CHAPTER II

FORMS THAT

ADMINISTER

THE BODY

Analyzing the relationship between forms and bodies, Forms that Administer the Body proposes dwelling on the notion of body politics. More precisely, it wants us to consider the reorganization of the body’s meanings from a perspective other than that represented—throughout the long history of art—by the external gaze on the (female) body. This chapter includes Liliana Maresca’s performances with the objects that she herself created as photographed by Marcos López; the photographic records of the relationship that Dalila Puzzovio established with casts, her “shells,” orthopedic remains she collected from the hospital; the replica of Ananké Asseff’s face she cast in bronze; the soft shapes that surrounded the body of Milagros de la Torre’s mother, the clothes that she documented with pre-digital photographic processes. When we refer to “forms that administer the body,” we also reflect on the downgrading of the administrative policies that institutions exercise over the body. Here, the portrait is a pretext. It refers, more exactly, to the exploration of a liberated legal territory, for which we do not have to—or we would not have to—ask for permission. 

Andrea Giunta, Rethink Everything notes.

Click on the images for more information

Liliana Maresca navigates the body and positions it in relation to objects, to her objects, which act as an extension of herself, of her own body. In this juxtaposition, in this coexistence, she reformulates private life. It is her, her naked body, among the forms she created with objects found in the garbage. Cirujeo, or “scavenger,” is the word that María Gainza used. In a 1983 photo- graph, among the montage of found objects, we see her pubis, a breast, her buttocks. Maresca reestablished informalism through the body and intro- duced eroticism. Instead of the patriarchal gesture of joining fragments with grandiose gestures—nails, hammers—she explored the fissures in what was found at the level of her skin.

 

Andrea Giunta, Rethink Everything notes.

If you accept a set of rules framed with good taste (determined, on the other hand, arbitrarily), the result will be the products of which official art is comprised, art that most people gladly accept because it shows them the rose-colored world they want to see. For example, someone might prefer an Athenian Venus sculpted in marble than a piece like mine, built with scraps (cardboard, wood, iron, and discarded material). Here sculptors don’t have access to those expensive materials to work with, but we do have garbage, discarded things, and a small margin to transform them into something else that shows reality.

Liliana Maresca, interview by Alejandro Dahia, “Una escultura underground desgrana el espíritu punk,” La Razón (Buenos Aires),

January 12, 1987; republished in Liliana Maresca. Documentos, ed. Graciela Hasper (Buenos Aires: Libros del Rojas, 2006), p. 166.

Dalila Puzzovio made Cáscaras (Shells) in 1963, and the documentation is from a performance photographed by Rubén Santantonín. The images portray the relationship between these hollow forms, which were inhabited and molded by a body, where the memory of the skin’s warmth and the material pulsates, surfaces she resignifies and places close to her own body. The scene plays out on a roof terrace under strong sunlight, with buildings under construction providing a backdrop that signal the rhythm of an expanding city. Those were years in which the population density in Buenos Aires intensified. The wash hanging out to dry, the pose, the structure that activates the relation between the forms: they ignite an age of urbanity and a changing relationship between form and body. The forms were installed at different heights in a gallery then known as Lirolay, directed by Germaine Derbecq, a French-born artist and art critic living in Argentina, who promoted avant-garde art. The images of this exhibition highlight the extent to which Dalila disruptively intervened with these bundles of shells of lives, with this arte de las cosas (art of things), in the artistic milieu of Buenos Aires. .

Andrea Giunta, Rethink Everything notes.

As the land, the Earth, is a plain invariably extended before our eyes, a variegated sprawl, so too are these works with their alphabet of broken and buried human figures. In 1962, while waiting to be treated in the traumatology service of the Italian Hospital, a nurse passed by with unusual bundles of orthopedic casts. These silhouettes telegraphed to me a continuous discourse of allegorical power that defied all the avant-gardes. Each discarded torso or leg contained secret knowledge. Through these “shells” of nonexistent perspectives, but with horizons and grounded theories of proportion, I tried to achieve a balance between the absent human figure and objects of the external world; between what can be confessed, the transparent, and the hidden. In front of these orthopedic casts, the viewer becomes a voyeur, looks and does not hear the drama that they sense. A continuous discourse of volume without color, each with its own provocative and enigmatic demand. A fresh sense of the dramatic, discovering the joke that one indulges in. These hollowed astral “shells” that we invariably leave floating are familiar talismans, where all has been said and preserved, and where no word is the last.

Dalila Puzzovio, Notes about Cáscaras, 1998. Dalila Puzzovio archive.

Click on the images for more information

Click on the images for more information

Installation views of the exhibition Cáscaras , 1963, Lirolay Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Only dream the unspeakable, just do it until it is. Establish your own sea, your enormity.

Ananké Asseff

A replica, a mold, a cast of her own face, Ananké Asseff’s mask establishes a self-centered reflection. Between the skin and the bronze, the process institutes a transitional space. It is interesting to observe the extent to which, in this small sculpture, a distinct concept of self-portraiture—a genre common to several artists in this exhibition—is set in motion. In this case, it is not an external record on paper; rather, it is the relief that preserves the skin, the shape of the face in space. And yet she does so through a material that, in a sense, dissolves the analogy, as we see it differently. The metal is not the skin, nor is it the parallel visual record generated by the photographic image. Intimacy and distance—a focus of attention that contains affect and strangeness. The piece was part of a 2019 installation, Un Otro-Lugar (An Other-Place), that also included a banner and a video.

 

Andrea Giunta, Rethink Everything notes.

In Soñar mi propio mar (To dream my own sea), which is the replica of my face, I left all the marks, pores, and cracks of this casting, taking it as a kind of rawness to start a new path. I also believe that the position, face down to the side, speaks of a waking or dreaming situation, of waking up or not waking up, of how awake humanity is in terms of consciousness in our dealings with others, in our relationship with the environment.

