Buenos Aires Herald. Sunday, July 18, 2004
Ants, spiders and bees
For the Herald
The title Ants, spiders and bees, the exhibition with work by
(1966, Mar del Plata) currently in room 2 at the Centro Cultural Borges refers
to the qualities exercised by these insects in their busy lives.
An ant is a symbol for consistent hard work to achieve a goal, a spider stands for the quiet lacing of a pattern, the drawing of an area that serves as home ground to her, and the bee will burr her busy pollen hunt among the flowers to produce a nectar, a delicious substance on which men will prey.
Martin Hollis writes in his “Invitation to philosophy”: “Sir Francis Bacon ...in his First book of aphorisms (1625) points out the following: “Those who have cultivated science have been men of experiments or men of dogmas. The men who experiment are like ants, they just collect and use; those who reason are like spiders, who knit their webs with their own substance.” In spite of his disdain, Bacon sees certain virtues in both of them, and recommends a mid course”, symbolized by the bees, who “gather material from the flowers in gardens and fields, but transform them and digest them thanks to their own power”.
Joglar found in these concepts the key and the structure for his installation. Ant style, he collects and hoards things. The question he asked himself were what are things for? Does one look at them? Does one bask in the knowledge that one owns them? Or does one find a use and another life for them?
Other vital questions came up before he started working for the show and for the very large room where he was to stage the installation. The whole point of an installation is to allow for the site chosen to dictate to the artist what it has to offer in terms of possibilities and stimuli. To set up work that has been made for other occasions is to exhibit not to install. While to install implies exhibiting as well. Joglar is a refined and ethical artist who works from deep introspection. So his first move was to study the space he was going to occupy with his work.
The room seemed to him extremely large, enormous. To an artist who always works with small objects this dull vast space must have seemed a desert. To work in it, a great challenge. It was looking at the floor that gave him the clue to the colour he would use for the tables –he worked installations on tables several times before. This time, he saw the floor as a table on which the others would float.
Once this first decision was taken, he abstracted himself from the visual world and from possible material plans, to “generate a climate inside myself, to ‘uninstall’ myself. I tried to lose the paths, the footprints to enter solitude.” This is clearly the way in which mystics enter the spiritual void to find within themselves the means to enlightenment. It is the road “of unknowing”. To enter one’s deepest layers beyond conscious memory and, certainly, beyond data and erudition, to find other answers and ways. It takes moral courage and faith to do this. Courage to accept that one does not know and that one may be lost, and faith in oneself, and in what one does. It speaks of his profound and formal commitment as an artist. And it illustrates a genuine creative process.
Light, he knew, was important to create a golden climate, to achieve the right temperature. The tables would work as desks, as an intimate area, the site for the imagination.
He worked in his studio on one table –there are seven in the show-, arranging, taking apart, rearranging the objects he would use, and then asking himself: How are we doing so far?
Joglar has worked before consistently on basic material found at the stationer’s, using paper, pens, pencils and other related paraphernalia to create objects and installations, exquisite minimal scenes that refer the viewer to a secret scenario.
He used again now the sort of items used to write and draw with and on, the sort of elegant but indiscriminate objects on a desk that pass unnoticed to most people. And with other elements such as neat, small cardboard boxes, marbles, subway or train tickets. Again, he recalls and divests with meaning the modest and apparently inconsequential physical elements related to quiet and uneventful occupations.
This aesthetically and conceptually successful exhibition refers the viewer to Victor Grippo’s tables, currently on show at the Malba –The Buenos Aires Museum of Latin American Art-. In Grippo the message is outspoken. He is celebrating the modest crafts openly by staging the tools of their trade as art pieces. In Joglar there is no willful message, there is the will to experience with what he enjoys.
The subdued lightning, from lamps hanging on the tables or standing on a table, creates a mysterious and romantic atmosphere. A subtle atmosphere that suggests other quiet romantic memories: “Nocturno” (2001), Jorge Macchi’s installation at the Centro Cultural Recoleta with round lamps on the ceiling imitating the old-fashioned drugstores street signs. And, even more surprisingly, the Lady of the Lamp, walking down twilit hospital corridors holding a lamp. Such is the strength and beauty of this skilled and refined installation by Joglar, that it crosses emotional and intellectual boundaries beyond semantic, graphic or argumentative interpretations.
Which is to say that the ant in him, borrowed from the spider, and was, by the power of faith and courage, converted into a bee.
Few exhibitions bring out so clearly the sense and meaning of a creative process and the worth of an artist.
This space: Proyecto Sala 2 at the Centro Cultural Borges, is an exhibition program founded in 2003 by Graciela Hasper, a Buenos Aires based artist. In 2004 the shows are co-produced by Hasper and by Victoria Noorthoorn, Argentine curator with extensive experience in New York and in Buenos Aires