May 20, 2018

La Pampa, Magic land for Literature and Painting

Pérez Celis - Museo Virtual

The dialogue between the works of Pérez Celis and the texts of Ricardo Güiraldes and Leopoldo Marechal was anticipated by José Emilio Burucúa, It has been verified with subsequent discovery of paintings’ archives dedicated to these authors.

It was a pretty morning, golden hued and agile. The desert rejoiced after its cool siesta. High overhead flew the lapwings screaming their joy. There was a dim bleating of sheep somewhere, and a cloud of gulls, hawks and vultures spun like a top over some skeleton in the directions of the crab beds.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

I breathed deep the breath of sleeping fields. The darkness stretched serene; fireflies sparks of a roaring blaze, gladdened it. I let the silence enter me and felt stronger for it and larger. Far off, a bell tickled.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

Ceferino Namuncurá

The morning sun on the sidelong of the glittering bodies, gliding their profiles and elongating their shadows in unusual grotesques.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

And the Man turned his eyes to the Earth; and the Earth believed to die now of anguish under the gentleness of those eyes as they identified in that Man the admirable lord who said: Be the Earth, and the earth was.

Leopoldo Marechal. Adán Buenosayres

Collection Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires
Paisaje ideal, Acrylic on canvas

Impressions are fast on the pampas, vanishing with our tracks into the enormous present.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

“The pampa with its immensity, with its dimension, projects us already towards areas that look like the stratosphere. At least this feeling I had in "La Pampa extemporal" where with orange and green rays I painted a satellite that I saw passing in the morning and at night."

Pérez Celis. Revista Nosotras, 1970

In line with this, the notion of Space became as clear to me as sorrow, facilitated by a plain where size is measured by horse sweat, and east or west, north or south became easily bearers of absence, and points to which the eyes darted, on the alert for fondly awaited comebacks. But for me, that sense of Space acquired the load of terror when, lying on the grass in full-moon nights, I raised my eyes to the sky where the southern constellations seemed to hang over me like the heavy grape bunches of a celestial vineyard […] I remember that, while watching that starry clouds of dust, my soul fell down a vertiginous abyss and became totally annihilated by the brutality weighing upon it from high above, furiously grinding it to powder as in a mortar.

Leopoldo Marechal. Adán Buenosayres

It was just getting light, and by the little window I saw sprinkled golden tints of the rising lights, long, and thin like the petals of a sunflower.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

Over the earth, suddenly darkened, an enormous sun rose, and I felt I was a man to whom life is good.A man with a will of his own and everything he needs.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

In the sky, the colors were fading down by the light of day.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

Because I have devoured creation and its terrible multiplicity of forms: ah, colors that call, wild gestures lines that make me die of love!

Leopoldo Marechal. Adán Buenosayres

Inauguration of the first Museum of Engravings - Reuquecura Third Prize LVII National Show of Plastic Arts (name of a famous mapuche chief)

The series of white paintings was born out of a strong impression made by a huge snowfall in Quemú Quemú, La Pampa. The technique used was saturation of all colors to white.

Suddenly there came a clearing in the sky. The rain powdered into a subtle mist,and as though in answer to my anxious need a ray of sun fell upon the field.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

The first lights in the sky began to chase the night away, and the stars were falling down towards other worlds. We skirted a saltpeter hollow and a chain of lagoons where our presence startled the half-asleep birds. It got lighter, and the animals from the pampa came to life.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

3rd Prize LIX National Show Plastic Arts

Henceforth I knew a state of soul that was not that of life nor that of death, but a frontier position in which life and death were alike and different. I saw myself between two nights: the night below, to say, that of the world that I was leaving and whose shapes, colors and sounds seemed to me already immensely far away; and the night above where my eyes did not see the slightest sign of dawn.

Leopoldo Marechal. Adán Buenosayres

"My symbology and sign repertoire ripened, developed. It does not circumscribe any longer to the primitive elements of remote civilizations, but conquers the territory of the new one, the less known, of the space. The cosmic"

Cited in “Pérez Celis levanta los ojos”, in Artiempo, Buenos Aires, 1969

The gleam of the mud bank and the gullies turned violet. The rough bed rocks gleamed like metal.The waters of the river turned cold as I watched, and the reflexions of things on the quiet surface had more color than the things themselves.The sky receded. The gold tints of the cloud turned red, then brownish grey.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

Impressions are swift on the pampa, spasmodic, vanishing with our tracks into the enormous present.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

The trail was as the fellow to the other trail,the sky remained blue, the air, though a little hotter, smelled the same.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

And my eyes became moist, like the eyes of a child lost in the woods, as I did not know yet that all that swarm of worlds could be crammed in the smallness of human reason because the intellect is a non-spatial essence, free from the three dimensions of Space. As I remember now those childhood tears, I think that many children must cry still in the plain under the burden of the southern nights so that joyful ways of ascension can be opened in the naked sky of the Homeland.

Leopoldo Marechal. Adán Buenosayres

“I try to express the great telluric force that radiates this region of our country.”

Pérez Celis a cosmonaut from La Pampa, Panorama Magazine 1969

Pérez Celis:
I lived in La Pampa for a while. This work was born reminding one night, when looking into the sky above I discovered that the Argentines we had the Universe in the same Pampa, within distance of our eyes. The whole galaxy is in our Pampa. Revista Gente 1981.

The field was desert again; hardly a trace of the rodeo remained either upon the plains or in my mind. It looked like having been all a shear dream denied by the void of the grasslands. The void that had something eternal about it.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

Further ahead, and at the Cuesta del Agua, they made me understand that symbols are alive with energy. Because there are symbols that laugh and symbols that cry. Symbols that bite like enraged dogs or kick like not-fully-broken horses, and symbols that open themselves up like fruits, trickling milk and honey. And there are symbols that lie in wait like time-bombs and one passes by them without suspicion, and they suddenly burst, but at their exact time.

Leopoldo Marechal. El banquete de Severo Arcángel

And there are symbols offering themselves to us like flexible springboards for the use of the flying soul. And symbols that lure us like baited traps that swiftly close on you when you touch them, mutilating or imprisoning unwary wayfarers. And there are symbols that reject us with their prickly barriers, but finally yield their ripe fig if you decide to take the risk of hurting your hand.

Marechal, Leopoldo. El banquete de Severo Arcángel

The light troubled me; farther there were shadows and something moved in them, making me focus my attention on its meaning... A memory came as a creak on the hill.

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

Don't we master anything in our own person? An unexpected encounter can present itself in the form of destiny, disrupting one in its own way of being? Are we the way we believe, or we do accept the facts as indications that reveal ourselves?

Ricardo Güiraldes. Don Segundo Sombra

A message from Pérez Celis for the artists of the new generation

Fundación Pérez Celis
Credits: Story

Fundación Pérez Celis
Designers Iván Villani and Luz Arias
Translations Tom Maver and Fundación Pérez Celis
Special thanks to José Emilio Burucúa

Request files at: fundacionperezcelis@gmail.com

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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