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magazine

Publication by Living Art Room. Artistic References and Pocesses No 009. july, august,september. 2012

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Direction Catalina Restrepo Leong贸mez catalina@livingartroom.com Ediction Daniel Vega serapiu@hotmail.com design Catalina Restrepo Leong贸mez catalina@livingartroom.com

Adriana Salazar, Bird, 2011

Contributors Octavio Avenda帽o Trujillo Gonzalo Ortega Miriam Matus Daniel Vega

Acknowledgements Gonzalo Ortega Julia Ortega Miriam Matus

Photographs

Courtesy of the artists and contributors

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CONTENIDO Editorial

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Artistic References and Processes CHAT

Artistic References and Processes

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Gonzalo Ortega and Octavio Avendaño NEW ARTIST PORTFOLIOS

Alejandra Alarcón

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Lorena Mal

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Andrés Felipe Castaño

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Adriana Salazar Antonio Ibarra

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text by Ana Lilia Maciel Santoyo. text by Iván Abreu text by Living Art Room

ARTIST PORTFOLIOS UPDATES

Rodrigo Imaz Alejandra España 3

084 096 108


Sof铆a Echeverri Jeanne Saade Palombo Jimena Rinc贸n

122 130 144

ARTICLE

Hyperealism and photorealism in Colombia

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by Catalina Restrepo Leong贸mez RECOMMENDED

Carlos Castro

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Paisaje Social Foundation

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The Trade of Pastiche

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at MAVI SPECIAL GUEST

by Miho Hagino CINEMA

by Miriam Matus MUSIC

Un oscuro nuevo d铆a: presente y futuro de la industria musical

by Daniel Vega

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“THE WORLD TODAY DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, SO WHY SHOULD I PAINT PICTURES THAT DO?” ~PABLO PICASSO http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Art-Room/171667808941 5


ARTISTIC REFERENCES AND PROCESSES EDITORIAL

The ninth issue of LARmagazine is dedicated to artistic references and processes, a subject I consider very important and worth analyzing, especially now that it seems everything is already invented and we’re drowning in a deepening sea of images.

and the less encrypted those codes are when setting out a piece, the better the message will be transmitted and become more effective. Now that we are on the subject, we wanted to make a field exploration about something that’s been happening in Colombia for some decades. There is an important group of artists focused on faithfully reproducing the reality through drawings and paintings, a situation that grows more and more apparent. We present some of these artists, who answered many questions we made with the interest of researching what their artistic references are. Our intention was to investigate if there are conditions to talk about a homogeneous movement with common interests. We are sure our readers will enjoy much about this section.

This edition does not try to express opinions about the concept of authorship, since today it may seem a repetitive theme. The idea we develop goes further: it’s about trying to analyze the worth and importance that implies knowing Art History and being conscious about what has been made before, so the meaning of the work produced today doesn’t get lost in a limbo, detached of any possible concept, and become a simple occurrence. It is very common to see artists convinced that they just invented hot water, artists that have not taken their time to review who said what and why. That is why it’s important to remark the importance of the process and research that must exist behind each work or artistic project today. Art is a code-based language; the more an artist knows

We also feature three new artist portfolios: Lorena Mal (Mexico), Alejandra Alarcón (Bolivia) and Andrés Felipe Castaño (Colombia), as well as updates from Rodrigo Imaz, Jeanne 6


Saade Palombo, Sofía Echeverri and Alejandra España, all Mexican coincidentally. We also welcome Miriam Matus to our team, who will be in charge of a regular article on cinema. For her first collaboration, and very in tune with our subject, she will tell us about important references in movies, what she calls the “trade of pastiche”. Our editor Daniel Vega, who specializes in music, tells us about the cycles in musical genres and how they are usually recyclable. His article this time is about how a specific genre can be traced to its origin from its tendencies. As usual, we hope you enjoy this Edition of LARmagazine.

Catalina Restrepo Directora Living Art Room www.livingartroom.com 7


CHAT

GONZALO ORTEGA and

OCTAVIO AVENDAテ前 About artistic references in the Mexican contemporary art scene Mexico City, July, 2012 8


Gonzalo: This LARmagazine issue talks about “References and artistic processes” touching an interesting subject: in artistic creation matters there is practically nothing new under the sun. There are always trendy subjects in the air but, in my point of view, they are usually a paraphrasing of the past, or a retaking of subjects that have been used previously by other artists. It also happens that art feeds itself more and more with elements from different disciplines. From your perspective, being a curator very interested in the proposals of young up-and-coming artists: could you tell us about what’s going on now? Do you see any trends or themes that attract new generations of artists? Are there young groups working on the same subjects? Who copied who? Who is the original one?

Octavio: I’m amazed by the different strategies adopted today by artists in a range between 20 and 30 years old. I could talk about three main lines. The first one has to do with research strategies. It includes some artists with a very specific profile: they structure their lines of work from specific subjects. A clear example is Erick Meyenberg, who parts from detailed anthropological and sociological researches. A second line would be constituted by artists who focus their work in exploring different materials, in the search for aesthetical possibilities when working, for example, with concrete, or with day-to-day elements that are sublimed through appropriations. The third and last line relates a lot more to network working; social order projects directed to fields of interaction with citizens or people that are not properly related to art. These kinds of works seek collaborations with specialists, anthropologists, etc., generating work networks. They usually 9


take place in public spaces and tend to get involved in people’s day-to-day life. Generally speaking theses would be the three important lines that I see today in young artists’ production in Mexico.

Gonzalo: Where would you place in these three categories, for example, a generation of artists that is working with animals? When one hears opinions about these works, the name that usually comes up is Marcos Castro, who a couple years ago started painting wolves, then suddenly everyone started to do the same. These situations are like a snowball that grows steadily as the years go by. What do you think of these, and the anthrop morphing of animals in local artistic production? Octavio: The form and zoology subject, the animal imaginary in art, is accompanied by drawing as a support. Everyone who is working with animals and figurative references recur to the representation of the human body, no only to the animal. I think this had a rush five years ago. Although the undeniable reference is Marcos Castro, there is also Rodrigo Imaz, who pointedly works with this animalesque glossary. But there is also the NETER group (neter.com.mx).

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Gonzalo: You mean Jimena Schlaepfer, Mariana Magdaleno, Orlando Díaz could be another example ‌ Octavio: All of these artists evidence an interest in exploring drawing from the configuration of the animal imaginary. But I think today this subject is starting to dilute. I would rather talk about the three tendencies I mentioned before.

Rodrigo Imaz

Jimena Schlaepfer

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Gonzalo: Trying to see things from another angle, I think there are two very negative situations in today’s artistic production in Mexico (and internationally too). 1Any occurrence is generally mistaken for content. 2- Documenting of processes is mistaken as a substitute for content. Many “conceptual” artists keep looking for different kinds of situations where they can meet with day-to-day life, and appropriate them in an easy and poorly developed way. They propose a kind of ready made of social situations, transport them to a visual sentence and pretend that this appropriation (as some kind of foolish situationism) generates content. And I’m not talking about generating content in an academic, abstract and formal way, but with a minimal notion of entirety and a sense of orientation. I also see an important number of artists working with processes, foolishly pretending that this aspect will transform into content. Process and content are two things that should run parallel to an artistic proposal, and one does not substitute the other. You were talking about the case of Erick Meyemberg, who in my point of view is the exception that confirms the rule. He works with many processes, and always has a reason for them. Erick has a notion of where his ideas come from and where he wants to take them. Not all artists understand this distinction. Many of them are capable and recur to this as a strategy to pretend other kinds of work, but the truth is they lack something essential in their formulation. I’m not sure if the problem originates from a scarcity in the studying programs of the Art Studies of if they really think art works that way. In my opinion there’s something wrong there.

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Erick Meyemberg/ Foto Dante Busquets

Octavio: I think what you propose, those “errors” of the contemporary practice, can have two readings. In a positive sense, in comparison to other generations of Mexican artists, there is a very important professionalizing degree today. I tell this from a very personal point of view, since in comparison to the generation of Temístocles or La Panadería (constituted by groups of artists with adaptation strategies copied from foreign artists, and that were making a kind of remake of what was being made outside), there are great differences. In the 90s the artists explored the possibilities of the contemporary art world that was not so well known back then. Finally the artists that emerged in that time, and that could belong or not to those groups, developed their works in a different historical context. I think that young 13


artists today posses a pretty interesting grade of professionalization; maybe not the correct one, but an acceptable one in comparison to other moments. But a great error comes out of that, which consists in pretending that all possibilities or explorations proposed by them should be considered real artistic statements. It has a lot to do with what you were saying, to not mistaking processes with contents and such. For example, Diego Teo, who has become a basic reference for artists working with communitarian processes, with issues related to political activism and its incidence in the social and public, has developed a very interesting work. As you know, he started working in the creation of objects. Remember his famous sculptures made with matches or bubblegum. I remember he concluded that objectual process with an exhibition in the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in 2008. After that, he started to recur in somewhat ephemeral strategies, such as doing reproductions of photocopies of archives and interchanges of subjects. He was very questioned at the time, but I think today we see the interesting results of his processes. From the beginning he has been pretty involved in his lines of investigation of social processes, which he has now retaken. His projects are very well-based regarding content, and his years of research can be seen, as well as a very solid capacity of conceptualization.

Gonzalo: Generally speaking I think you are right, but I’m not sure if young artists have become more professional or if they are only less naïve in comparison to earlier generations. I think the Temístocles generation, and that of many artists from the Mexican art in the 90s, just started to understand the possibilities of applying to scholarships overseas, Europe, Asia, or even the U.S. When I started working in the Museo Carrillo Gil, I saw how the artists who were 14


invited were preferably the most recognized ones, as Silvia Gruner, Thomas Glassford, etc. During those years –from 2000 to 2004-, new generations, especially youngsters recently graduated from the ENPEG, had already gone to two or three residences overseas. That is why I wouldn’t know if this implies them being more professional (since they evidently had a lot less experience that those I mentioned earlier). What you could notice was a great uneasiness, motivated from school, to applying to scholarships, producing catalogs, etc. Octavio: I believe they are less naive, but also more professional. I say this, for example, in the sense of their clarity in society; not necessarily with connotations of solidarity, politics or community compromise, but in knowing what their intervention is on that field. Of course youngsters have now a great display of possibilities between scholarships and interchanges, and are also absorbed very early by the galleries. When I say they have a higher level of professionalization I mean that there is now a much clearer and direct correlation with the work commitment. It may be adventurous to say this, but I believe the 2000-2005 generation is lost in a kind of black hole. Today I’m amazed with the works of a group of very young artists, who recently graduated from the ENPEG, such as Yollotl Alvarado, Rodrigo Frenk, Suricato Quitero or Lucía Milena Rochaminter. They not only work from aesthetical worries. They seek to insert themselves in the natural mechanisms of art, commercialization and exhibition, but at the same time with a clearer posture of where they want to go.

