Nomad Patterns

Livia Marin, Nomad Patterns | Patrones nómades, 2009-2012
Eagle Gallery, London


Livia Marin. Artist's statement. Livia Marin is a London-based Chilean artist whose work has been characterized throughout by large-scale installations and the appropriation of mass-produced and mass-consumed objects. Her work was initially informed by the immediate social and political context of Chile in the 1990s that amounted to a transition from a profoundly overt disciplinary regime (given by seventeen years of dictatorship) to an economically disciplinary regime with a strongly developed neo-liberal economic agenda. She employs everyday objects to enquire into the nature of how we relate to material objects in an era dominated by standardization and global circulation. In this, the work seeks to offer a reflection on the relationship we develop with those often unseen objects that meet our daily needs. Central to the work is a trope of estrangement that works to reverse an excess of familiarity that commands the life of the everyday and the dictates of the marketplace.

Inova: The Object and Its Manifestation, 2007
Livia Marin. Artist Statement. Things make their Appearance. For a senior generation of progressive Chilean artists the grand narrative of their work was never in doubt. For those that came after by a generation or two the question has been more equivocal. How does one make art from the relatively banal facts of an everyday, no longer set against the backdrop of tragedy and loss: of torture and the disappeared? How does one engage with an audience in a consumerist global market place for art? These are the questions that situate the practice of my studio.
If it is the role of the economist, the politician and others to consider questions of mass production, it is, perhaps, left to the artist – the artistic community – to consider and reflect on the question of mass consumption: to consider the ‘consumption' of art in a world where mass consumption has become hyper-aestheticised but equally passive: where the object is subsumed under the brand, falls under the sign of the brand, and is thereby incidental, disposable – at the very least, interchangeable. How then does an artist flag up the quidity of things in their thingyness? How does an artist create the unique that does not lose sight of the everyday that is our shared experience? Which is to say, how does an artist occupy and share a space with an audience on common terms and yet, withal, extends or heightens that experience?
My work negotiates with these issues: neither to ignore them, nor to acquiesce to the economy of this marketplace, nor to parody that consumer market as a given of irresolvable difference. Yet my work does make play with the banal, the everyday, the serial production. Perhaps I can say: my work adopts the everyday when it has out-lasted its use value or its economic exchange value. That might be a starting point. Lipsticks when they have become useless stubs: disposable plastic cups, crumpled and discarded. And then there have been bottle tops and flowerpots and neglected things that no marketeer will ever make chic or sexy. There is the trace of humanity in these mere things: handled, then used up, close to exhaustion or extinction. Something of this sort of ‘mereness,' just the physical weight of things, was part of Minimalism's agenda. Their radical reduction of form, which broke with the mirroring of nature in artistic practice, left the viewer with only the narrative of a place: the “field,” as we have come to know it 1. It was as if we were thrown into a strange square world where the viewer was thrown back on his/her own resources. So then my work begins. I want to throw the viewer back into the world of the everyday: I want to present, aesthetically, the pathos of the everyday and thereby claim a certain freedom or detachment from that pathos: a different address to that pathos.
I work as a sculptor. That is to say, I work within the formal discipline of manipulating objects in space. If a work succeeds it is because formal considerations have been translated into practical techniques for the manipulation of materials. My departure from traditional sculptural practice is in the materials that I use and the adaptation of existing techniques to the requirements of those materials. As we have seen, these materials are adopted from the everyday: not quite ready-mades, but something like. This in turn calls for a further departure from traditional practice that might best be thought of in terms of the difference between ‘field' and ‘perspective.' With a perspectival approach the viewer is assigned a point of view by the work itself: but it is an empty place, an ideal standpoint, without respect to who that viewer is as an individual . That perspectival point of view supposes understanding to reside in the work at the behest of the artist: in terms of its meaning, it presumes a single and one correct interpretation of the work. In a field we wander: we chose: we are “nomadic.” 2The work occurs, in that it occurs to us: it is left open, susceptible to, vulnerable to, the play of possibility in its engagement with the viewer.
While I recognise that my work will inevitably be thought through discourses of ‘repetition' and ‘the serial,' my own intentions aim for something more humane, more sensual and immediate. Which brings me, finally, to an aspect of the work, El objeto y su manifestación , here at INOVA. A veil of inattention characterizes everyday life. This work seeks gradually to withdraw that veil. Here scale and the chromatic effect of the differing shade of white play their part. For what the viewer is first presented with is an overall ‘shimmer' rendering, for the moment, the individual objects indistinguishable. There is an immediate play on the senses. It is only after a further engagement in the ‘field' that the nature of the individual objects becomes apparent. Working in this way, I would like to think the work acts as a guide to meaning, interpretation, understanding and so forth rather than as the administrator of one received idea and in that way turns outwards again to the world we live in: to return a sense of value to the everyday.
1 See Rosalind Krasuss' ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field' in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (MIT Press:1986)
2 See Gilles Deleuze, Diffrence and Repetition , pp.45-50, on “univocity” and “nomadic distribution” (Continuum: 2004).

