El Borde Art Gallery, Buenos Aires, 2006 / Macro Museum, Rosario, Argentina, 2008 / Woodstreet Galleries, Pittsburgh, USA, 2010

This project includes drawings, sketches, photos and floor plans of all the previous installations. The idea is to reedit these original materials and work over reinterpretations, searching for new links and connections between them. The original project was a group show by three artists: Martín Bonadeo, Paula Senderowicz and Daniel Trama working together in a group installation. Drawings, blue prints and objects representing revisits to older pieces of each artist were mixed in the exhibition space.

The artists’ kitchen

by María Fernanda Cartagena

Three young artists revisit their own work in order to reflect on the creative process, the search for meaning and conventions of an exhibition.

It is not unusual to hear of artists going back to older pieces in order to generate new ones, but what is unusual is using this setting as a concept from which to explore. Revisitas (Re-visits) is the outcome of a premise conceived by three artists, Martín Bonadeo, Paula Senderowicz and Daniel Trama, after they were invited by the gallery El Borde to come up with a project that could manage to deviate from the mandate of the artwork as a self-sufficient entity and product. More and more galleries are moving away from the idea that they are merely housing works of art and taking on wider and more expedient ways of collaborating.

However, this step is often difficult due to the expectations of both parties. If we take as an achievement of Revisitas (Re-visits), the way in which it broadens the meaning of art, creating multiple perspectives from which to view the work, and the potential that arises from bringing together individualities, then this show proves that the limitations of conventional exhibitions can be reverted in its favor.

It is not about just any invitation: the artists devised a way in which we can access the intimacy of their process by displaying over nine work-tables the reprints of their thought-process, intrepid genre transpositions, alliances shared through the materials, techniques and searches for meaning that create areas of connection and disconnection.

Each one edited three tables that were interspersed in the space, and mounted a two-dimensional piece of work on the wall that reinforced their process. In this way the visit becomes at some point like a table talk, that boundary found in everyday life before and after social protocol. A disquieting vagueness runs through the show to replace trite questions like “what are we looking at here, drawings, sketches, objects or sculptures?” to ask a more fruitful one: “what does it provoke or stir in us?”

Bringing these artists together is no chance encounter. They are artists that share a sensibility to the dimensions of space and time and have favored creating projects that are ephemeral and sitespecific, environments or locations that regard the place or setting as both the container and the protagonist.

A simple look back at their ambitious projects will suffice. Bonadeo's No Es (News - It is not), curated by Graciela Taquini at Malba (2004), captured a sunrise over the Río de la Plata in jars filled with water from the Pacific ocean and projected a sunset of a Californian beach. Trama was invited by Irene Jaievsky in 2004 to show Hogares at the Museo Shoá. He drew the architectural plan of a house, not with lines but with words, testimonies and historical facts relating to life inside the homes of Jewish families during the Second World War. Senderowicz recreated a fragment of landscape in ice for Transformaciones azarosas curated by Corinne Sacca Abadi at Malba in 2005. To narrow down the extent of their own work for this exhibition, they took as a starting point a shared obsession, the imaginary line of the horizon, not as a theme but as an experience that transforms all of us into transitory subjects in nature's rite of passage. The different blues that irradiate from the tables come from this choice, like strange islands that make up an archipelago with their particular environments, climates and cycles of energy.

The various resonances and wavelengths that stem from these small worlds are so intense that individual authorship is diffused and the interconnectedness reaches even beyond the gallery space. One of the problems that archipelagoes pose, is the delimitation of their own maritime space. In this instance vagueness is productive. Jean-Luc Godard in Elegy for love (2001) reflects on, amongst other things, the different stages of love, the power of impressionism in art, and evoking the extent in which the images relate to one another, he includes a leitmotiv in the film: “When I think about something, I am actually thinking about something else. When I see a landscape, it's new for me because I am mentally comparing it to another landscape that I have seen before.”

Through the amplification of these singularities and differences, and through the union of their respective explorations, for all that separates them, they generate meanings and affects while we walk, converse, delve deeply and think about their work. As the paths they open are many, I recommend three possible, convergent journeys.

First, the freshness of returning to primitive media and its materials and a projecting energy. In her work, Senderowicz revives the subtlety and delicacy of the old medium of pencil and paintbrush as well as a magical and irreplaceable symbiosis of water, mineral salts and paper. In a similar way she uses the jigsaw (as ancient as incition, xilography or engraving), in a superb scale-model that investigates the horizon through emptiness, light and shadow. Trama shows his note-book and his use of graph-paper as an infrastructure for organic landscapes. On the other hand, Bonadeo revives the old technique of blueprints, a printing process of negatives to positives, that is based on the light sensitivity of ferric salts from which it is possible to obtain blue-images. Through this photographic alchemy he transfers his personal diary of sketches and projections (drawings, photos and notes) into images that in turn, change into small, very abstract and atmospheric pseudopaintings. These images are crystallized as retroprojections of his interactive urban and interdisciplinary installations. Another possible route might highlight the transference of energies and temperature in the complicity of art and science. Trama displays an enigmatic and complex system that's self sustaining, based on alternative laws that affect the hot-cold binary through fictitious recycling. The cycle begins in a light-box that lights up slides of glaciers whose silhouettes are transferred onto line-drawings, and then onto cables that end up in one of the not to be missed pieces of the exhibition: a heater that melts a block of candle-wax, thus carving it into the topography of a glacier. Senderowicz turns to the warmth of mineral mica. Its shiny, delicate brown colored shell is hoarded, classified and recycled to build a kind of primitive, spiral shelter. Debris, like you would find beside a river, coexist with microscopic liquid landscapes in tiny tubes, jars and glass containers. Bonadeo's blueprints are indexes of color and water, cold and heat and they all involve energy transference. For example, in Hope the huge projection he made on the façade of a building on which a candle melts, marking the real time transition between 2004 and 2005, was an intervention produced by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