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Suricato Quintero

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Rodrigo Frenk


Gonzalo: Does each generation have unique references? Do you think each generation possesses a visual catalog, a series of references of its own? Or, do you think there is a kind of consecution between each generation? Maybe every generation takes something from the past, either to negate or to confirm it. Octavio: I find what you say very interesting. I believe everything is relative; I mean, every generation has of course an own glossary, but there is also a continuity either of breaking or following of past generations. I think following or negating their previous generations is correlational, but also to generate a new imaginary, visual and aesthetic index. For example, Omar Barquet’s generation –where you can insert Morris and other artists- stands out for following a kind of aesthetic exploration that, in Omar’s specific case, is reduced to an interest for the Brasilera school: the constructivism and return to form, an interest that finally is also present in his companion. Another case is that of the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Grabado (national school of painting, sculpture and engraving) “La Esmeralda” (ENPEG) artists I was telling you about: Yollotl, Jasael, Rodrigo Frenk, they are all immersed in a political statement and social irruptions. Gonzalo: From your perspective, what would be this generation’s references?

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Octavio: M贸nica Castillo and Diego Teo without a doubt, even if they belong to different generations. The fact that all these youngsters had professors like, on one hand, an important artist like M贸nica Castillo, and Diego Teo on the other, naturally leads to a link with the political. I also think that besides each generation having its own visual and aesthetical glossary, the context where it develops is important. All of these young artists were kids in 1994 when, for example, the EZLN (National Army of Zapatist Liberation) uprising started. They were very young when the Acteal and Aguas Blancas cases spread, or even Atenco. Those events marked them in a unique and special way.

Yollotl

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Gonzalo: Sure, for them, the ’68 student movement cannot be a reference, but maybe an echo of the past that reaches their ears thanks to members of previous generations. If you pay attention, there is nothing really new under the sun. They retake and revive that spirit today. I’m not sure if you can talk about the young artistic proposals involved with all of these political events being understood as a paraphrasing of the ’68 movement, or that of the late 70’s groups, but they have features that make us to think that those examples of the past are still a referent.

Lucía

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Octavio: This paraphrasing you talk about exists, for example, in the recent Arte por la Izquierda (art by the left) movement, with Yollotl Alvarado or Rodrigo Frenk. If you notice it, today’s social worries and the following kickstart of activism (which I dare to call social) emanate from the same demands of 1968. It is somewhat cruel to acknowledge this, since we have been fighting the same thing for 40 years: democracy, equal distribution of wealth, a society with a higher educational quality, etc. Then the paraphrasing not only occurs in the artists’ statements, in Arte por la Izquierda , or in the voice of those who go out to the streets, but in the very history of the country. It is very sad that some students from 1968 died in vain. I don’t know about you, but some years ago I naively believed I was living in a democracy, that we were marching on as society. But the reality is different. Gonzalo: Then the reference, if it’s valid to call it that way, is not the precursor of the support of students from the National School of Plastic Arts during 1968 and 1971, nor the artistic Groups of the late 70s; the reference for the artists that manifest today against the result of the federal elections is really their own sociopolitical context.

Octavio:

And it’s so much in that sense that, for example, artists that are not so evident in their artistic proposals related to political or social issues, have ended recurring today in the social and political. For example, the case of Pablo Rasgado, who retakes the “unfolded architectures”, as he names them, which result from street appropriations. There is also the case of Marcela Armas and her politically themed pieces and critiques, although they are not so evident for some. To conclude, from the three lines I proposed to you when we started talking, I believe they are all linked by their political and social context. 20


LARtv www.livingartroom.com/lartv

NEW VIDEOS

FABIOLA- FRANCŸS ALYS MUSEO APMARO PUEBLA, MEXICO

MINERVA CUEVAS MUSEO DE LA CIUDAD MEXICO, D.F

LORENA MAL BORDER MEXICO, D.F

PABELLON ECO EL ECO MEXICO, D.F

EMILIO RANGEL TERRENO BALDÍO MEXICO, D.F

ALEJANDRA ESPAÑA DISTRITO 14 MEXICO, D.F

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NEW ARTIST PORTFOLIOS Alejandra Alarcón (Bolivia) Lorena Mal (Mexico) Andrés Felipe Castaño (Colombia)

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Caperucita la mรกs Roja, 2007

Drawings HPF, 2011


Alejandra Alarc贸n

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Recycling Caperucita : A Wolf Dressed Lilith

by Ana Lilia Maciel Santoyo.

According to Nicolas Bourriaud we are living in a particular period and conspicuous cultural recycling. If the various contexts of our culture there are already circulating many images, sounds, myths and discourses whose function is exhausted. The contemporary artist in any latitude is in position to select, manipulate and reprogram any of them and

give them new meaning networks enabling some of them survive the extinction. It seems that the cultural recycling and most controversial stage is where cultures from long ago have been educated or domesticated by the imaginary of the old continent and have mixed and juxtaposed to own as is the case in Latin America. 25


icons mixed in various media productions and invite us to reconsider our platitudes about the fact that born female, playing with dolls, to assume the motherhood per se and cultural models for these roles despite all the historical feminisms.

The idea of semiosphere is useful to conceive this privileged space for recycling signs, there are circulating, float, grow, reproduce and eventually die all kinds of cultural objects, some are very contemporary, others instead , enjoy an old genealogy, like the old fairy tales. These old cultural objects have changed and became our collective imaginary, but they are not what they seem, and show situations that only make sense within a narrative verisimilitude. For example, let’s think Riding Hood’s wolf disguised as grandmother, or the perverse relationship between Snow White and her pretty stepmother were provided to various conjectures on the part of psychoanalysis and social psychology. However, these old cultural objects, as we saw with Bourriaud are still likely to be recycled for art,moreover, require reprogramming.

The interesting series of studies shown by Alejandra Alarcón confronts us not only a reworking of the tale and myth underlying the story, but tells its own version of the perverse and forbidden imaginary that already contains the germ of this narrative, stop being childish and naive to become ambiguous, seductive, playful and disturbing not least because it addresses issues that already belong to the archetypal subject of any person, whether man or woman: the girl, the virgin, mother ... and the witch. As the round playing girls in early twentieth century: beautiful girl, maiden, married, These considerations are relevant to widowed, woman in love and finally old. approach the artistic work of Alejandra Alarcón because it shows a particular The different sets explore from different recycling activity from a selection of cultural angles the possibility of meeting with the 26


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Amorte, 2009-2010 27


repressed desires of girls-women. The female image of the stories, emulated in everyday inadvertently, is inverted, distorted, mixed, juxtaposed and restored. The different media and techniques used by Alejandra (drawing, watercolor, photo, video, objects, surgery, etc.) allow us to explore her personal version of childhood and dolls, the relation between women and mirrors, the bizarre relationship motherdaughter.

to consider the complexity of the psyche and body, and is also the option to explore old and ancestral gender routes. Do not forget that art is terror tamed.

Once we ignore the repression and its consequences we can find watercolors and bloody steamy Riding Hood and Snow White playing the role of women Lilith or bright women-wolf pictures, also with humorous animations that invite reflection on the lived body and the body idealized. In all these pieces Alejandra organizes her artistic career as a critique of the persistence of these model-stories that culture is still proposing. By recycling allows images to emerge that make us face the need to recycle too traditional gender roles, not take them too seriously once you have to play. Alejandra’s proposal is not related to feminist ideology, but is more related to the assumption of a multiple game where the female is only one of the possible resonances, The proposal is 28


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El olor del Clan, 2008-2009

Amorte, 2009-2010 29


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Amorte, 2009-2010 31


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Cinderella Ending, 2011 33

El olor del Clan, 2008-2009

Series Windgaelle, 2011


El olor del Clan, 2008-2009

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Caperucita la mรกs Roja, 2007

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Cinderella Ending, 2011 36


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Cinderella Ending, 2011

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Sirena, 2012

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Cinderella Ending, 2011

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Sistema migratorio�, 2011


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De la serie “Mutantes aeromarinos”, 2011

Entrelíneas, 2011


LORENA MAL

www.livingartroom.com/lorena_mal

Nausea in the definition of “drawing” in the Voice Wave Mountain

that question what the observer includes in the word “drawing”. During this process she makes use of the pencil; the result is an endless number of graphite strokes on the wall, and with these two elements she begins the overflowing of the term “drawing”.

by Iván Abreu

The drawing reveals the structures of the things represented, it is a tool for knowledge and execution. These qualities render it necessary: its poetry is a consequence, as the appeal of the aerodynamic shapes of a plane whose geometry does not seek to produce affection but achieves it anyway. The drawing goes beyond discussions of avant-garde and trends, of the old and new; it is a relative of language and therefore one of our permanent tools to understand, communicate and act on things.

Why draw? Drawing in a broad sense shares the utility of language for its power of communication. The line is a vector that lets us understand the links between things, the direction of intention, twists and turns; it is one of the key elements of the visualization of information and knowledge. Voice Wave Mountain is a project that from the synthesis and visual similarity between a roller coaster and the abstract representation of an audio waveform, uses the voice to produce the drawing of a roller coaster, a process aided by the development of a program or software that analyzes the voices of the audience, turning them in triggers for the living form of the mountain.

