“Somewhere between the mud and the scum.”
Samuel Beckett, Molloy
Luisa Strina is pleased to present “Friction”, the second solo show of Bernardo Ortiz at the gallery.
“Sometimes, for pure fancy, I like to think of drawing as a projection technology. The (re)productive game of projecting that which does not yet exist depends on the ability to induce a visualization. And the success of that visualization depends, in turn, on certain generalized conventions about how we see what is yet to exist. These conventions are largely conditioned by the tools used to project (pencil, charcoal, paper, rulers, setsquares, paintbrushes, computer programs, for example). However, it is paradoxical that even if a projection is determined by a tool, in order for it to be a projection we can’t see any trace of that tool. We can’t see the etching lines, only the image, we can’t see the pixels, only the simulation.
Conceived as a projection technology, drawing by hand is an outdated method. Pencil, charcoal, paint all leave behind a quivering track behind on an opaque support – any technology, however, aspires to efficacy, and efficacy demands transparency and precision. An artist – myself, for example – insists, on a different time, on slowness, on opacity and on friction. They even insist on using such mechanisms as artistic mechanisms. But these mechanisms are not such because of what they offer “productively”, quite the contrary. They are artistic because they enter into dispute with time. Friction is a dispute with time. In this dispute, despite the intentions of the discipline, inaccuracies and accidents are introduced point to what isn’t there. This is the premise of the exhibition.”
Bernardo Ortiz’s practice is defined by the careful interweaving of drawing, philosophy, design and writing in works whose support — albeit decisive — acts as a space of both convergence and tension. Infinite layers of oil or enamel, repeated decontextualized words carefully placed on a paper recalling a constellation of stars, hundreds of subtle lines made in graphite, diminutive marks in Chinese ink or gouache, or a succession of methodical and random folds, are just but a few of the formal strategies employed by the artist; besides emphasizing the two-dimensionality of the support, these strategies lay stress on the significance of the act of doing. Completed by way of long accumulation processes that suggest the passing of time, the works on view seek to highlight the notion of surface as a catalyst territory where the pictorial, the literary and the printed come together in a visual and conceptual game based on the vocabulary of modern painting. Free of frames and always ‘exposed’ so as to manifest their vulnerable nature and apprehend their materiality, Ortiz’s drawings are not only subtle commentaries about painting, but also reproductions on a support that articulate the complex relation between image and text.
Galeria Luisa Strina (press release)