That purity is present in the mix confronts and agitates my ephemeral aesthetic convictions. I borrow these words from a poem by Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio and bend them to fit the art context. I have never found objects, images or works of art that are pure. In my own art practice, I feel no need to comply with the immaculate, timeless perfection that purity entails. On the contrary, I consider any art production or experience involving sensitivity to be open to free interpretation, subject to contingencies that may arise and all of existing things’ imperfections. In art, I believe that the mix goes beyond technical procedure. I see it as something that unfolds; an inaugural experience, one that is capable of leading to unsuspected correlations between forms, concepts and materials. Between sameness and difference. La pureza está en la mezcla (Purity Is in the Mix) is also an allusion: purity originates in the mix: its originality (its authenticity) is its proximity to its origin. In any case, if what we call purity does appear, it is in the invisible relationships between the gaze and what is gazed upon, what is felt, what is thought and what is said. It is there, in the mix of the real, the symbolic and the imaginary. H. Z. Buenos Aires, January, 2016
The production of Horacio Zabala is nourished indistinctively from Art History, socio-political accomplishments and cultural life. With the critical eye and the contemporary socio-political procedures, the artist interrogates the spectator proposing a deep reflection about the idiosyncratic plinths of reality, the systems that constitute our surrounding senses, the notion of liberty, rationality and territory, and the proper art world as a place of debate and encounter.
As an architect, Zabala gives the same value to projects as to finished Works of Art. With simple materials and an enormous power of synthesis, he designs propositions that are always the starting point for a future thought. His work in the 70s is gone through by the convulsed political climate of the time. Today, his perspective is more philosophical and exhibits specially towards two key productions in Art History: Monochromes – the exhaustion of representation and showing the reality (material) of painting – and readymades – meaning, objects of real life elevated to the category of works of art by inserting them in the legitimate art field. The antique purity of the former lives with the radical impurity of the latter in works of eloquence poetry.
During 1970, Horacio Zabala draws architectural plans with views and perspectives of different penitentiary spaces appointed to seclude the artists. Through them, he shows the possible place designated for creation in the context of persecution, censorship and repression that goes setting in the years immediately preceding the assumption of military dictatorship.
But in these same years, the artist treats proper art as a prison, calling the attention on the remoteness that its institutionalization imposes regarding to the everyday life situations. If any formulation done by an artist within the art circuit – even with a social or political goal – necessarily remains locked up in it, then art, perhaps, is also a prison.
The Fire and the Night Before I (1974) by Horacio ZabalaColección AMALITA
During the seventies, Horacio Zabala works with maps, putting into
manifest the tension between its graphic stability and the geopolitical
instability of the spaces which organize it. Through obstructions, texts,
distortions, fire, rubber stamps or literary references, he interrogates the
cartographic truths –and by extension, the ones of the reality and the world– in times of profound regional and political conflicts. The frequent usage of
school maps reminds us, as well, that through these we construct our notions
of identity, territory and nation.
In the recent years, Zabala places back a ban on the cartographic
clarity by obstructing the information of touristic plans with monochrome interventions.
But these plans no longer show the idea of a nation or an identity, but reproduce a metropolitan standardized vision, the undifferentiated image which marks the times of globalization.
The Hypothesis series combine monochromatic paintings with punctuation marks and mathematic symbols, creating conglomerates which remind us of logic or scientific propositions. The order in which they appear seems to give them coherence, but the elements that compose them belong to languages which are clearly incongruent. Do these propositions make any sense? Which are the requirements for something to have a meaning?
Other groups of monochromes possess titles which are oriented to certain interpretations. But these are just some triggers intended to awaken our associative abilities. In many cases, they recur to figures of everyday life or knowledge connected to popular culture (Seven days of the week, The four horsemen of the Apocalypse). Others emerge from homages tot some art historians have contributed fundamentally to the comprehension of its nature and possibilities (Kasimir Malevich, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage).
Texto incial: Horacio Zabala
Texto curatorial: Rodrigo Alonso