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, Conversatorio /Talk #1, May 30, 2020.

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

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

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, Conversations /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)

Liliana Maresca was a key figure who participated in the artistic scene since the early 80’s, starring the enthusiastic young bohemian that detonated Buenos Aires from the early years of democracy rapidly becoming an inflection figure, who initiated and developed many of the avant-garde that characterized the art of 90’s. Her body of works include painting, objects, sculptures, installations, performances and photoperformances. Her artworks reflected the neo-dada spirit, the minimalist models and the conceptual strategies that dominated the art scene in the second half of the century in Argentina, crisscrossed with the iconographic repertoire of alchemy and the spiritual quests overall, braving herself by the technological resources that the era offered her, without ever forgetting the necessary poetic elaboration. In Maresca’s work exists the will to place herself outside the conventions and also the desire to point the limit to certain territories. These principles that had placed her in a resistance plane, are the ones that have provided her work with an unique substance. Her works today are part of renowned collections such as: MALBA, Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina; MAMBA, Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina, MNBA, Museum of Fine Arts of Buenos Aires, Argentina; MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rosario, Argentina; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; TATE Modern, London, England, among others..

Dalila Puzzovio (b. 1942). Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Born in 1942, Dalila Puzzovio, was recognized in her artistic career in Argentina for merging Pop Art, fashion and conceptual art. Between 1955 and 1962 she studied with surrealist painter Juan Batlle Planas and conceptual artist Jaime Davidovich. Her first Informalism exhibition was held in 1961 at the Lirolay Gallery in Buenos Aires; and the following year, in the conglomeration of Rafael Squirru, committed to the idea of an “aesthetic renaissance” in Argentina, she participates in the first exhibition dedicated to objects, entitled Men Before Men (1962); where she exhibits her first “plaster”, next to the first mattress of Marta Minujín, and the first tie by Rubén Santantonín, amongst others. For her second individual exhibition Cáscaras 1963, curated by Rafael Squirru, she showed objects made largely of discarded plasters and other materials. She referred to these objects as “astral shells” (astral shells) because she felt that they retained the aura of the bodies they once had and were a type of medical rehabilitation. It was during the 60s, in Argentina, where several artists created the “art of things” or pop art and Dalila Puzzovio quickly became one of its protagonists, and an inspiring muse in the artistic area of the mythical Instituto Di Tella, of Buenos Aires. Puzzovio was one of thirty artists to participate in the New Art of Argentina exhibition in 1964, organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Torcuato Di Tella Institute. In 1964, together with Berni, Ciordia, Cancela, Carlos “Charlie” Squirru et al., in the gallery Lirolay she is part of the installation, “Death.” Puzzovio also collaborated with her husband Charlie Squirru, in artistic actions that fused performance with daily life. In 1965, for example, the large format poster they installed at the intersection of two of the main avenues of Buenos Aires that read, Why are they so great. The message was an advertisement that they themselves carried out in an act of irony towards their trajectories. Then Puzzovio began to receive multiple awards and recognitions. First, she received the National Di Tella Prize for Dalila Self-Portrait (1966), made by commercial painters and incorporating the image of the body of a famous international model, Veruschka. A year later, in 1967, Puzzovio received the Di Tella International Prize for her work Dalila double platform, a steel object that enclosed what she called “the new divine proportion” consisting of twenty-five pairs of leather double platform shoes bright fluorescent colors (being the first artist to make use of these strident colors in her works). Until 1985, Puzzovio designed costumes for cinema and theater and worked in the fashion industry. During the 80s and 90s, she made and concreted outstanding architectural projects. Until 1990 she also collaborated in several magazines as a writer and illustrator.Puzzovio works and lives in Buenos Aires..

