Guillermo Kuitca (Buenos Aires, 1961) is one of the most internationally renowned, contemporary Argentine artists. When he was only thirteen years old he held his first solo exhibition at the Lirolay Gallery in Buenos Aires, although his artistic maturity begins in the Eighties.
Sonia Becce, curator of this exhibition along with Paul Herkenhoff, refers in the catalogue to the curious circumstance of "inverted exile" in Kuitca, alluding that the artist lives and produces entirely in Buenos Aires but exhibits his work outside his country. Since 1986 Kuitca's work has never been displayed in his hometown, a fact which is now corrected with this touring exhibition at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA).
His influence of psychoanalysis, coming from his mother’s side, Wagner’s music, Judaism, the work of Pina Bausch or Borges’ literature make up some of the more or less implicit references to his work that interacts with the production of artists such as Anselm Kiefer or Gerhard Richter regarding powerful paintings.
This exhibition at the Palacio de Velázquez reviews his career from 1982 until the date of some of his most important series such as: Nadie olvida nada, El mar dulce, Si yo fuera el invierno mismo, La Tablada Suite, The Ring and Siete últimas canciones. In addition, the exhibition includes the Argentinian artist’s apartment floors which he often repeats throughout his career, in addition to his maps of cities and roads. Together with paintings, a collection of drawings are displayed that sometimes act as a counterpoint and others as a prelude to the pieces being exhibited.
The tour starts with Nadie olvida nada (1982) where Kuitca uses the doors, windows and furniture of his study as media for his paintings. In these works the bed appears as a paradigmatic spatial unit. The space destined for birth and death, sex and sleep largely structures the Argentine artist’s work, it is a recurring motif in his production. The bed sometimes works as a sign of human presence and other times helps quantify individuals. This motif even becomes the support of his painting and for one huge installation made up of fifty mattresses on which Kuitca has represented road maps.
In the artist's creative process there is a subjective view of what is next, from the interior of a room, he progressively moves further back, from the bedroom to the apartment, from there to the lobby, from the lobby to the building, from the building to the city and to the country, up to even the cosmos, a distance that is made through the years. Related to this is the representation of stadia, prisons or halls such as: the Colón theatre, La Scala, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera House, the Liceo and Covent Garden. This means the transition from showing the scene to exhibiting to the spectator, or to their absence, as Kuitca abandons the representation of the human figure with the Siete últimas canciones series.
Kuitca has worked as a set designer in various productions where he has played with the same spatiality present in his paintings. One of the last, displayed in this exhibition, is Terminal (2000) accompanied by Trauerspiel (2001), two versions of the same motif: the luggage conveyor belt at an airport. In its surroundings, space is annulled by a ghostly emptiness which leaves the conveyor belt luggage-less and weightless in the centre of the imposing composition. Terminal and tragedy (trauerspiel in German) are linked together, as was done in the series The Ring dedicated to Richard Wagner and equally present in this exhibition.
MALBA. Colección Constantini, Buenos Aires (6 June - 18 August, 2003)
Reina Sofia Museum's Publications