It's Nice That, 2009
Hi Livia, your new show looks really interesting – can you tell us a little about what you do and why you’ve decided to exhibit the pieces you have?

I pursued an art career in Chile. I have exhibited widely both in Chile and abroad (Argentina, Brazil, Sweden, USA). I have lived and worked in London for five years and am currently completing a practiced led PhD programme at Goldsmiths College. Regarding my practice and this specific show, Broken Things, is a project I have been developing during the last two years and inquires into the issues of brokenness and recuperation. For the wall piece I’ve appropriated the museum style of restoration which pieces together existing fragments with blank sections to recover the full form of the original. The industrial production of mass-produced pottery used transfer printing for decoration.

The other works in the show somewhat parody this technique by a kind of slippage, which puts the integrity of the object in question.

The sculptures are all interpretations of everyday objects – what fascinates you about them?

In broader terms, in my artwork I use themes such as the serial, repetition and estrangement of what is familiar. In this sense I have a particular interest in the everyday, specifically in the material objects that give shape to it. What fascinates me about everyday objects are the traces of humanity that are lodged in them and which it is possible to bring to the fore in art. These traces embrace both their processes of making or construction and the daily use-relationship we establish with them.

In this particular show, the figure of something broken is what hinges that relationship: when something breaks it goes out of use, it can be discarded, but it might enter a new phase of signification if its owner has a strong attachment to it. It’s that moment of decision or indecision that interests me and that I try to recreate by building the object as an ambiguous figure. Within this, it is important that I have worked with mass-produced, non-noble objects, whereby things that were not important in the first place achieve a value or significance by the attachments that people form with them.

How do you go about making each piece? Do you use existing objects or start from scratch?

I do both. For some pieces I build them from scratch, and others I start from alerting already existing objects. For example, the piece that it is formed by a series of broken cups, bowls and the like is a combination of both methods: the broken objects that we can recognise, are actual objects that you can get from the market, and the, so to speak, formless part of the object which is attached to it I have made from scratch. For the applied decoration I have used a number of techniques, running from silkscreen, transfer-printings, and commercially available patterns that I re-work digitally. For some objects I have repeated the existing pattern, and for others I have decorated both parts from scratch.

Artishock, 6.11.2012
La artista chilena residente en Londres, Livia Marín, ofrece hoy una conferencia que provee un recorrido visual y analítico en torno a los conceptos de repetición y extrañeza ligados al uso de objetos cotidianos en trabajos de arte, y que particularmente han caracterizado su práctica artística. La artista define su obra, a grandes rasgos, como una inquietud de transformar objetos producidos en masa con el objetivo de indagar en cómo nos relacionamos con lo material en una era dominada por la estandarización, el consumo y la circulación global. A través de una descripción y análisis de su propio trabajo, Marín dará cuenta de cómo su obra busca revertir el exceso de familiaridad que caracteriza tanto la vida del día a día como los dictados del mercado.

