and I emphasize what we see. That is where
my sensitivity flows. If I wanted to work
with words, I would write a book. Sometimes, it seems that words are not enough,
at least for me. I am fascinated by materials,
forms, light and shadow, space, and contrasts. Regarding silence: as a viewer, I prefer not to be told anything. I like to
encounter, agree or disagree, with the work
independently of who produced it. The work
and the viewer reflect off each other, or not.
Explanations, most of the time, don’t modify
In the book that I edited, the only words
are those of the title: Marcela Astorga.
Espacio Habitado (Inhabited Space). It’s a
book to see, to feel; it has images, textures,
and a visual story. It is an artist’s book,
an object book, which I wanted to do like a
work of art in itself. I remember a definition
of cinema from a prominent director, who
said that cinema was, for him, image and
sound. I thought that was brilliant. I guess
with this, I want to emphasize my coherence. I am a silent person. I enjoy silence, it
helps me to return to the center. There are
other people’s words in the book: a critical
text by Rosa Olivares and a short story by
Gabriela Cabezón Cámara.
MCB: The relationship between the organic
and the inorganic runs through all of your
work. The materials themselves have a powerful symbolic meaning, which contributes
an extra connotation.
MA: The materials, as well as the objects,
carry meaning. I don’t know how to define
myself. I work with concepts and also with
forms and matter. Combining the organic
and the inorganic gives me possibilities
to put together the idea that I want to produce. I like the confrontation of different
natures. My primary organic material has
been leather, cow hide. I always have the
singularity of that skin in mind when I’m
working. A symbolic connotation? All skin
has it. The inorganic allows me to develop
the formal part of the object. I care about
design, and therefore it is part of my universe.
MCB: More than ever, contemporary
artists must work in an interdisciplinary
mode, connecting different fields of knowledge with different formal disciplines; water-
tight compartments have become obsolete. How do you feel about contemporary art
in general and the role of the artist today?
MA: Art, as it has always been, is anchored in the air of time. It is a way of representing
or presenting the human experience. It is humanity perceiving, playing with every intelligence, not just the intellectual. In today’s world—and referring to contemporary art—
knowledge, scientific and technological advances, our way of life, information, how we
communicate, what we eat, and new paradigms create a different cosmos from the one
we had 40 years ago, not to mention centuries ago. All of this new reality affects the
way of producing, and if it didn’t, I wouldn’t consider it art. An artist is someone who
can zoom in and out—zoom in on his reality to be able to process, reflect, and materialize.
The role of the contemporary artist is, I suppose, to open windows on aspects of his own
time, seeing through his particular world. I think the important thing is experimentation,
research, the pursuit of an image, and the development of an obsession; the techniques
or resources we use must have that goal.
María Carolina Baulo is an art historian and writer based in Buenos Aires.
S/T, 2014. Façade fragment, wood, and iron, 42
x 55 x 89 cm.