Ananké Asseff, Rethink Everything, Talk #1, May 30, 2020.

Click sobre la imagen para más información

Milagros de la Torre invokes absent bodies from the vestiges, the forms, the clothes intended to cover them. Stockings, shoes, a dress, are duplicated onto the negative. Remnants of human contact are left imprinted by the forms that contained them. The images are the result of a halted development process, inverted negative images, almost an X-ray. It is deeply moving that the empty clothes she photographs are her mother’s. A portrait in absentia? A homage? A shrine? Here we are confronted with objects that are skin, affects, remembrances, the memory of a mother’s body. A body that is disassembled into the soft forms that contained it. We navigate this dark series, full of allusions, through the potential meanings of the image.

Andrea Giunta, Rethink Everything notes.

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-27 at 23.14.28.pn

These works belong to a series De la Torre developed in 1992 around garments and the stories they tell. The artist depicted clothing that once belonged to her mother using photogravure, a mechanical process that etches a photographic image onto a plate. Printed in negative form on very thin paper, these ethereal, spectral-like images evoke the ways our household possessions tie us to our families and our ancestors. De la Torre’s representations make me think of a phrase by Stephen Dedalus, the main character in James Joyce’s Ulysses: “What is a ghost? Stephen said with tingling energy. One who has faded into impalpability through death, through absence, through change of manners."

Pablo Helguera, Notes Raid the Icebox Now with Pablo Helguera: Inventories / Inventories, RISD Museum, New York, United States.

Click on the images for more information

The 1992 series Untitled (Hanger, Stockings…),, was created in Lima, during my brief trips to work in the darkroom. I was working on the images taken in Cuzco for my project Bajo el Sol Negro (Under the black sun) (1991–1993). It was a time when I was constantly traveling between Lima and Cuzco. Both Bajo el Sol Negro and Sin Título are based on a rudimentary technique then used by the photographers in Cuzco’s main square, who for reasons of time and cost, used photographic paper instead of acetate negatives, to be exposed inside the large format camera. We are talking about a pre-digital era, when one followed a gradual and reflective process to produce images. Sin Título uses a narrow, vertical, and intimate format, a “portrait” rather than a horizontal “landscape” format. The pieces measure only ten by five centimeters. The public has to physically approach them to be able to see them. The series presents different items of women’s clothing, all in negative, beginning with the image of an empty hanger and ending with a hand coming out of the frame. All of them, in sequence—hanger, stockings, long socks, sock, dress, shoes, hand—are framed by corner pieces typically used to insert photographs in family albums or in cataloging systems. The clothes I used belonged to my mother. The fact that the images are inverted black-and-white negatives—although they are tinged with a pale beige tone—indicates the idea of not being resolved, without a tangible conclusion or a precise definition of what this feminine clothing—or even the feminine—represents and signifies. They remain ambiguous and the absence of the body is evident.

 

Milagros de la Torre, Rethink Everything, Talk #1, May 30, 2020.

‘There are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it’
 

Edith Wharton

BIOGRAPHIES | CHAPTER II

Liliana Maresca (Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, 1951 - † Buenos Aires, 1994)

From the early 1980s, she was an emblematic figure in the Argentine art scene. Her work is part of collections such as: Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires, Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires, Museum of Fine Arts of Buenos Aires, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rosario (Argentina); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Spain); Tate Modern (England), among others. In recent years, her work has been included in exhibitions such as Verboamérica, MALBA (2016); Radical Women. Latin American Art, 1960–1985, Hammer Museum, Brooklyn Museum and Pinacoteca de São Paulo (2017–2018); and her retrospective El ojo Avizor, Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (2017).

Dalila Puzzovio (b. 1942). Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Surrealist painter Juan Batlle Planas and the Conceptual artist Jaime Davidovich between 1955 and 1962. She was one of the thirty artists to participate in the exhibition New Art of Argentina (1964), organized by the Walker Art Center and the ITDT. Until 1985, she designed costumes for film and theater, and worked in the fashion industry. During the 1980s and 1990s, she carried out outstanding architectural projects. Until 1990, she collaborated with various magazines as a writer and illustrator. Throughout her career, she obtained various recognitions: Di Tella International Award (1967), First Prize Biennial of Lima Peru (1967), and the ArteBA Tribute Award to the Great Masters (2007), among others. She lives and works in Buenos Aires.

Ananké Asseff (b. 1971). Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Visual artist. Her artworks integrate national and international collections, both public and private, such as Tate Modern (Britain), J. Paul Getty Museum (USA), Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art (Cuba), ARTER (Turkey), National Museum of Fine Arts (Argentina), Castagnino+MACRO Museum (Argentina), Caraffa Museum (Argentina), among others. She has participated in the Havana Biennial (2009), Curitiba Biennial (2017) and BIENALSUR (2017). She participated in numerous exhibitions in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States, France, Switzerland, and China.

MIlagros de la Torre (b. 1965). Lima, Peru / Currently based in New York, USA.

She studied Communications Sciences (University of Lima) and received a BA (Hons) Photographic Arts (University of the Arts London). She works with a conceptual approach to the photographic medium since 1991. Her first solo exhibition, curated by Robert Delpire, was presented at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (1993). She has received the Rockefeller Artist Grant, the Romeo Martinez Prize and the Young Ibero-American Creators Prize (1998). De la Torre was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship (2011), The Dora Maar Fellowship (2014), and was the recipient of a “Merited Person of Culture Medal", Ministry of Culture, Peru (2016). Her work is part of permanent museum collections in the United States, Latin America, and Europe.

See other chapters ....