Christopher Jobson, Melting Ceramics by Livia Marin, thisiscolossal, 17 July 2013
When dropping a ceramic plate or cup we’ve all braced for the familiar sound of impact as the object explodes into a multitude of sharp fragments on the kitchen floor. Artist Livia Marin imagines a wholly different demise for ceramic bowls, cups and tea pots in this series of work titled Nomad Patterns.
Inexplicably, each piece seems to melt onto a surface while strangely retaining its original printed pattern. The designs are actually a Willow Pattern motif, a pastiche of Chinese landscape decoration created by an English man in the 1790s “as if” it were Chinese. She adds via email that the objects “appear as staged somehow indeterminately between something that is about to collapse or has just been restored; between things that have been invested with the attention of care but also have the appearance of a ruin.” The 32 objects were on view at Eagle Gallery in London in 2012.

gessato, 7.2013
In the advent of summer’s heat wave, ice cream isn’t the only thing that is melting. Artist Livia Marin explores the transformation from solid to liquid in Melting Ceramics. The cold fragile pieces are shown in mid-transition, as puddles of white porcelain decorated with Willow patterns in classic blue and burgundy details. The appearance of ruin creates a new opportunity for creation, as Marin is able to highlight the formal qualities and interiors of the ceramics by “melting away” some of each piece. The collection of bowls, cups, and tea pots in their hybrid state are fascinating in their construction and their purported liquidity.

paulasworld, 12.2013
Livia Marin presents objects from the series Nomad Patterns, in which the ceramic seems to have been arrested mid-melt, or knocked over only to spill instead of breaking, and then retained an improbable continuity of pastiche Chinese pattern. That poses questions of literal and metaphysical weight. Is that china or water? A destruction or a restoration? Casually playful or threatening instability? Our judgement is likely to be affected if we know that much of Marin’s work deals with breakage and repair in the context of seventeen years of oppressive dictatorship in her home country of Chile… Technically, by the way, Marin buys plain white vessels, smashes them, creates the spill, then paints the matching pattern across both.

freshome, 2.2014
Nomad Patterns is a strange art collection designed by Chilean artist Livia Marin. It consists of pieces of ceramic: cups, vases and teapots – to be more specific, that melt into puddles, yet retain the original printed patterns. At the first glance, it seems a pure expression of destruction. Something like an act of dissolving a complex and unitary artwork. Naturally, after a brief analysis, one gets to understand the true significance of the alluring gesture of “damaging” the objects. The artist wanted to show that broken china can be beautiful and well, useful. The peculiar liquification defines the elaborate design.
Now, imagine having such an item decorating your home. To me, this feels a little bit like an ambiguous “Alice in Wonderland” reinterpreted scene. “The objects appear as staged somehow indeterminately between something that is about to collapse or has just been restored; between things that have been invested with the attention of care but also have the appearance of a ruin.” The collection, comprising 32 items, was exhibited at Eagle Gallery in London.

Livia Marin
Quiebre y Derrame
House of Propellers
It's Nice that
Nature Morte 2010


Desenvolvimento Sustentável

A definição mais aceita para desenvolvimento sustentável é o desenvolvimento capaz de suprir as necessidades da geração atual, sem comprometer a capacidade de atender as necessidades das futuras gerações. É o desenvolvimento que não esgota os recursos para o futuro.

Essa definição surgiu na Comissão Mundial sobre Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento, criada pelas Nações Unidas para discutir e propor meios de harmonizar dois objetivos: o desenvolvimento econômico e a conservação ambiental.

Esse conceito representou uma nova forma de desenvolvimento econômico, que leva em conta o meio ambiente.

Muitas vezes, desenvolvimento é confundido com crescimento econômico, que depende do consumo crescente de energia e recursos naturais. Esse tipo de desenvolvimento tende a ser insustentável, pois leva ao esgotamento dos recursos naturais dos quais a humanidade depende.

Atividades econômicas podem ser encorajadas em detrimento da base de recursos naturais dos países. Desses recursos depende não só a existência humana e a diversidade biológica, como o próprio crescimento econômico.

O desenvolvimento sustentável sugere, de fato, qualidade em vez de quantidade, com a redução do uso de matérias-primas e produtos e o aumento da reutilização e da reciclagem.

