRain" a new video work in collaboration with Edgardo Rudnitzky. Finally, for the main room, he conceives an ad hoc installation entitled "Aquí" (Here): a heavy iron cross that marks the precise position of the art gallery according to its GPS coordinates, and its orientation with respect to the points of the compass. The apparent fragility and invisibility of data and systems acquire "HERE" substance and weight.
Jorge Macchi was born in 1963 in Buenos Aires, city where he lives and works. He is one of the most renowned Argentine artists among those who came to prominence during the 1990s. In 2001 he received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship award. His solo exhibitions include: Der Zauberberg, Quartz Studio, Turin; Perspectiva, CA2M, Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo, Madrid, Spain, curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio (2017); Perspectiva, curated by Agustín Perez Rubio, MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires), MNBA (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016); Lampo, curated by María Iovino, NC ARTE, Bogotá, Colombia (2015); Prestidigitador, curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, Contemporary Art University Museum (MUAC), Mexico (2014); Container, Kunstmuseum of Lucerne, Switzerland (2013); Music Stand Still, SMAK of Ghent, Belgium (2011); The Anathomy of Melancholy, Blanton Museum, Austin, USA (2007) and Centro de Arte Contemporanea Galego (CGAC), Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2008); Light Music, University of Essex Gallery, UK (2006); Jorge Macchi, Le 10Neuf, Center Régional d'Art Contemporain, Monbéliard, France (2001); and The Wandering Golfer, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (MUHKA), Belgium (1998). The artist has taken part in group exhibitions at the Memorial de América Latina, San Paolo (2017), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2016), Maison Rouge, Paris (2015), Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2014), Fondation Cartier for Contemporary Art, Paris (2013), and the National Gallery of Art in Washington (2012), as well as at several international exhibitions: Kathmandu (2017), Liverpool and Sydney (2012), Lyon (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 Biennale. The artist's work is included in important collections, including those of the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York, MUSAC, Museum of Contemporary Art of Leon, CGAC, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporaneo de Santiago de Compostela, Fundación Arco in Spain, MUHKA of Antwerp, SMAK of Ghent in Belgium, Fundación Banco de la Nación Argentina of Buenos Aires, MACRO and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rosario in Argentina.