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

Ananké Asseff is a visual artist, with a formation in scenic arts and integrates different disciplines and languages. Her work includes photography, installation, video, object and performance. Her work belongs to renowned private and institutional Collections such as Tate Modern in London, J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam from La Habana and ARTER in Istanbul. From Argentina: Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Fondo Nacional de las Artes, the Museo Castagnino+MACRO, FOLA Fototeca Latinoamericana, the Museo Emilio Caraffa and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Argentina. She has represented Argentina in international Biennials such as La Habana (2010), Bienal de Curitiva (2017), BIENALSUR (2017-2018). Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Holland, Mexico, Paris, Spain, Switzerland, United States and China.She was nominated by the Infinity Award (USA) in Art category (2017). She has received different awards and distinctions such as Konex prize in Photography, awarded by the Fundación Konex (2012), Grant from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes in (2001, 2012,2014 and 2018), ), Premio Mamba-Fundación Telefónica Arte y Nuevas Tecnologías (2011), Premio Federico J. Klemm a las Artes Visuales (2009), scholarship from the Academy of Media Arts KHM in Germany and a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada (2004 - 2005), Premio Leonardo a la Fotografía awarded by the Asociación Argentina de Críticos de Arte (2002), Premio Salón Banco Ciudad (2002), Premio Rioplatense de Artes Visuales (2004), subsidy from the Fondo Metropolitano de las Artes de Buenos Aires (2007), among others. Her work has been published in diverse specialized publications since 2002. In 2012 she published her book ANANKÉ ASSEFF: WORKS 2001- 2012. Ediciones Lariviere, Buenos Aires. Asseff has developed in the Performing Arts (dance and theater) between 1990 and 2005. She was in charge of the artistic direction of the Biennial Foundation Medifé Arte y Medioambiente 2016-2017. She lives and works in Buenos Aires.

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

Milagros de la Torre, visual artist has been working with the photographic medium since 1991. She studied Communication Sciences, University of Lima and received B.A. (Hons) in Photographic Arts, London College of Printing. She received the Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts, Photography in 2011 and the Dora Maar Fellowship from The Brown Foundation in 2014, the Rockefeller Foundation Artist Grant and was awarded with the Romeo Martinez Photography Prize and the Young Iberoamerican Creators Prize (Photography) for her series The Lost Steps. In 2003, her artist book Trouble de la Vue (Paris: Toluca Editions) was published, with text by Jose Manuel Prieto and design by Pierre Charpin. Her work has been reviewed by Art in America, The New Yorker, Wall St. Journal, The Guardian, London, TIME Magazine, Beaux Arts Magazine, Paris, Jeu de Paume Museum Magazine, Paris, ArtNexus, Arte al Dia, EXIT Magazine, Atlantica Journal, Spain among others. ‘Milagros de la Torre, Photographs 1991-2011’, an extensive monograph was recently published by RM Editorial (México/Barcelona), Toluca Editions (Paris) and Lariviére Ediciones (Argentina) with a text by Marta Gili, Director of Jeu de Paume Museum, Paris. Her work has been exhibited in institutions such as: Palais de Tokyo, Centre National de la Photographie, Paris The International Center of Photography, NY; El Museo del Barrio, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Phoenix Art Museum; Art Museum of the Americas, Washington DC.; Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; FotoFest International, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Casa de America, Madrid; Fotobienal de Vigo; Fundacion la Caixa, Barcelona; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico Fotoseptiembre, Mexico; Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico; Museum of Modern Art, Mexico; MARCO Museum, Monterrey; Museo Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil; III Mes Internacional da Fotografia, Sao Paulo; Itau Cultural, Sao Paulo; Kunstforeningen, Denmark; Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires; II Johanesbourg Biennale, South Africa; VI Bienal de La Habana, Cuba; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Photographers Gallery, London. Sala Alcalá 31 de la Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid; Museo de Arte de Lima, MALI, Peru. She has been featured in important leading national and international publications. Her work has been exhibited broadly and is part of permanent museum collections including: The Art Institute of Chicago;  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge; Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey; Yale University, New Haven; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston; El Museo del Barrio, New York; The Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence; Diane and Bruce Halle Collection, Phoenix; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Essex Collection of Art from Latin America, U.K.; Universidad de Salamanca, Spain; Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico; Museo de Arte de Lima, MALI, Peru; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Argentina; MALBA, Argentina.

See other chapters ....