Voice Wave Mountain, a project from artist Lorena Mal, rethinks drawing from many angles and several questions: why draw? How to do it? How to display it? The project answers audaciously and achieves answers 41


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The analysis, based on Fourier Series (1), reacts to trebly voices by producing sharp steeps, gentle slopes to the deepest voices, and raising these slopes by the intensity of the voice; it is an interactive run process (2), which has the time limits of gesture and the spatial limits of the screen. The only way to visualize the collectively built roller coaster of several meters length is to make a drawing summary after the audiences’ actions. This leads to another important part of the project: the commission by Border Cultural Center was an intervention on the walls, which conditions the project to the gallery’s architecture. Lorena responds to the scale in

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a non-random way, making the drawing of a roller coaster of about 30 meters long, a length that is accepted because of the wall’s size. The transition from screen to drawing becomes a necessity. How to do the drawing? Lorena’s project explores generative aesthetic processes based on the conversion of a numeric field into another. The range of the digital audio goes from -1 to 1, it’s a convention or standard. The screen’s numeric ranges depend on each user’s monitor screen, perhaps the most common being 1024 x 768 pixels. The software creates the graphic of a moun-

Voice Wave Montain, 2010-2011


tain in the X and Y axis of the monitor, reinterpreting the numbers that the frequency analysis of the audiences’ voices returns. This charting or numerical drawing process in real time is stored, keeping data of the time and shape of the resulting waveform. Lorena then uses a process similar to the program; guided by the stored and printed data, the artist makes the extensive drawing on the wall. It’s a process that is not based on visual observation, but in the lecture of data, like an almost blind dictation that is trusted, and the result is observed with surprise after reading the numbers. It’s what I call parametric drawing, to respect a numerical rule in the process of representation, resulting in a mixture of objectivity and subjectivity.

its measurement is important, and a pencil intervention on the wall. A multi-layered museography that pushes the limits of the way of understanding contemporary drawing.

How to exhibit it? Finally, all parts are articulated: process and result, the voices and the animation of the video-generated roller coaster, continuously printed data in a direct reference to a project where time and

1 The Fourier analysis is used in mathematics to analyze periodic functions, and to extract the frequencies that make up a quantified sound sample, which allows extracting and knowing the frequency ranges that occur in a sound. 2 Run Time: it refers to processes that occur in real time during the execution of software. 3 Processing is a programming language and environment of open source for the people who want to create images, animations and interactions. 44


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Voice Wave Montain, 2010-2011


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EntrelĂ­neas, 2011


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Princesas de oto単o, 2007


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EntrelĂ­neas (Herencia), 2011

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EntrelĂ­neas (Herencia), 2011

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Triste y vacĂ­a, 2011-2012


ANDRÉS FELIPE CASTAÑO

www.livingartroom.com/andresfelipe_castano

Andrés Felipe Castaño moved issues related to the visual, specifically in the graphic area, highlighting the relationships between academic models and artwork in general, working from the drawing to record the image phenomena, In 2007 he participates in 41 Salón Nacional de Artistas with world-class artists, this event is where Castaño moved the question on the relevance of drawing in other disciplines, this work relates the artistic process with illegal acts to be represented by drawings, photographs and documents the theft of a work of art located in a recognized museum in Bogota, Colombia; after developing different projects where the drawing was the main tool, in 2009 presented his the-

sis taking as a starting point reproductions of paintings recognized within the general culture, draws pictures with colored pencils on books of these images, recomposing these works of art by hand reproducing these color plates of the books themselves, returning the hand gesture to the mechanic process that characterizes such images. After inquiring about visual problems in 2009 formed the group Vicca Vs Andy, with the artist Marcela Varela, working around issues related to the various actors that conform the world of art, doing photography, drawing, painting and sculpture. He is currently based in Mexico City ahead of master studies in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 55


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Desvanecimiento del deseo, 2012 57


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Triste y vacĂ­a, 2011-2012

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En diferido, 2011-2012


CMYK, 2009-2011

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CMYK, 2009-2011


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En diferido, 2011-2012


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“THE AIM OF ART IS TO REPRESENT NOT THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE OF THINGS, BUT THEIR INWARD SIGNIFICANCE.” ~ARISTOTLE http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Art-Room/171667808941 68


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ARTIST PORTFOLIOS UPDATES Adriana Salazar (Colombia) Antonio Ibarra (Mexico) Rodrigo Imaz (Mexico) Alejandra España (Mexico) Sofía Echeverri (México) Jeanne Saade Palombo (Mexco) Jimena Rincón (Mexico)

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La vida de las cosas Muertas, 2012

adriana salazar www.livingartroom.com/adriana_salazar

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Bird, 2011


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Logs, 2011


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Logs, 2011


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100 Kroner, 2011

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antonio ibarra www.livingartroom.com/antonio_ibarra

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Condesa. Ciudad De MĂŠxico. 2011

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Condesa. Ciudad De MĂŠxico. 2011

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My Monsters 2010


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Serie Plantas, 2011


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Serie Profunda Superficie, 2011


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Serie Profunda Superficie, 2011


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Serie Doppelgangers, 2011


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Serie Doppelgangers 2011

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RODRIGO IMAZ www.livingartroom.com/rodrigo_imaz

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Haciendo Agua, 2012


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Serie Proyecto Invisible, 2012 98


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Serie Proyecto Invisible, 2012 105


Proyecto Sequoia, 2012 106


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Ciego, 2012 107


alejandra espa単a www.livingartroom.com/alejandra_espana

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Bichos II, 2005

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MuĂŠrdeme 2011


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Serie Bioetica y obscenidad, 2011


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Ceronte, 2012


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Colecciones inventadas, 2012

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Colecciones inventadas, 2012

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sofĂ­a echeverri www.livingartroom.com/sofia_echeverri

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Sensationart, 2012 GenealogĂ­a, 2011


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www.livingartroom.com/sofia_echeverri

Sensationart, 2012 125

GenealogĂ­a, 2011


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Sensationart, 2012

GenealogĂ­a, 2011 127


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www.livingartroom.com/sofia_echeverri

Sensationart, 2012

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JEANNE SAADE PALOMBO www.livingartroom.com/jeanne_saadepalombo

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HeroĂ­na, 2012 131


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www.livingartroom.com/jeanne_saadepalombo

Madrazo, 2010 133

Mi hermana, 2012


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Untitled, 2012


www.livingartroom.com/jeanne_saadepalombo

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Untitled, 2012


Feliz, 2011

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www.livingartroom.com/jeanne_saadepalombo

Untitled, 2012

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Autorretrato, 2012


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Serie Shame, 2012

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Serie Shame, 2012 142


www.livingartroom.com/jeanne_saadepalombo

Serie Shame, 2012 143


JIMENA RINCĂ“N www.livingartroom.com/jimena_rincon

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www.livingartroom.com/jimena_rincon

Untitled, 2012

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Learn to fly, 2011


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www.livingartroom.com/jimena_rincon

Untitled, and detail, 2012

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TelefĂŠrico,2012 150


www.livingartroom.com/jimena_rincon

Untitled, 2012 151


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153

Globo, 2011


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www.livingartroom.com/jimena_rincon

Paperplane 2012 155


Untitled, 2012 156


www.livingartroom.com/jimena_rincon

Untitled, 2012 157


“A MAN PAINTS WITH HIS BRAINS AND NOT WITH HIS HANDS. ~MICHELANGELO”

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Art-Room/171667808941 158


159


Hyperrealism &

Photorealism

In Colombia

some examples, it can be stated that

the references of hyperrealism and

photorealism have been constantly

present. Interest for both styles and

concepts has been present from generation

Although hyperrealism is known as an artistic to generation. It is also the case of artists movement that came out of the U.S. in the who are around 40 years old, who have an 1970s, it is also a reference that helps us explain important recognition and vast trajectories, a style, a graphical or pictorial representation such as Saúl Sánchez, Marco Mojica, Ricardo in different moments of history. The word León, Rodrigo Echeverri, among others. This

“hyperrealism” is associated with the visual reference has even arrived to a generation that result of the work of artists that use grids, lens is today between twenty and thirty years old, projections, etc., with the idea of representing which is acquiring force strongly by exposing reality with extreme detail. Another concept, these types of works everywhere, like Mateo

photorealism, refers to the process of accurately López, Esteban Peña, Gonzalo García (Sr. reproducing an image through a painting Conejo), Diego Piñeros, Alejandro Sánchez or drawing, but this time exclusively from a and Sebastián Camacho. photograph.

There is sometimes talk in art about passing

In Colombia, since the 1970s with Darío trends followed by many unoriginal artists, but Morales, Saturnino Ramírez, Santiago and if we talk about tendencies for a change, it is

Juan Cárdenas, and towards the end of the undeniable that through them we can perceive decade with Óscar Muñoz, just to mention and analyze symptoms of what is really 160


Questions: 1Roughly, what are the techniques and themes happening and interesting about an art scene. Because of this, LARmagazine sent a group of

questions to some of the artists named earlier

to try to understand the reason for this new photorealism wave, if we can call it that way. Is

it an eagerness to copy reality, which even if real, doesn’t leave a chance to doubt, especially in a

country where reality is usually stranger than

fiction? Or could it be an issue related to the

academy and schools of art that are traditionally focused on transmitting knowledge, giving priority to the purist technique?

Before pretending to answer these questions

we limit ourselves to present the answers given

to us by some of the artists. It’s them, the

protagonists of this breathing movement in consolidation process, who shared with us their points of view on this issue for our readers to

draw their own conclusions. What do this

group of artists do, who are they and where are they interests headed?

used in your work?

2 The editors of this magazine find aspects re-

lated to hyperrealism and photo realism in your work. Do you agree with this affirmation? If so, explain why.

3 What are your artistic references from any moment of Universal Art History?

4 Has any Colombian artist influenced you? In your opinion, what are the most important Colombian hyperrealist and photorealist artists?

5 Do you consider that Colombian art has featured an important number of hyperrealist and photorealist artists? What do you think may have been the reason for this phenomenon?

6 Do you consider there’s an important move-

ment from the young photo realist artists in the latter years in Colombia?

161


162

Platz, 2011,


Saúl Sánchez (Bogotá, 1977) Estudió en la Academia Superior de Artes de Bogotá www.livingartroom.com/saul_sanchez

2.

1.

