Catalog text for the “TERRITORIOS” (Territories) show, part of the series La Línea Piensa, held at the Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires, Argentina, December, 2011/February, 2012.
The City as Metaphor.
by Luis Felipe Noé
When writing the prologue for an exhibition, the title always occurs to me after having written the text, but this case was an exception to that rule. The city as a metaphor is the first thing that came to mind as I began the task of writing about an artist who is much (very much) younger than I am, but whom I have known for practically a quarter century. As such, I know that his theme is always the same—the city—and that his manner of handling this theme always evolves. It isn’t a question of obsession, but rather a metaphorical issue as an vital consciousness. The cause—urban problems—is reiterated, but in a state of constant evolutionary consciousness. The definition of metaphor I extracted from an encyclopedia is “rhetoric figure that consists of substituting the actual term for another related to it by way of analogy. In order for this analogical substitution to be carried out, there must be some semantic component of both terms that is identical”. Panosetti’s urban metaphor functions like a mirror—in a relationship of analogy—where what is reflected is in the mirror and the mirror is in what is reflected. Panosetti elaborates both the image of his urban estrangement and his identification as citizen simultaneously through drawing, in other words, with a line that defines concepts that come to be known only at the moment in which they are formulated. But he then adds adjectives in the form of color, in such a way that his drawings can be contemplated as paintings (even when they only make use of black and white, treated as colors). And what is it that lies in the depths of his metaphors, above and beyond the obviousness of externalizing (in Spanish, metáfora, or meta-fora, implies to put outside) his relationship with the urban setting as object? Just like any mirror, he inverts the written word—he frequently appeals to text—but its content is the secret of a man trapped within his alienation. His works recur to three languages—line, color and words—and at the same time, they clarify and confound one another, surpassed by the metaphor: no one of them serves on its own because what they aim to elucidate is precisely elusiveness. His works show the city like so many monuments, but at the same time, like men or mountains, that is, they are foreign to Nature yet identify with it, they are monstrous and they are related to us. Now that people speak about visual poetry, above all with the written word as image in mind, there is a tendency to forget that to represent something means naming it, and that as a result, the definition of visual poetry should be found in the inter-relation between images and their implicit content. If not, how can we refer to Odilón Redón? But Omar Panosetti’s poetry is clearly of another time and place; Buenos Aires is the place it speaks of, between the 20th and 21st Centuries.
Foreword by Omar Panosetti, Text for catalog shows «WORK» in the Museo Evita.
Do you see out the window? Or What do you see through that window?
By Omar Panosetti
“Sin pan y sin trabajo” («Without bread and without work»)
Argentina in 1894 is frozen in the strokes of Ernesto la Cárcova’s magnificent work. The Argentina depicted is the aftermath of one of the most important economic crisis of the 19th century, in 1890.
The empty table and waiting utensils came to symbolize the hunger and idleness caused by lack of employment.
The man is looking at the closed factory and striking the table with clenched fist full of anger and helplessness because it is not running. There is nothing this marginalized man can do. Perhaps the most raw example of the acuity and permanence of the poverty that dominates is that he cannot even make enough to support a tiny woman, with undernourished breasts trying to feed to their baby.
And I wonder, “What is happening outside of that window?” and “What is happening in that room?”
From the room of «without bread and without work» you can see empty factories.
He sees a factory where he previously worked and now is not running. Now waiting.
He saw it hundreds of times. Hundreds of times he saw factories running and then close.
The same thing that I see in my world. But in the factories he sees they only appear to be empty. They take material inside them; material in the form of the desires and dreams of the workers that inhabited them. They motivate my work. I feel the spirits of the town, like resident ghosts. Perhaps if we listen closely, we’ll be able to hear the machines working. Then, see smoke rising out of the chimneys. And in some cases they are guarded by the watchful presence of a strange keeper who is careful to keep these dreams inside, and not let anyone else in. The guardian is a witness of those dreams and of workers’ wishes. He has the exclusivity of being the only one who can see them, but also the burden of not being able to do anything with them. He cannot do anything for the dreams to flourish. He is always there, watching, and even when it seems that he is sleeping… Beware! He is warning us that nothing should disturb this order.
Those dreams are in us and in our fathers which led me to make this work. They sometimes break the struggle between factories, the buildings and the surrounding environment. Nature sometimes surrounds my factories. They are fighting with the earth and the green that wants to engulf them, because they are uncomfortable witnesses to the passing of time.
For a moment stopping in the green death, in the smoke from the chimneys and the liquid coming out of them, I like to keep it there, as a prisoner, and like a hunter I trap that moment standing still in my vision. Standing still as the worker who looks out the window.
Foreword by Daniel Santoro Text for catalog shows «WORK» in the Museo Evita.
por Daniel Santoro
We should not be surprised if we are invaded by a feeling of anguish when looking upon these buildings, trapped in their own impossibilities.
This might happen because the structures seem to be self-generated by an internal intelligence.
Meanwhile, a fluid phantom overflows the scene and runs off in various directions.
These buildings are gigantic symbolic structures that elaborate their own object of joy, acquiring their meaning from an opening around which a volumetric language is displayed.
It is an ominous vision, that seems to be on the verge of revealing a certain secret or a long forgotten past tragedy, or maybe it is a physical language capable of unraveling a gigantic urban hysteria.
We do not quite understand if there is any logic to the functional structure since these are truly landscape traumas, leftovers from a convoluted city with unproductive factories. Factories that emulate people transformed into buildings or vice versa, proliferating in savage lands.
Watching their backs against a hostile nature, the characters carry backpacks that resemble solidified desires. These are the inhabitants of this zone of friction between technology and nature, an outpost of technology deep within the forest. We could think of these paintings as an exhibition or as a treaty on pathological architecture