Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MUDO Mauro Koliva

Mauro Koliva
Proyecto: la linea piensa
Centro Cultural Borges
March 5 to March 29, 2009

Mauro Koliva's latest exhibition at Centro Cultural Borges, consisting of about thirty drawings in colored ballpoint pen on paper, is a revelation of sorts; a revelation of the ordinary, the overlooked, the seemingly meaningless - but not of the obvious. The drawings in these three series, el objeto mudo, el objeto salvaje, and el objeto irresponsable(s), look like sculptures, objects made of wood, twine, fur, also leftover mattresses, couches, boxes, assorted odds and ends. Initally, Native American or Indio imagery comes to mind; but in that case the objects are supremely utile. All the same there is a warmth, a veracity, an organic connection to our illogical world, perhaps a mirroring of it. These objects really are thoughts, ways of looking at the world, ways that are silly, that are necessary, that emanate from the spirit (as artists keep the spirit alive, it's become their job). Exuding a similar strangeness in the ordinary that the musical group DEVO once uncovered, the works resonate with the inner reality, so often completely at odds with the outer reality: a collection of things with meaning added. The world the artist inherits makes no sense to him, so he needs to create things, to disarrange things; he makes a "real" world to suit his inner reality.

Each of the series fulfills a subtly different function for the artist and the viewer. Mudos: that which can't be put into words but which yearns to speak. The repressed or inexpressible active, as opposed to the "passive" Irresponsables; an astonishing way station between being and doing. Salvajes: that which doesn't want to be put into words, existing quite happily (or angrily, in some cases) beyond our boundaries; energies destined to live on in their own manner. Irresponsables: age-old superior objects of "spiritual use" (though inutil or irresponsable for most purposes), most effective in their way as simple declarations of munificent being.

Mr. Koliva has an extraordinary talent, beyond his precocious ability to draw: he makes everything look old using only lines (and a few dots) on a white backround. There are dark clots of color where the lines collect, aiding the "old photograph" quality of the drawings; but there is a palpable, almost supernal "glow" here, absent from photographs, present in memory. These are “drawings” in both senses of the word because the objects acquire significance from us as we look, accrue or grow meaning, drawing out from us our own interior mythologies and histories. You have to see this for yourself to understand it. We can invest our whole selves into this work, which just might be the defining quality of fine art.

Without going into details of specific images, I can say that if you want your senses refreshed, and your curiosity stimulated, you should take advantage of the chance to see this show. One of the better shows of drawings I've seen (another was Juan Martin Juares at Braga Menendez) and very enjoyable even if you generally "don't like art." As if. Make your way there and come back amazed, and renewed; you'll forget all about the heat, the crowds, and the Subte.

Nick Thabit
Bs As 3/2009

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