I’m interested in the use of traditional

media like photographic images to then copy them in paintings and use them in

a different context; it approaches to aspects of

Oil and acrylic over canvas, water- photorealism, but mixed con elements from ilcolour over paper, installations with lustration and abstraction.

3.

lightboxes and LED systems, objects built with different materials such as

carton, fiberglass, metal and wood. In

recent projects I’ve become interested in vid-

Ingres, Velázquez, El Bosco, Sar-

gent, Mondrian, Barnett Newman,

Shery Levine, Rosenquist, Magritte,

eoprojection and mapping. As for themes, my Mark Wallinger, Hocney, Richter, Ruscha, Lauwork has focused in the study of the fitting of rence Weiner, Nelson Leiner, John Baldesari. spaces, conceptually and formally. From proj-

ects developed using the pictorial practice and

its expansive possibilities, I reflect upon learn-

ing schemes and universes inhabited by power and its meanings. Also I’ve become interested in

the way painting can act as a constantly moving

medium, inquiring about its objectuality and its relationship with space.

4.

My

influences

can

be

Beatriz

González, Bernardo Salcedo, Danilo Dueñas, Franklin Aguirre, Nadin

Ospina. The important hyperrealist and pho-

torealist artists are Santiago Cárdenas, Beltrán Obregón, Esteban Villa and Marco Mojica.

163


5.

6.

I don’t think there are too many. There

may be a much larger number of artists that use different forms of production.

Even though today some Young artists use photographic image as a starting

point for developing their paintings,

I don’t think there is a hyperrealist movement

breeding. I believe interest for these kinds of

production is cyclical and a larger interest for il-

lusionist painting does not necessarily indicate an art movement.

164

Embotellamientos, 2004


Astilla en el ojo, 2009

Rodrigo Echeverri (Bogotรก, 1975) Studied at Universidad Nacional de Colombia www.rodrigoecheverri.com 165


1.

My work in painting has developed,

If I could tag the way I assume pictorial im-

in a first stage, with acrylic and oil

age, I would have to call my work something like

worked with wood as a primary source, which

virtual space of a computer and a software that

over MDF. In the last three years I’ve

“hypervirtualism”, since it has its origins in the

I independently paint with ink. After that the

molds volumes in 3D. In that sense I’m interest-

parts are independently assemble.

ed in how videogames, virtual reality and movies

The themes I’ve tackled in my proposal have

and animations –like those produced by Pixar-

circled around the Colombian internal conflict,

have modified the perception of the physical

but with my latest series, Splinter in the eye, I became interested in detaching the local issues

moments.

3.

from my work, going into a global terrain where concepts such as destruction, chaos and chance have become evident in my compositions.

2.

world, like movies and photography did in their Maybe the movement that has more

strongly marked my work is mini-

malism, specifically in the works of

Donald Judd and Walter de Maria. On the I don’t see that my work has a direct relationship with hyper-

realism, since I consider that this movement, in its origins, was an answer from painters to photogra-

phy, since it was gaining terrain and legitimacy as an independent art form. In this sense, hyper-

realism has a series of visual codes tied to the way

photography modified forever the way we see the world.

conceptual side, I’m interested in the works of artists like Miguel Ángel Rojas, José Alejandro

Restrepo, María Elvira Escallón or Doris Salcedo. But there are many artists that, even if they

don’t directly influence my work, are a reference, and the list would go on and on. There is also a universe of artists less than 40 years old in the

country that are strengthening to plastic art, both national and internationally. It is, in many

ways, an exceptional moment for art in Colombia.

166


4.

In hyperrealism I can mention many artists that are actually retakink it as a very contemporary technique. They are: Alex Rodríguez, William Bahos, Saúl Sánchez, Manuel Calderón, Diego Piñeros, Lía García, etc. In the 1970s there was a very strong movement in the country, where I Could highlight Óscar Muñoz, Miguel Ángel Rojas and Ever Astudillo.

5.

6.

As I said in a previous answer, there is

today a group of artists that have used photorealism, but it is not limited to

the virtuosity of the medium, but to the content of the images and its relationship with matter

that transcend the surface of the painting or drawing, subverting many times the image it-

self and not simply duplicating a photographic image.

Though

there

have been

an impor-

tant number of artists

influenced by this move-

ment, I believe one of the

great treasures of Colombian art

is its heterogeneous nature, very

marked in recent years. Fortunately, different techniques and

themes can coexist without one excluding the other. In the same Art Hall is common to see

video next to painting or drawing. The valuation is not just given by technique, but by the rightfulness of the proposal made by the artist.

167

Astilla en el ojo, 2009


168

Party hard, 2008- 2009


Gonzalo García (Bogotá, 1981) Studied at Universidad de los Andes, www.flickr.com/photos/findingalice

1.

EI use different techniques in my artis- way that this medium works; it gives me time to

tic production, but there is a relationship think, read, play billiards or dedicate myself to with Photography that permeates all the other activities while I wait for the paintings to

stages of my production, be it a register, dry. Other times I use techniques like perforfinal piece or visual reference. The picto- mance or drawing.

rial technique I employ the most is watercolor

because of its limitations, its apparent scarcity I’ve always been fascinated to know why things and the enormous frustration it generates (es- have to be like they are and not a different way

pecially to achieve “photorealist” results). I find or, to say it differently, the concept of identity a certain charm in this adversity, the medium’s and its paradoxes; this has caused the nature of chance of cross-dress itself and pass for some- my work to be self-referential and to develop

thing completely foreign, like photography in in a more immediate and from personal experi-

this case. I use this technique because it allows ences. This made me get into the relationships me to reflect on a principle about the philo- between things or agents of diverse order, and

sophical conception of time and the perception to think in the way technology meets with the we have of it (the fiction of temporality); about daily life and operates from there. It’s interest-

the images represented and the time we use in ing how this transcends to other spheres where consuming them. I believe the images I choose technology operates as a hidden curtain, for ex-

to represent would not have the same impact in ample, the social networks, nightlife or politics. another pictorial medium like oil or acrylic. It is More recently, my work has explored sexuality also a personal choice, since I find gratifying the and techonology. 169


2.

I would say that, in the formal and tech- always loved Duchamp’s quote “it’s better to live nical aspect, my work can be associated life than to paint it”. with hyperrealism or photorealism. This

formulation is not that simple when seen from the technical aspect. I think those who do hyperrealism can be questioned about that which

4.

I think I would place Óscar Muñoz first. It’s interesting how he started

with hyperrealism and progressively

we deem “real”. Personally I am more interested moved to other techniques as photography and in hyperrealism from the philosophical point video, which generate from the formal search of view, where you can separate “reality” from of his first works. I believe the conceptual dep“fantasy”, especially in post modern societies as uration he reaches could only happen through

ours, where technology invades and builds those a great technical discipline. It is a shame that notions of reality. Jean Baudrillard defines hy- Colombia does not have hyperrealist sculptors, perrealism as “that which is more real than real” but I would consider the piece Pedro Manrique and I ask myself: what can be more real than Figueroa from artist Lucas Ospina as a hyperreal? I consider that technology has a lot to do real work, even if it is a mockumentary. with this definition. We want to be consumed by our fictions, live in ecstasy, in the 3D screens and high definition perpetually.

3.

There are so many… Vermeer, So-

5.

Colombian reality is pretty dense, and every person has a partial look of it. Hyperrealism thickens that

phie Calle, Chuck Close, Antonio density. To be more specific, Colombian hyLópez García, Cai Guo-Qiang or perrealism has been the reaction of a group or

Eduardo Kac, to name a few. Vid- generation of artists trying to counter a ruleogames and movies have been greatly influen- ing movement or tendency, and that extends

tial too. I could say that studying the life and to other representative styles in different mowork of Warhol-Duchamp-Beuys have greatly ments. In that order of ideas I wonder: what’s influenced my work and personal processes. I’ve the difference between a hyperrealist and a 170


copyist? I would think that, in the beginning, ists that work with hyperrealism do it because of the hyperrealist’s reflections went around the the impossibility of the image to become some-

photographic as a document and objective reg- thing real, or for a kind of discomfort against

ister of the “real”, and largely the interest was the ways of representation that we are used to. merely formal. That has changed with time Roland Barthes said that “image is the death and with education in academies of art, where of experience”; hyperrealism is an elegy of that conceptualism and new tendencies give less experience. space to the formal as a valid practice itself. The

interesting is to think why after that forma-

tion which diminishes the formal, there is an interest for hyperrealism in young Colombian

artists. I believe this is due to a tradition of artists like Santiago Cárdenas, who was a master

of a great generation of artists that keeps being

an important reference in Colombian art today.

6.

I relieve it is. I don’t want to venture and confirm anything, but it is not

usual that artists born in the 1980s

and forward grew with videogames and per-

sonal Computers. As time goes by, resolution of graphics has evolved and videogames get closer to a more “hyperreal” experience. That without

mentioning that the involvement of the internet has completely changed the way we socialize and perceive reality. I wonder if many of the art-

171

dick device., 2011


William Bahos (Cauca, 1980) Studied at Universidad del Cauca

172

Lengua,2011


1.

My work is mainly painting, oil over canvas. When my interests not quite fit this

technique I try to fix it through others, as

5.

drawing and photography, which I’ve resorted

labor.

6.

to. For now, the themes of my work tackle the materiality of the body and the violence prac-

ticed upon it, as well as aspects related to the artist’s labour or trade.

2.

Some artists have had some approaches

to hyperrealism, but I don’t know many

that have dedicated exclusively to this Lately I’ve seen an approach to hyperrealism by a lot of young artists whose interests are not limited to reprodu-

cing photographic images through traditional

I think so, since my work always be- techniques: they also seek different alternatives gins with the photographic reference and images loaded with content and concept, and a technical approach to it. It also unlike the hyperrealism from the 80s. has a lot to do with abstraction; some

of the images I work with are not easily recogni-

zable because they are not forms, but chromatic compositions, organic passages or color stains that float in the canvas.

3.

Artists like Andrés Serrano, Chuck Close, Francis Bacon, Jenny Saville and Adriana Varejao, among others.

4.

Of course, artists that in one way or

another have influenced my work are Óscar Muñoz, Santiago Cárdenas and Delcy Morelos.

