The work of David Lamelas (Buenos Aires, 1946) is unique in that it unites formal objectivism with the embodiment of the artist’s subjective experience and is marked by his time in different cities like Los Angeles, London, Paris and Berlin. This series, structured into three programmes, offers a tour through these cities as they appear in his work at different significant moments of his life between his break with Buenos Aires and his return there.
In his early works, the experience of displacement appears in his desire to represent cities in a neutral fashion, as the sum of spaces from which subjectivity seems to have been erased. A Study of Relationships between Inner and Outer Space (1969) and Time as Activity, Düsseldorf (1969) are based on an analytical approach to the urban space in which the city is seen as a set of knowledge systems, as the basis of geopolitical, economic and cultural data about which the artist is making an objective description. Later works, as different as The Invention of Dr. Morel (1999) and The Light at the Edge of a Nightmare (2002-2004), depict the artist’s emotional and creative return to Buenos Aires. In these works, space ceases to be the only protagonist; other characters emerge and the city no longer appears as a sum of spaces but as a landscape and a stage that is host to the dramatic action. While in the first works, the cities were only recognised by their titles, the abstract nature of the shots in his later works allows room for a portrait of places with emotional meaning for the artist.
Lamelas’ experience in Los Angeles at the end of the 1970s served as a moment of transition between his break with the city of his birth and his return there. In the pieces included in the third programme, made for television, the trust that his films placed in information gives way to truth understood as a game and the set as the perfect place to stage it.
At first glance, it may seem that there is no relationship between David Lamelas’ early structuralist films and his later narrative works which are imbued with a dramatic sense. However, his oeuvre as a whole constructs an architecture and set of common references that portray the artistic and living space where Lamelas contemplates his works.