We can also access their respective universes through the exchanges and disputes they’ve had over the different meanings of the interrelation between image and writing. Senderowicz's scarce use of words illuminates the deconstruction of landscapes that Trama creates through language. He prints on glass the instructions sent by his friends on how to photograph landscapes, as well as the resulting photographs. Ingenious proposals about the use of H in the word horizon and a jumble of letters spread on the table, contrast with Bonadeo's constant use of writing, poetic statements that accentuate the projective side of his creative process.

The exhibition is a feast that invites you to discover the reverberations of these three artists, facing the threat of what is real and its resistance to symbolism and meaning. Perhaps this explains the void, the loss or the frailty that besets the show. Shattering beauty is reflected in the aquamarines, indigos, lavenders, ultramarines, turquoises… to try to give just a few names.

Interview by Viviana Usubiaga prior to the show's opening

Wall text

Viviana Usubiaga: In Revisitas (Revisits) all of you find and welcome the coincidences that you have found in your respective works and you risk showing those similarities through the materials and themes that are based on previous work. What drives you to revisit those works and re-project them?

Martín Bonadeo: Since I first met Dani and Paula, I was really interested in the idea of making an exhibition based on our former works and shared challenges. But instead we decided to show the artistic thinking process we went through while making those pieces.

Daniel Trama: I think the coincidences raised our curiosity about each others' work, but then we started to focus on the different ways that each of us create from those similar starting points. We decided to respect the natural way in which we met and then to share and confront these materials in the exhibition. I imagine a simultaneous presentation of all this, to see what happens.

Paula Senderowicz: We address similar themes, but we do it from different perspectives and working methods. Most of our pieces refers to previous works. Certain projects have been changed in format and medium, they are in a new exhibiting context, and so they become new visual thoughts. In other words, the images are almost complete, but not quite, so one can come every now and then and rediscover them. VU: How did you all come together for this show?

MB: We met before because of common interests and knew that we had to do something together but we were still looking for the right thing. Olga Martínez, the owner of the gallery, was in contact with the three of us and suggested that we should make a group show.

VU: Why have you arranged the work on nine trestle tables and only a few works on the wall?

PS: The choice to use worktables was based on a wish to emphasize the selection and composition process of the show.

DT: We divided the space in equal parts and each one laid out their work on similar surfaces. It is funny how we shared everything even down to having exactly three tables each.

MB: In addition we made sure that we wouldn't have separate areas for each artist.

DT: Certain ideas were useful to link some of the works: the recurring horizons and landscapes, the blue color and the melting process. This was the axis from which to map our individual works.

PS: These initial directions that Dani mentions allowed us to organize the material without having to subscribe everything to just one, singular, final idea.

VU: Showing your works on tables inside the gallery could be read as an intention to show less “finished” art works more than the creative process. However, this is a staging of your methods and sketches where these forms are also a fictional construction, i.e., are recomposed as new objects. In this sense, what are the boundaries between an art work and an art project?

DT: Each one established a different relationship between the object and the project. In my case, I created a version in which the idea of the project invades the space it occupies and then becomes an object, like the plan-scale model that takes over the architectural space through the use of blue and a circuit-drawing that tests the fusion of materials. This medium gives me the chance to show different stages of the creative process and not just the final piece, and therefore I am able to present, for example, my interest in the artistic process as a scientific experiment that is not focused on a particular result.

MB: Most of my work up to now has consisted of multi-sensory installations, ephemeral and site-specific work that needed some type of formalization other than what I publish on my web-site. I found in blueprints a way of producing images that position themselves as a specific language between the project and the perception.

PS: As Viviana says, in this show the boundaries between the “project” and the “object” are blurred; I care about the images, that always show the way the work has been made. I tend to transfer and recreate resonances of imaginary landscapes conceived from the perspective 141 of urban life, in an attempt to regain the intangible quality of those visions. The paper is used as the vessel, the container on which the water mark is left; so in that way some of those experiences still remain within the piece.

During our talks with Paula, Martín and Dani, I discovered that some of their pieces seem to have their doubles in each other’s work, sorts of doppelgängers of themselves (like those persons that you find almost identical to yourself and that seem both familiar and strange). These mutual correspondences are precisely what made them undertake this project together, to put them in the foreground, without any mediation.

On the other hand, I could not stop thinking about eclipses. I was thinking that an eclipse always involves three bodies, and that depending on their respective positions, they will produce a different phenomenon and shine their own light on us. In three guided tours during the exhibition's run, the artists will one by one intercept the others' work through different interpretations, intensifying what is visible in a reciprocal way, attempting new and unknown eclipses.

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