173

Lengua (detalle),2011


A Kind of Magic, 2012

Diego PiĂąeros (BogotĂĄ, 1981) Studied at Universidad de los Andes www.flickr.com/photos/dificilponerlenombre 174


1. of man.

2.

Video, pointillism, clay and insta- bor; it’s like some kind of pre-penitence action, llation. Themes I’m interested are a preliminary process, a large courtship or the failure, deception as a way of awe, sacrifice of saving money for something. pessimism and error as a unique act

In the words of Gabriel Orozco, “reality

does not require other realities to point

3.

Werner Herzog, Gabriel Oroz-

co, Francis Alÿs, John Baldessari. Los impresionistas, Andrew Grassie, Spike Jonze, Jan Vermer, Henry

it”. I’m not interested in making new statements Cartier-Bresson, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sam Hasor finding new things; I just take what is already kins, Jurgen Teller, Martin Schoeller, The Bang there and reorganize it. My work has a lot of Bang club, Cai Guo Qiang, Ai Weiwei, Claire contemplative in it and I use video or paintings Morgan, Maurizio Cattelan, Do Ho Suh, Mi-

to signal it. I once heard Jaime Cerón say “art is guel Calderón, Leandro Elrich, Luis Camnitzer, more art when it least seems so”, that’s why I try Vick Muñiz y Alfredo Jaar. to move away from reality the least I can. I think

my work includes aspects hyperrealism but does not stay there; I use it as a discursive resource

depending on the project. In the case of video, I use almost no filters, speed changes or image

intervention. I try to be as efficient as possible

when capturing to try to obtain the images I want. Clay appears intermittingly in my work. I also use text, cartoon, comic, etc.

My work does have aspects related to hype-

rrealism or photorealism. I am very conceptually

attracted to this true reproduction of the image from a meticulous, patient and detailed la-

175

A Kind of Magic (detalle), 2012


4.

I have a great influence from Colombia mics. A clear example could be the acceptance, on both artistic and human levels from representation and influence that Fernando BoDanilo Dueñas, Mario Opazo and De- tero holds in the collective imaginary, nationally

nise Buraye. I’ve followed closely the painters and internationally, where the politically correct from the Sabana José Antonio Suárez. Right is the only thing accepted. now I feel a closeness and admiration for the

works of Paulo Licona, Kevin Mancera, Carlos On a personal level, I believe buying power and Castro, Leyla Cárdenas, Carlos Bonil, Andrés technical and logistic capacity (the absence of Felipe Uribe, Ramón Laserna, Mateo López, workshops or big places for producing, econoMiler Lagos and Alejandra Rincón.

mical support to processes and artists, the cost

Plus, there are some others that I feel have a of materials, the lack of spaces that support and

high technical level, like Nathalia Azuero, Ca- take care of artistic processes beyond painting

rolina Rojas, Andrés Felipe Castaño-Abdelnur, and drawing) have reduced the mobility margin, Jaime Gamboa, Sebastián Camacho, Gonzalo leaving drawing and painting as the predomiGarcía, Luisa Roa, Lía García, César Del Valle nant activities in the artistic medium. New te-

and Nicolás París. I constantly use their work as chnologies, urban intervention, grand and pufeedback for mine.

5.

The early arrival of daguerrotipe to Colombia by Baron Jean Baptiste Louis

Gros midway through the 19th century

created the possibility of a great familiarity with

Photography, which had a definitive influence

in the Art scene. Colombia has always been a predominantly conservative country, where the academy and institutions have been decisive for

the creation of structures, audiences and dyna-

blic sculpturing are quickly discarded. If there

were more jobs, more money for culture, more

awards and encouragement, buying power, more

and better exhibition and production spaces, and not only with commercial objectives, may-

be the situation would be different. I am clearly speculating, but it is odd that in the end, final pieces adapt their dimensions to the size of the apartment’s or small workshop’s doors. 176


6.

It can be said that in Colombia there’s a

considerable tendency where technical virtuosity is overwhelming. Right now I

could number a great amount of artists, from 25 to 35 years old, who have appealed to the figu-

rative, hyperrealism or photorealism, as a central

axis for their artistic work. Plus, I don’t think this tendency will change much, since there are

more and more artists with the same processes, limitations and circumstances than years ago.

177

A Kind of Magic, 2012


Esteban Peña (Bogotá, 1979)

Croma álbum familiar, 2009-2010

Studied at Unviersidad de Los Andes and Central Saint Martins esteban-pena.com 178


1.

3.

The methods I use to produce work are

developed specifically for each series or project. The way pieces are created is not

always through the same technical process or

My artistic grandfathers have va-

ried throughout my life. I started to

understand art with Andy Warhol, and am very interested with Ger-

materiality; each project has its own way of hard Richter lately. The retrospective they did at being resolved (not everything can be said in the the Tate was magnificent, and seeing the diffesame way). One of the basic concepts throug- rent series and project at once helps us deeply

hout my production is reproducibility, how understand the worries and interests of the ar-

images are appropriated and re-elaborated in tist. Of that German trend I also like Sigmar

different contexts: I’m interested in how we see Polke and Thomas Ruff, who is way younger. contemporarily.

2.

Of the Latin Americans I dig Vik Muniz (I don’t know if it is because I feel there’s a closer

I’m interested in photographic image, language and way of working that I easily realways have been fascinated by it. The cognize) from some years back. He was a direct

appropriation of existing images is a reference, although he is no longer, since the dicommon practice in contemporary art, either fferent projects and interests make one to look from mainstream or the periphery. I particularly different ways. feel that to re-contextualize existing images is an ecological act, since with this absurd bom-

bardment of images we have in cities, the act of recycling and reinserting them in different contexts may be seen as an antiradical act of creati-

vity, since it does not generate a completely new image. It is a reaction to the oversaturation of images we are subjected to.

4. 5.

179

Oscar Muñoz is probably the artist who, in a crucial moment for my own development as artist, had a positive influence.

Photography has always been a useful resource in arts, more so now that digitalization of images


has facilitated its access. I think the actual movement of this young group of artists is the most interesting moment Colombia has had towards photorealism.

6.

I think that nowadays in Colombia there is a new generation of artists interested in media painting or media drawing (I stole this term from a class dictated by Fernando Uhia). There are some young artists who stand out from the group such as Gonzalo GarcĂ­a, Manuel CalderĂłn or CĂŠsar Del Valle. Most interesting from these artists is that their proposals surpass virtuosity (which they surely have) and articulate a sensible discourse; they do not stay in photorealism as a technique only, but present serious aesthetical proposals. I like the term photorealism; the whole hyperrealism stuff was a North American marketing creation that is not quite precise.

180


Alejandro SĂĄnchez Suarez (Bogota, 1981)

Studied at Universidad Distrital facultad de artes ASAB www.wix.com/sanchezsuarez/alejandro

1.

2.

Speaking of materials, I

use oil and acrylics. I don’t know much about techni-

Hyperrealism was an artistic move-

ment that developed in the United

States in the 1970s as a ramification of

ques, they have never wo- pop art. The majority of hyperrealist artists were

rried me. My approach to painting interested in showing the cold, superficial North has been 100% empirical. In colle- American society through rigid and methodical

ge I never had a workshop where I paintings. I do not consider my work to be hystudied a specific pictorial skill, but perrealism; I like to play with the multiple in-

I did have some that were based on terpretations an image can have. In many cases, image creation. Regarding thematic, I do photomontages from images created using right now I’m doing an investigation digital media, which allow me to open my ideas

on the incursion of multinationals to a wide range of possibilities in a practical way, in Latin America, Colombia speci- to then transmit them into the cloth. I generate fically, and about the socio-cultural images from a reality, not only because of the deployment that this causes.

illusory character of realist paintings, but becau-

se I generate objects and events that have not occurred but may do so at any time.

Some economies, 2010

181


3.

I have a lot of artistic references, I could not say if some are more relevant than others. Given the similarity in the way that they assimilate paintings, I could say Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Daniel Buren; all the Russian Socialists and Shi Xinning could be some of the ones I’m interested right now.

5.

I don´t think there are relevant hyperrealist artists in Colombia. I think there are some artists that use realism and simulation as a tool to research upon their discourses, artists like Marco Mojica, Rodrigo Echeverri, Esteban Peña, among others, but I don´t think they see their work as hyperrealism. I consider that the trend to use tools such as realism, simulation and illusion is related to us being a society which reThe faculty offers the possibility of places reality with images, so if those images interacting with people that have get us closer to a direct reality we feel them a common interest, art, and to see familiar, and they make us feel comfortable. how others develop their interests I don’t know. I would like to think plastically. This becomes an important tool not. It would be a step backwards to generate your own methods. I saw pieces for Colombian art. I know there are in the ASAB that surprised me, like those artists like those we mentioned that of Andrés Bustamante, Annibal Gomezcasseres, Carlos Mario Giraldo, Saúl Sánchez, use realism as a methodological tool to proOscar Nossa, Cristian Prieto, pieces that duce work. upon close study took me to work and investigation. I feel those approaches are the closest there is to an influence. Hyperrealist painters in Colombia? Yes, sadly for them, yes, but I don´t have their references.

4.

6.

182


Action painting, 2009-2010

Sebastian Camacho (Bogotรก, 1982) Studied at Universidad de los Andes www.flickr.com/photos/sebastiancamacho

183


1.

I don’t think i have a subject. I seek

Photographic image to me is a model prone to

images that move me, that are unders-

be deconstructed, and in its reconfiguration pain-

don’t need to be accompanied or disarmed with

del that originated it. We all start from a model,

tandable but without great tales, that

ting gains autonomy in relationship to the mo-

words; that as carriers of meaning leave a suffi-

interior or exterior, conscious or unconscious, to

cient space to ask themselves what is it we are

create images. In my case, the model is usually a

seeing. I seek in them a kind of coexistence bet-

photograph, taken or found, that gives me a con-

ween what we know of the world, how it is pre-

tention and experimentation frame for creating

sented to us and how we represent it.

my pieces.