O desenvolvimento sustentável contém dois conceitos-chave: 1- o conceito de “necessidades”, sobretudo as necessidades essenciais dos pobres no mundo, que devem receber a máxima prioridade; 2- a noção das limitações que o estágio da tecnologia e da organização social impõe ao meio ambiente, impedindo-o de atender às necessidades presentes e futuras.

Roberto Magalhães, Avião Cenoura, 1992

Configurações do Imaginário
Desenvolvimento Sustentável e Arte Brasileira Contemporânea em Diálogo com o Acervo Visual Europeu

Roberto Magalhães é singular entre os artistas brasileiros contemporâneos. O seu trabalho se ajusta à definição do desenvolvimento sustentável. Ele estabelece por sua vez um diálogo original com o acervo visual europeu.

A través de uma produção aparentemente modesta e que faz economia dos recursos empregados, a mensagem da obra plástica de Magalhaes ê sumamente consistente com o crucial conceito moderno de que "menos é mais".

No contexto brasileiro, conhecido por ser rico em recursos, Magalhaes se distancia intencionalmente do materialismo consumista e utiliza a sua obra como um estimulante: de fato, suas configurações do imaginário constituem um original e importante ponto de partida para promover o desenvolvimento sustentável.

Mariano Akerman
Historiador da Arte

Roberto Magalhães, Avión Zanahoria, 1992

Configuraciones de lo Imaginario
Desarrollo sustentable y arte brasileño contemporáneo en diálogo con el acervo visual europeo

Singular entre los artistas brasileros contemporáneos es Roberto Magalhães, cuyo trabajo se ajusta a la definición de desarrollo sustentable y establece a su vez un original diálogo con el acervo visual europeo.

A través de una producción aparentemente modesta y que hace economía de los recursos empleados, el mensaje de la obra plástica de Magalhaes es consistente con el concepto moderno de que "menos es más".

En el contexto brasilero, conocido por ser rico en recursos, Magalhães se aleja intencionalmente del materialismo consumista y brinda con su obra una estimulante iniciativa: sus configuraciones de lo imaginario constituyen un punto de partida válido para promover el desarrollo sustentable.

Mariano Akerman
Historiador del Arte

Roberto Magalhães

Magalhães Online
Roberto Magalhães
Enciclopédia Itaú Cultural
Escritório de Arte
Evandro Carneiro
Murilo Castro
Revista Portfolio
Ronaldo Werneck
TNT 2010
TNT 2011

Imáginario coletivo
Lo real, lo imaginario y lo simbólico


Roberto Magalhães

Configurações do Imaginário
Arte Brasileira Contemporânea em diálogo com o Acervo Visual Europeu

Os movimentos realistas e abstratos da arte brasileira são usualmente debatidos e estudados. Diferente é o caso da arte brasileira do Imaginário, sobre a qual há poucas referências.

Configurações do Imaginário explora o trabalho plástico do artista brasileiro Roberto Magalhães, cuja produção envolve um diálogo com o acervo visual europeu.

O trabalho de Magalhães atesta que o seu autor é um artista com um vasto conhecimento do patrimônio europeu e isto por sua vez se encontra sutilmente integrado a seu trabalho.

Abundantes na produção artística de Magalhães são as referências aos artistas franceses Paul Gauguin e Odilon Redon, ao alemão Matthäus Merian e aos membros dos movimentos de vanguarda Die Brücke e Bauhaus (incluindo também a contribuição de Wassily Kandinsky), ao italiano Giuseppe Arcimboldo, ao holandês Abraham Bosschaert, ao anglo-irlandês Francis Bacon, e também aos pintores belgas Joos de Momper, James Ensor e René Magritte.

Artista cultivado e inventivo em seu próprio direito, Magalhães estabelece um diálogo fecundo com o acervo visual europeu e impulsiona o Imaginário na arte contemporânea brasileira. Assim, o pintor incorpora nela estruturas, figuras e situações extraordinárias. No contexto da arte de hoje, sem dúvida, estimulantes são suas Configurações do Imaginário.