I am a painter, and from that platform I try

3.

to generate some tension in this relationship, or simply to evidence it. From this condition I

use the technique I find more useful for it: oil,

would be my starting eleven:

Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Manet, Ce-

zanne, Francis Bacon, Marcel Duchamp, Am-

watercolors and graphite are the most recurrent

selm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Ilya Kabakov,

of my choices.

2.

If I had to make a selection, these

Antonio López and Óscar Muñoz. I agree in the sense that hype-

rrealism or photorealism are words that allow for an approach to the kind of painting I do. Even

so, we have to keep in mind that

they are words that, besides, are historically tied to intentions that my work does not necessarily

has. To try to faithfully copy something no matter what it is (an object or a photograph), is not a foundational worry of my work.

4.

I think there is a generation of artists that strongly formed or influenced much of my generation. I’m talking about the generation of artists that include Óscar Muños, José Alejandro Restrepo, Miguel Ángel Rojas and Doris Salcedo, among others; artists that cannot be defined from the techniques or mediums

184


they use, because they use and transform the tools offered by art according to the tales they have of the world. They are not painters, sculptors or photographers; they are artists that use painting, sculpture, photography or any medium according to what they want to tell. Plus, they forced us to think and reinvent the more immediate themes we have in Colombia: war, violence, injustice, oblivion... Real problems for us as Colombians, but also clichés for us as Colombian artists. This generation of artists for me would be the true hyperrealists, in the most literal sense of the word.

5.

I don’t think it is particular of Colombian art. I don’t know if in its

history is an exclusive area of artists dedicated to hyperrealis, Even so, I

can find in recent history Darío Morales and the brothers Santiago and Juan Cárdenas as the

artists in charge of this distinction, although I

wouldn’t know who else can accompany them as bearers of this way of doing paintings in Colombia.

6.

Yes, at least there are some evidences of it in Bogotá. In the Bidimensional Hall of the 2011 Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation, one of the particularities found by the jurors was the great amount of proposals where the relationship painting-photography was evident. It is a hall directed and composed majorly by young artists, so from this small frame we can see that there is a significative number of artists with this worry. I think of the internet, the way that images circulate today and how we appropriate, use and discard them. Reality is constructed in the immediacy of the network; all the happenings are narrated with the immediacy of photographic image that testifies about what is happening. The references of contemporary artists now not only dwell in museums or libraries; they dwell in the web, and all that circulates in it is a reference. This directly influences the way we create images. I thing the act of “painting photography” (to paint slowly) for many of us answers the need of slowing down the world, a way of resistance against the short and ephemeral life of things.

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Pag 11 2010

Andrés F. Castaño (Bogota, 1986) Studied at Academia Superior de las Artes de Bogotá www.livingartroom.com/andresfelipe_castaño 186


1.

I use cheap materials, the ones you can Another artist is Richard Prince, who situates

get at any stationery shop like Prisma- the image as an object to be intervened and decolor pencils, Mirado # 2, notebook contextualized through photography. Along-

sheets. My themes include the proble- side Gerhard Richter, he works the image as a

matic linked to how we appropriate historical ready-made. knowledge from different media, and how this aspect contributes to the reality crisis. This frac-

ture of the symbolic representation of reality positions us in a place where meanings vary, which

4.

It is important to mention a group of

artists that have focused their work

on photorealism for a period of years;

leads to the use of drawings as a bridge between I’m talking about artists like Ricardo León, the images that surround me and my learned Gonzalo García, Sebastián Camacho, Alejan-

dro Sánchez, Saúl Sánchez or William Bahos.

imaginary.

2.

A part of my work is related to photography, to representation, but

I consider that the process of cons-

tructing an image allows for the

final result to be related to abstraction, as long

as the image is distorted to create that distance from the reference I begin with.

3.

Andy Warhol is one of them, specifically his disasters series. I’m interested in how you can erase a traumatic

event through repetition. Also, Warhol’s process

Also, the work of Gonzalo Díaz has been im-

portant in my process. I’m interested in how

he appropriates images and intervenes them depending on the context. It is weird to quote

the work of a person who does not consider

himself as an artist. Gonzalo Díaz works as a letterer in Colombia; he used to be the man in charge of the posters in Cine Colombia befo-

re large format printing came around. Through his compositions, he has given more life to certain important movies.

of building images fuses manual and automatic

mechanisms, a quite interesting aspect to me. 187


5.

Since the arrival of artists like San-

tiago Cárdenas or Darío Morales, hyperrealism has been present in

Colombia’s artistic manifestations.

But this presence has also been limited to a couple of painters and drawers that do not

have the same transcendence as said artists. Otherwise, figurative representation has been a constant since the days of Colonialism as a need to signal the country’s historic processes.

6.

Many artists work with hyperrea-

lism, but seldom the diverse themes

in their respective works does not

allow for a concrete group to be born. Also, the great amounts of artists that form Colombia’s

current artistic landscape generate a pale visi-

bility for this painters and drawers that work with hyperrealism. A recurrent problem for ar-

tists who do photorealism is to fall in the superficiality of the image, to focus in the precise technique. Maybe this aspect has driven these manifestations to become blurry in different artistic spaces and events in the country.

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“GREAT ART PICKS UP WHERE NATURE ENDS.”

~MARC CHAGALL http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Art-Room/171667808941 189


RECOMMENDED carlos castro at the exhibition

NUESTRO SITIO: Artistas de América del Sur

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Niteroi Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Until June 25th, 2012 190


MUSEO DE ARTES VISUALES DE SANTIAGO DE CHILE MAVI From October 11th, until December 9th, 2012 191


192


Cosecha, 2011 193


General view 194


Parti di Mali, 2011 Legi贸n , 2011 195


Será mañana, 2012

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Cumplir con decir, 2011

Sara Eliassen, 2012

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SPECIAL GUEST

FUNDACIÓN PAISAJE SOCIAL Miho Hagino, june 2012

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The event of mass transportation and its concentration in the city, even though it designates spaces where each person lives with millions of other individuals, they find each other without seeing themselves, make interchanges without interacting, find themselves without confronting each other. Marc Guillaume

(GILLAUME, Marc. Figures de L’Altérité. 1992. L’ Association Descartes, page 8. Translated to Japanese)

Paisaje Social Foundation A.C. started its activities with a group of artists, architects, managers and activists with a common interest: society. In June 2009 they established themselves with the objective of “creating a required environment for society, reinforcing interpersonal relationships through the power of art”. After three years, we have been able to understand the needs and limitations that exist in society. With the gathered experience until now, we will describe the process of the foundation towards the future.

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ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PAISAJE SOCIAL FOUNDATION A.C.

Speed of social life in Urban Zones From the perspective of our modern history, the human being is still not developing himself, but it’s the environment that is changing drastically. Additionally, we cannot deny that there is a distortion happening in their lives when adapting. Technologies invented to produce surplus gradually take more speed, which is the main objective of the capitalist world. This has changed society; its mentality is that work is before anything else, and has weakened human relationships.

where human relations were redefined by money. Direct human relationships became monetary; that is, an activity that needed to be carried out was born to solve the economical problems, which consumed a lot of time from people who were interested in improving society.

Originally, vital needs were covered or financed by a trust relationship between family and close friends. From the moment that economy became the center of society, a radical change happened

You have to invest a lot of time in acquiring materials, workforce and material expenses, and carry out the social activity with the little resulting time.

Current model:

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Spaces for creativity

Paisaje Social Foundation model: To cover the economical expenses from social activities and to avoid spending in materials, reusing those that are not being used in society. In this case, the investment of working time is reduced to keep day-to-day quality of life, avoiding spending in materials. “Anyway, workers by themselves are not capable of calculating the contrast of the economical worth of their labors, which is why they need to cover this worth with a different medium.” (Karl Marx) Inside our activities, instead of buying what we don’t have we can recycle what already exists. When artists cannot receive a sufficient economical remuneration we compensate them with different values, as the experience and future-benefit promotion for a more efficient use of time.

Creativity is an inherent ability in everyone; nonetheless, the environment of day-to-day life and some economic reasons have made it very difficult to explore it. Besides, even those who had the opportunity to study art, if they are not capable to ride the money-generating flow, will have sporadic chances to show their creative capacity. There is an unnecessary effort used to contain creativity, through which the individual becomes vulnerable of generating violence against social stress. There are studies that alert about this situation. The JARDINCITO workshop is a space of creation for everyone. The result of the workshop can bring a sense of satisfaction to everyone involved (artists and receptors). Also, the accumulation of results gradually generates a spatial change, starting with the personal space and transferring it to the public one. The objective is for this change not having to be made directly by the artists’ hands, but trying to make it more lasting through changing the people’s will, so the community can realize it. 201


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Situation of the artists PWith the growth of the middle class came a great number of artists belonging to it, who find it difficult to get long term economical benefits because of their social status. This social change remarked the idea that artists gradually serve society, or a tendency to think that, because of them being involved in non-profit activities, the artist’s services should also be free. Artists can gladly serve their community when interested in an activity. What is unknowingly passed is that they too need constant, remunerated activities to survive. Artists have a sensibility that “specialists” may lack, as well as a capacity of communication between different social sectors; creativity, the power of creation, which are more than capable of solving different problems and can generate economical resources when developed in the commercial field. It was then decided to constitute an institution that could back up the artists’ social activities where it was analyzed, practiced and tried to improve society’s necessary subjects along with the needs between it and the artists. This is Paisaje Social Foundation A.C.

At the beginning of our activities we experiment the problems that artists face as members of society: for their inspiration or “utopian” view they lack foundation in reality. They are vulnerable to boredom for not submitting themselves to a responsibility, the lack of (or bad) managing, since they are more interested in other activities than economy. Another special aspect of Mexican society is that there is too much importance given to someone for the sole fact of being “an artist”. Like a synergy, they are led to emancipate themselves from society, which bears a great problem: the artists develop a gigantic ego without any social responsibility.

The problem of communication in alienated persons We noticed that in the communication of alienated people, a common element is always needed. More than language, and to not depend of it or of relationships or interests, and to not be subordinated to the project’s scale, using art as a common way of to establish communication was natural. That is how the JARDINCITO workshop was created. To close the generational breach, to 203


improve motive and psychic problems of those who have it and to overcome the loneliness of the participants are part of the main goals of the artists working in the workshop. The next step would be to widen the trust and communication relations between the same participants.

Confidence in the public space Originally, Paisaje Social Foundation A.C. had a main interest in public spaces’ improvement activities. These spaces work when people get together to recreate themselves in them. The space’s functions depend of the persons that live in them, their economical, environmental and cultural needs. A mutual trust and constant communication is needed with the involved people in order to renovate the space, be it public or private. Through persistent activities like JARDINCITO workshop the needs are covered, structuring the relationships of everyone involved.

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OBJECTIVES Our activities are not different from the expression activities of other artists, the only difference being that their protagonists are not used to going to museums or galleries. A mutual functioning is expected between the subjects of the activity. This relationship is not a replacement, but an interchange.

To create a network, reuniting people who lost looking-forward relationships with others in their day-to-day activities. For that, to carry out activities that do not depend on the artist himself, but on experimentation with various people, as a joint of volunteers, and on common development. Roles are divided between members of the foundation and activities are registered for their visualization and transmission to the public, to share the experience and for it to be a reference to others interested.

In Paisaje Social Foundation A.C., our objective is to introduce art as a profession that society goes to, trespassing differences of class and economical situations. The artist’s ideas have no limits: they can create the maximum from the minimal. Being art a day-to-day profession, it will be possible to generate a future benefit for our society. Our objective is to complete this cycle. 205


ACTIVITIES OF PAISAJE SOCIAL FOUNDATION A.C.

Jardincito Workshop

RE-ARTE

This activity creates communication between people from different generations and upbringings, relationships that go beyond economical and cultural situations. The workshop’s materials are obtained from recycling, from remains of other artist’s projects or from objects found in people’s houses, which are collected through the RE-ARTE project. Nowadays, activities of research and evaluation have been created in collaboration with UNAM, to determine the workshop’s rules for the future.

An activity designated to collect non-used or remaining materials for JARDINCITO.

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Miho and Chucho’s Hour

(Radio Raices SEDERECSecretaria de Desarrollo Rural y Equidad para las comunidades)

It is a show for dedicated to spreading the foundation’s activities; an intercultural journey that emits different thoughts about our society.


Rounding through the Friendship Route In order to relocate the Friendship Route, built in 1968, a cycle way is proposed over PerifĂŠrico Avenue, linking certain public spaces.

Love for Japan It’s an activity to support Japanese orphans who lost their parents in the Tohoku Tsunami with the selling of art pieces donated voluntarily by artists.

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SPECIAL FEATURES OF PAISAJE SOCIAL FOUNDATION A.C. In Mexico, as seen in the history of Mexican muralism, there is a tradition of art’s influence in society. People believe in art and rest their hopes on it. For that reason, the production and presentation of a piece is inserted in the watcher’s thinking and in social activities. Collaborators, artists and specialists in the field are gathered for each project. The expressive activities include practice. Each of the foundation’s activities is registered and published through massive media like the internet. With the aid of information accessibility, we try for it to be a prototype for those interested in acting with art in social problems as one of the options for social improvement.

Paisaje Social Foundation A.C. in art Art to me is a medium to express a new perspective, summing up a point of view. Framing a segment of day-to-day life and/or reconstructing the perspective as a lively experience through techniques such as installation. The foundation’s activities are the praxis of thinking of the art world that is over the rules of my subject, focusing on alienated individuals and society. It’s clear to me that it was not possible to enlarge comprehension and labor in solitude. My intention is to reach where multiple individuals distinguished for their experience take place, but their way of participating being anonymous. Thus, mixing the anonymous with the known, generating a group where each activity is valuable for itself and can be trespassed and mutually 208


supported without having to depend on any individual. To an artist as an individual, socially alienated, multiple incompetences are owed in the process of realizing an idea; he needs the collaboration of others. The independent character seldom makes it hard for those back-ups to be found. Our collaborators, based on their experience, use their profession according to their interests and the group’s activities. These contributions are accumulated because of the group platform; it can be said that a new small-scale social system is being created.

are part of the world and its purpose. I agree that there are some subjects in the world that are valued under the subject’s convenience and as a result, some of art’s parameters generate uneasiness. Even so, art coexists and is free from multiple mediums and situations. To use art to showcase difficult matters for society and to share solution proposals is Paisaje Social Foundation’s main goal.

Paisaje Social’s activities are not made with the hope of a radical change in society. It can be said that its activities 209


Credits: ¡Amor a Japón! Natsumi Baba y Hiroshi Okuno Conejoblanco Galeria de libros Restaurante Taro Restaurante MOG La hora de Miho y Chucho Jesus Cruzvillegas-conductor de programa Radio raíces, SEDEREC (Secretaria de desarrollo rural y Equidad para las comunidades) Re-Arte Meli Riestra Mercado el 100

More information:

paisajesocial.wordpress.com

Rodando x la Ruta de la Amistad Cuauhtémoc Kamffer Biciosos del Pedal VIP, otras yerbas Mujeres en Bici Division bicicleta del sur Patronato de ka Ruta de la Amistad A.C. Taller JARDINCITO Gerardo Romi Genaro López Natsumi Baba Sonia Gama y otros artistas MUAC Fundación Quiereme y Protejeme A.C.

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Cinematographic References:

By Miriam Matus Let’s make a little bit of memory and try to think of the movies we’ve seen through the last year. It will not be hard to remember sequences filled with artistic eclecticism: a collage –pardon the expression- of images, styles, genres, characters and even philosophies included in other iconic works of pop culture. This mishmash is made up of multiple references that when mixed create a new, independent work: we are talking about pastiche, one of the most frequent elements in contemporary audiovisual narration, one that has been branded by the most reactionary as a resource that gives away dif-

ficulties towards innovation, the impossibility of creating original stories and building authentic structures. Because of this disapproved profusion of inter-textual resources, some theorists have condemned postmodern cinema as a nostalgia reproducer or, to say it differently, for the continuous reproduction and use of existing elements, which applies to movies and other media. Insistence on lapidating the pastiche rises from premises based on hermetic and somewhat unjust mentalities that rest on the worn-out idea that any time in the past

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was better, and that now, in this self-referential universe, nothing will be new, but a constant repetition and imitation of what has already been done. But can we really say that only postmodernism has developed from that which already exists? Did creativity emerge spontaneously in previous times, free from references, just like the sudden lighting of an incandescent lamp? We could blind ourselves for a minute and limit our vision to Hollywood –whose biggest talent is transforming the old into new- and rediscover how graphic novels, TV series, videogames and books, are the primary sources of every screenplay. It is a fact that 74 of the 100 highest grossing films of recent years were either sequels, remakes from previous movies or adaptations from comics, videogames, books and others. If you find this incredible just remember how many sequels there are of Pirates of the Caribbean, or how we’ve grown side by side with Harry Potter, who left his childhood behind a while ago; of the different Batman versions –from 1966 to the

Thriller – A Cruel Picture, 1973/ Bo Arne Vibenius

ultimate version from Chris Nolan-; of the 11 Star Trek movies, the 12 from Friday the 13th or the 25 (and counting) from James Bond. These are stories that have been told time and again, referenced or subverted, and that were born from comic books, books, toys and other sources. We could also move

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remember the classic films in the genre, many of them cover said plot with different shadings and routes that take us to completely varying experiences, rendering the duty of likening Apocalypse Now (1979) and Full Metal Jacket (1987) nearly impossible. All of this doesn’t lead us to think that everything is gathered from the same DArk passage, 1947/ Delmer Daves cloth. As evidence away from the present and ask ourselves: we have film noir, which represented a wahow many times have we been witnesses termark in the way of experimenting movand accomplices to narrative formulas from ies and even though it didn’t come out from the classic tradition? The basic outline of nothing, the audiences witnessed a twist war cinema, for example, is founded in the in the stories through bitter endings, dark, characters’ search for inclusion into society troubled characters that dwelled between through proofs (generally speaking). If we the ambiguity of moral and despair towards 214


a violent, cynical and corrupt society. Film noir was a precise combination of different sources, which spawned it as one of the most widely used paradigms for writing many of the contemporary stories that keep breeding into unique versions and, up until today, are incendiary manifestations to any spectator. Even in the most experimental of films we can find traces of intertextuality, be it a framing, a character or situation in an explicit or accidental manner. Movies are built upon other movies and references that pollute – fortunately- our ideas in the same moment that we interact with our surroundings. Creation requires influence, and I´m not talking only about the postmodern era or the specifically audiovisual media. We have always been established through the creations of others: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 includes a sample of the Marseillaise. Is it pastiche? Is it sampling? Technically (I repeat, technically) it isn’t, but discursively, yes… culture is pastiche.

As Kirky Ferguson says in Everything is a remix, a video uploaded to youtube, creation requires influence, everything we do is a remix of already existent creations in our lives and the lives of others. William S. Burroughs, for example, included paragraphs from other authors in his texts, something he called cut-up method, which he not only considered essential for his work, but he trusted was related to magic, as if each piece was a part of a bigger whole, an ingredient to an unequalled meal. This has nothing to do with plagiarism. The author’s work has taken us to new and matchless places… Burroughs questioned the universe with scissors and a jar of glue. As an audience, we’ve witnessed movie scripts whose authors –consciously- have composed many of its parts through direct reference to other films that, upon deconstruction, can be analyzed as samples of a remix. Such is the case of the Star Wars saga, from George Lucas, which uses elements from Flash Gordon (1938), is inspired by shots from 2001: A Space Odissey (1968), or

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William Burroughs. Foto de gatopistola.blogspot.com

acted as a film director with a curator spirit, and usually tells stories from different, previous cinematographic pieces. It’s not that he reproduces them identically, but utilizes them as a reference to build an original tale that ovations others and, at the same time, develops from the mythical universe erected by our western view of the world. We can play with the idea of the epic Kill We cannot continue without mentioning Bill (2003, 2004), and refer to it as one of Quentin Tarantino, who has occasionally Tarantino’s main remixes, closer to a mash with Akira Kurosawa’s martial arts masters, among other references. But that does not stands in the way of Star Wars being milestone in pop culture, an extremely innovative and creative work that has functioned as a cornerstone by subverting patterns in stories and the western imaginary in general.