Mariano Akerman
Historiador da Arte

Configuraciones de lo Imaginario
Arte brasileño contemporáneo en diálogo con el acervo visual europeo

Los movimientos realistas y abstractos del arte brasileño son usualmente debatidos y estudiados. Diferente es el caso del arte brasileño que trata lo Imaginario, sobre el cual existen escasas referencias.

Configuraciones de lo Imaginario explora el trabajo plástico del artista carioca Roberto Magalhães, cuya producción involucra un diálogo con el acervo visual europeo.

El trabajo de Magalhães testimonia que su autor es un artista con un vasto conocimiento del patrimonio europeo y éste a su vez se encuentra sutilmente integrado en su trabajo.

Abundantes en la producción artística de Magalhães son las referencias a los artistas franceses Paul Gauguin y Odilon Redon, al alemán Matthäus Merian y a los miembros de los movimientos vanguardistas Die Brücke y Bauhaus (incluyendo ello también la contribución de Wassily Kandinsky), al italiano Giuseppe Arcimboldo, al holandés Abraham Bosschaert, al anglo-irlandés Francis Bacon, y también a los pintores belgas Joos de Momper, James Ensor y René Magritte.

Artista cultivado e inventivo por derecho propio, Magalhães establece un diálogo fecundo con el acervo visual europeo y propulsa lo Imaginario en el arte contemporáneo brasileño. En efecto, el pintor incorpora en él estructuras, figuras y situaciones extraordinarias. Dentro del contexto de arte de hoy, sin lugar a dudas, estimulantes son sus Configuraciones de lo Imaginário.

Mariano Akerman
Historiador del Arte

Magalhães Online
Roberto Magalhães
Enciclopédia Itaú Cultural
Escritório de Arte
Evandro Carneiro
Murilo Castro
Revista Portfolio
Ronaldo Werneck
TNT 2010
TNT 2011

Imáginario coletivo
Lo real, lo imaginario y lo simbólico


Enroscarse en la Aldea Grande

La casimeresca y aerografiada imaginería visual de Bertani o el inevitable contagio de lo porteño

Compilación, selección y anotaciones de Mariano Akerman

Ernesto Bertani, El lingote, detalles, acrílico sobre casimir, 1997


• Desde chico[, Bertani] se sintió atraído por el dibujo, y junto a su tía Bertha Rioboo, pintora y galerista, visitaba exposiciones de arte; viéndola pintar los fines de semana descubrió que también él podía ser pintor. Lo considero el más ingenioso de nuestros artistas. [...] Ernesto nos muestra el porteño, ese hombre que utiliza una segunda piel que es su vestimenta, para ocultar su interior.
Un día que se quedó sin telas para pintar y decidió montar sobre el bastidor, un trozo de un viejo pantalón con el clásico estampado "príncipe de Gales", no imaginaba entonces que los casimires quedarían definitivamente asociados a su pintura.
Mucho más que un soporte para sus obras, el casimir es uno de los elementos que contribuyen con mayor eficacia a la originalidad de su trabajo.
Nos dice el artista: "Trabajo sobre casimires no sólo porque son bellas y sugestivas telas, sino por su carga de realidad, y porque simbolizan al ser urbano y su trama social..." y agrega un recuerdo de su niñez: "Los días de lluvia, cuando no podíamos andar en bicicleta nos refugiábamos en la sastrería de Don Marcos. Una de esas tardes mirando los muestrarios de telas descubrí los casimires. Y con el tiempo, aprendí a coser con el aerógrafo y a sacar la hilacha con el tiralíneas."
[En sus obras, Bertani incluye] Telas que viste[n] ya la vez desnudan texturas sensuales que apenas contienen la sensualidad de los cuerpos.
"El amor" es su serie más lírica y "El matrimonio" una de las más críticas y mordaces. "La corrupción" le inspiró grandes composiciones, con cuerpos entrelazados, caracterizados por el movimiento, el caos y "el amor a lo ajeno" [i.e., codicia].
[... La imaginería de] Bertani puede interpretarse como una larga reflexión acerca de nuestra Identidad y la crisis de algunos valores.
Pinta con aerógrafo y pintura acrílica, logrando sorprendentes efectos ilusionistas. Es una técnica de ejecución rápida que le exige absoluta precisión, por lo cual es fundamental todo el trabajo preparatorio, es decir que realiza infinidad de bocetos antes de llevarlo a la tela.
A través de un humor ácido y profundo es un crítico de nuestro mundo contemporáneo. La realidad y la apariencia, el amor, el sexo, el poder, la corrupción, las convenciones sociales y la identidad nacional son los temas constantes en su trabajo (Ignacio Gutiérrez Zaldivar, "Ernesto Bertani: Originalidad Suprema", Breve Historia del Arte de los Argentinos, 2002, XVI).

• En esta época parece que todo es reemplazable. Vivimos en un mundo donde todo es cambio. Bertani rescata la sensualidad y la sugestión, el enganche, el movimiento, el amor por lo ajeno, la corrupción. Refleja en su obra la tensión y agitaciones de la sociedad porteña, especialmente el modus operandi de respetables hombres de traje y corbata, quienes recurrentemente meten sus manos en bolsillos ajenos.

• En la obra de Bertani, el uso de fondos en oro y plata es asociado con el dinero, con el poder, con valores que la sociedad actual mistifica. El pintor muestra constantemente las ostentaciones y pavoneos propios de la especie metropolitana. Según Umberto Eco, la ropa influye en la actitud de la persona que la porta, y la obliga a un ejercicio de exterioridad, a una "autoconciencia epidérmica". Bertani muestra al porteño, hombre que utiliza una segunda piel —su vestimenta— para ocultar así su interior.

• “Las braguetas” fue la primera serie pintada por Bertani sobre casimir, tela que para él simboliza el hombre porteño. El traje gris se transforma en “una coraza que esconde los sentimientos, que unifica y a la vez despersonaliza a los individuos” (Gutiérrez Zaldivar).
En una etapa posterior pinta sobre el casimir planos que simulan papeles arrugados, sobre los que realiza bocetos a lápiz, revalorizando la técnica del dibujo.
También dedica una serie a la corrupción. La corbata es representada como el símbolo por excelencia de la masculinidad. Luego, la textura del casimir, que era utilizada en el caso de los hombres, fue contrapuesta al estampado, la seda y el encaje, aplicados en el caso de las mujeres, a menudo de formas voluptuosas, o bien con vientres y pechos abultados.

• De la obra de Bertani a menudo también emana una cautivante ambigüedad.

• Su cuadro Vestidos para salir recuerda la pareja que con el paso del tiempo se convierte en una estructura rígida, monolítica, simbiótica, desapasionada y donde no se mantiene individualidad ninguna.

• La obra de Bertani puede interpretarse como una larga reflexión acerca de nuestra identidad y la crisis de algunos valores. A través de un humor ácido y profundo se muestra como un crítico mordaz de nuestro mundo contemporáneo. La realidad y la apariencia, el amor, el sexo, el poder, la corrupción, las convenciones sociales y la identidad nacional son los temas constantes en su trabajo, y los va articulando en series, mostrando una capacidad creativa pocas veces vista en nuestro arte.

• Bertani cultiva un arte irónico así como también lúcido. Su mensaje es simultáneamente ácido y profundo. A veces es además reminiscente de lo incorregiblemente perverso.

• La apariencia y la realidad, las convenciones sociales y su transgresión, la crisis y decadencia de la identidad nacional son temas constantes en su obra.

Arte Argentino
Breve Historia del Arte de los Argentinos
La bandera revisitada
Gallery Nights. "La pintura siempre fue elitista. Pero hace muchos años se van difundiendo láminas, serigrafías, otras formas más accesibles. La fotografía si bien sigue siendo menor a la pintura, ya tiene su lugar”. Sólo es cuestión de ser permeable al “efecto contagio” –en palabras de Bertani (María Daniela Yaccar, "Gallery Nights: El arte es un viaje que no paga boleto", Página 12, 30.7.2010).
Entrevista 2014
Artículos críticos, 1985-2003

Programa Vesalius
Programa-Estímulo Vesalius 2015
Vesalius: Anatomia da Arte
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