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up, that altogether reproduces a completely original sound, an audiovisual delight in all its elements. To understand the complexity of this pastiche we can remember the scene where the character Elle Driver (played by Daryl Hannah), disguised as a nurse, is ready to kill Beatrix Kiddo (played by Uma Thurman) with a syringe that con-

tains a mortal scarlet solution; the action is the same as in Black Sunday (1977), where a woman passes as a nurse in order to kill one of the patients using venom into the same unusual lethal weapon; Elle –the blue-eyed beauty- whistles the theme song from the 1968 thriller Twisted Nerve, and the patch covering the empty eyelid is a reference to Kill Bill Vol. 2, 2004/ Quentin Tarantino

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a main character from They call her one eye with the environment provides us with the pieces that build our creations, and that (1974). both in a voluntary and involuntary way Not only do we find more nods to previous we will retake the world because it is our movies in Kill Bill, but in many other films source material, a treasure that works as an already cherished in our memories. What alchemy lab. happens is authors don’t always seek to mention other movies (or literary and au- If this text, dear reader, has generated diovisual references) in theirs, but they are an existential crisis, you have nothing to already influenced by them from the mo- worry about! Appropriations and originalment they interact with reality, so they in- ity are exactly the same when being transvoluntarily project or copy it in everything lated into the different cultural languages. Hasn’t Shakespeare been multi-referenced they create. in most contemporary stories? Shakespeare, On his thesis On the Psychology and Pathol- the same guy accused of writing his work ogy of So-Called Occult Phenomena, Carl thanks to the trade of pastiche. His texts are Gustav Jung talks about the term “cryp- a mold –largely exploited- that have gentomnesia”, defined as the hidden memory, erated many of today’s stories, and caused that which suddenly returns without be- interesting creative experiments. The idea ing recognized and is therefore considered of retaking the author may be conscious, –wrongfully- as an idea that came out of but I don’t doubt that in countless occasions nothing: the experience of the memory is inspiration has arrived anonymously; one of confused with that of a new inspiration. those archetypical tales that has surrounded From this we may assume that our own life the life and experiences of many is picked experience –which is an audiovisual one- is up without reflection. It is a memory that a reference in itself; that our relationship appears as cryptomnesia to then develop a 218


unique version, translated and molded by the imagination of new writers. Originality exists; it’s what is made with pieces, with the universe, that which becomes unique. Or, let’s see, imagine a color you’ve never seen… and you can’t think about the ones you already know… Nothing comes out of nothing. In the end, we too are pastiches from the stars.

W. Shakespeare

1. The term derived from the French pastiche, which in turn is generated from Italian pasticcio. Originally referred to imitations of paintings that, because of its quality, could be wrong with the real ones. Currently applies to any art: film, music, literature, painting, etc.. (Menéndez, 2010: 204) 2. In case you don’t remember well, we heard also in V for Vendetta, when V and Eve blow up the English Parliament. 219


Spreading e s a e s

i d e h t

of sound “We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment. We are choosing to be here, right now. Hold on, stay inside...” Parabola –Tool

By Daniel Vega 220


How is a genre defined? Technically, you

can talk about rhythmic and melodic patterns, instrumentation and periods of time. Rock, for example, was formally born in the 1950s, but its supposed origins can be traced all the way back to the first decades of the Century –with the ghoulish Robert Johnson. It’s a style that has been declared dead several times in the last forty years, regurgitated by thousands of bands in an infinity of movements and revivals, and even left behind in terms of generology, or the way we classify noise.

These two words tell us about a state in present time where rock has already happened and has been left behind; but it is curious that in the end, that same anti-definition keeps marking and accusing it of belonging to the same blood group. For that, post rock is and is not at the same time. We owe the term to Mojo Magazine and The Wire critic Simon Reynolds, who defined it in 1994 as music that “uses rock instrumentation for nonrock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords”. Reynolds’ words may seem somewhat clear, but upon analyzing the possibilities and implications that the definition carries, it can be very easy to get lost in its ambiguity. We would have to meticulously outline the musical context where he is placing the words “timbre” and “texture”, since they would not mean the same thing in the U.S. in the early 90s than they would in the U.K. in the late 1960s.

We enter a music store (wether real or virtual) and we find the names we have given to certain configurations of systematized sound, “music”, as we know it. It’s our desperate human need to name and identify all things that has led us to establish the great pillars that gradually began to branch out, reaching ridiculous and pretentious derivations. There are hundreds of subgenres in rock, and even a genre that originates in it while trying to The bands that populate this subgenre –or new genre- usually negate their direct relamark a definitive distance: post rock. 221


Tortoise (imagen tomada de tortoise Facebook fan page)

tionship with rock, seeming to adopt it not as a loving father or revered grandfather, but more like a faraway ancestor. The first group deemed with the term was Tortoise, a quintet from Chicago whose experimentations

could easily pass as jazz, progressive (1)rock or avant-garde (genres where certain “innovative” or “progressive” bands are usually placed), depending on who is listening. But tracing the movement to its origins we can

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found Metal Box (1979) from Public Image Ltd. This band led by John Lydon –Sex Pistols’ singer and lyricist- parted from dissonant guitars and syncopated rhythms, driven by hypnotic bass lines and psychedelic synthesizers, and the disturbed delivery of a post-Pistols Lydon.

er be touched. Post metal, just as post rock, has been accused of generating pretentious and sometimes elitist music, more so by the elitism implied by metal’s own virtuosity.

Rock as a musical genre is still practiced today, and to consider its health status (although, for some, its existence could only be The post rock virus has mutated as well, gen- that of an undead) there are two bands that erating another strange creature that feeds could demonstrate that the genre is, despite of many other bacterias –impossible to be all of this, alive and well.

“THE POST ROCK VIRUS HAS MUTATED” completely analyzed in this lines: post metal. Here we can find bands that blend the violence of “heavy metal” (rock’s perfect evolution that, however, has been raised amongst one of the most fundamentalist of fan bases) with the experimentation of ambient, electronic, jazz; the combinations are only limited by one’s imagination. Tool, Isis, Neurosis, Mastodon, bands loved by music lovers and hated by countless other legions of followers for mixing genres that, they think, must nev-

Animals As Leaders is a progressive rock band that may represent the genre’s ultimate outpost. Its leader, young African American guitarist Tosin Abasi, sifts through the frets of his 8-string guitar with the coldness of a programmed machine, but injecting it with an evident humanity. This band could represent the genre taken to the cutting-edge in every aspect: for its digitallycreated non-conventional rhythms, or their melodic and virtuosic solos traced over ambient atmospheres; even from a more banal perspective, the guitarist’s elegant wardrobe, which exchanges the classic leather pants

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Public Image, imagen publicada en www.pilofficial.com

and vests for a pair of Armani khakis and a music, the chemistry of four members unitfine hat. For Abasi, the idea of a band jam- ed by some strange chance, is not a priorming in the garage conjuring the powers of ity. Not even the most conservative of rock’s 224


icons, the Marshall stack, has survived in his universe. Abasi writes his songs connecting his guitar into a computer, adding and deleting parts at will, using digital effects and amp emulators. The result of these processes can be heard in the “band’s” latest album, Weightless (2011). Praises and criticisms apart, the listen is never less than interesting, although it will surely not be easily digested by everyone.

because it achieves to find virgin territories inside a genre that has been explored all the way to boredom. It is progressive rock precisely because it takes rock, with all that the title implies, to new places. Music, like the most lethal and contagious of viruses, seems to be constantly reconfiguring its structure to survive. For some reason, be it

“MUSIC, LIKE Baroness, on the other hand, is a band locatTHE MOST ed in the deserted world of alternative metal. LETHAL AND It is composed by the classic rock configuraCONTAGIOUS tion –two guitars, bass and drums- and its OF VIRUSES, recordings are totally analog, live in the stuSEEMS TO BE dio, apart from the fact that they wear the CONSTANTLY basic long hair and fuzzy beards. After a pair RECONFIGURING of records that more or less shook the metal ITS STRUCTURE underworld, they have received an almost TO SURVIVE.” unanimous ovation for their new album Yellow and Green (2012), released just a couple of days ago. This double album (in these times of cruel immediacy!) is a tour through the different ages of rock. It is innovative the accessibility of its rhythms, its rapid popnot because it tries to break the rules, but ularization in the right historical time, or the 225


Baronesse, Blue record, 2009 ( imagen tomada de baronessmusic.com)

attraction implied by its supposed rebelliousness, rock has manifested through our days as the most sought genre in popular music, modern and post modern. Hordes of fresh kids still praise the fab four –whose lifetime didn’t even surpassed a decade-, even forty years after they walked the earth. The rea-

son is, without a doubt, the fanaticism raised by their charm and the admiration generated at the time by the innovation of their compositions, but it also includes a clear crassness, a simplistic melancholy, and an apathy –lack of interestfor the present. For many people, rock started and ended with The Beatles; for those people, music may just have ended the day the band played together for the last time on the rooftop of the Apple Studios building.

Today we can see the complicated webs that have been weaved around those first compositions. Thousands of bands have, through the years, explored all the cardinal points in that map, generating new movements and an endless number of remakes, some more bor-

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ing than others. There have even been remakes of the remakes, nostalgia movements for other nostalgia movements; nostalgia that in the recent years –and spreading faster and faster- has breached into the heads of people, causing the reunions of “classic” bands with the sole purpose of reviving moments seemingly frozen in time. And memory is also becoming shorter. If in my teen years –somewhere around 1999- classic rock was Hendrix, Zeppelin and the Stones, which

Cure as the flag bearers of that same classic rock. The margin was reduced ten years in a decade. Does this mean that in ten years, “classic rock” will be, say, the Arctic Monkeys and Baroness?

“FOR MANY PEOPLE, ROCK STARTED AND ENDED WITH THE BEATLES”

happened thirty years before my generation, kids today see Nirvana, Pearl Jam and The

Nevermind, 1991 ( imagen tomada de www.nirvana.com)

1. I would have put quotation marks on this whole text, but in order not to fall in exaggerations, I did it only with words seldom used in music reviews and criticisms. The ambiguity of those workds can easily project us into the black hole of personal taste and pretensiousness. 227


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