The displaced reality
Silvio Fischbein enrolls his activity within the contemporary art’s questioning and reflections. That is why, thinking in a text articulated with his work makes us to explore in his career the evidence that supports this statement.
It is not new that we live in a present time where uncertainty takes a relevant space and where there are, still, many contemporary art manifestations left to be understood. Thus, it exists, for example, a general agreement in thinking that in the very idea of “contemporary art” underlies the un-constraint of languages, ambiguity of senses, the delegitimisation of the auratic value of the artwork or dissolution of the aesthetic experience pleasant function, just to mention some of the trade marks of the current scene. It is also true, we are far from those conceptions that are based on accurate postulates capable of encompassing all the formulations using regulatory paradigms. And, above all, we are convinced that it is been a long time since the idea of art has decoupled from the concept of beauty and from the singularity that it guaranteed. Pinned to a need of permanent definitions of terms which blur the art specificities, we are immerse in a flow of ideas, many times only provisional, which Rancière calls “aesthetic regime of art” which enable new ways of understanding the probabilities lying there where the internal categories of art seemed to dissolve (Rancière, 2013.) According to the philosopher, it is there where it lays the possibility of thinking about perception, feeling and interpretation as resources to integrate the everyday prossaic world into the sphere of art. Thus, it redefines itself and it blurs the borders which divided the arts from the sensitive experience of the world. And it is, precisely, in the acknowledgement of the protagonism that acquiere the most banal and insignificant objects from everyday life, that we find a point of support to think Silvio Fischbein’s work. The object and its manipulation as a resource to be regarded as art regulates, in its multiple shapes, each one of the explorations where the artist takes the viewer into a playful activity which is not necessary innocent. In the territories where these explorations move, it is repeated, as leit motiv a disturbing game of polarities in perpetual tension. Thus, the innocent and the sinister, the utilitarian and the useless, the order and the chaos, the limit and the overflow, the predictable and the random, the near and the far away live together inside a narrative which expresses the relationship of the artist with the context making obvious his ascription to the process of the art today.
In the works of the early 2000, we already noticed the irruption of objects coming mostly from serial industrial production which highlights the urban and consumer contexts of its origen. Sometimes, it is organized based on a geometric order, a multitude of cotillion toys in vibrant colors, dominating the yellow, rose, green, white or pale blue, intertwined rhizomatic in textures which could expand into the infinite if it was not because of the frame or box which contains them and denies them the possibility of dispersion. Here we find variations of the combination game. While in some works chaos dominates composition, either through the oppression that provokes books oppressing the tiny toys, or because they are screwed into the wooden surface where they are mounted; in other works order defines image based on its disciplining to an orthogonal composition.
At the same time, proximity and alienation could be understood as two vectors which orientate Silvio Fischbein’s representative strategies in his manipulation of the object facing reality. In the first case, proximity is established through the familiarity between the viewers and the type of objects chosen by the artist. As it was already said, sometimes they are cotillion toys, others, the popular Kinder eggs, screws, films or photo film, paint tubes, brass rollers, everyday objects which are part of a “curiosity cabinet” so typical of the obsessive collecting spirit where there live together elements we can find in a hardware store, in a sweets or stationary store, or in the trunk of a child’s bedroom which makes it easy to have a “close” relationship between the work of art and the viewer. At the same time, the decontextualization of these objects from its ordinary environment and its unusual inclusion in the artistic sphere generates surprise and estrangement which problematises its primary sense. It is a new everyday logic which estimulates a relationship between art and life where it is not difficult to deduce its derivation from the dadaistic practices which valorated the free bond of the man with domestic life objects.
Particularly disturbing is the way Fischbein uses the cotillion babies. Its obsessive presence, by multiplying their use, leaves open the possibility of understanding it as an allusion to the individual massification in its primary and most vulnerable state, immerse in urban agglomerations which condemned him to an alienating anonymity. This leads to a dissolution of the subjectivity, to a state of anguish, where it is cornered and unrecognizable, to a state of strangeness of oneself, without a context and without a history. In many of his works we can see this situation: boxes where there are randomly accumulated dozens of little cotillion dolls which, at the same time, are even more sinister because of their own pink and light pale blue color and because of their candor that can be supposed because of its premature and innocent condition. This increases the degree of tension until it is almost unbearable.
Even then, we also identify the interest for the plot, a narrative coordinating resource based on the organization of small units of language inside a bigger group. In a plot schemed many times with wire, every piece is integrated into a bigger structure which gives it an aesthetic and narrative sense.
This strategy will be resumed in more recent works where he returns to the starting point from a new enunciation context. About this point we will be back later.
In any of these resources, Fischbein appeals to the aesthetics of the accumulation, debtor of the poetics of the new realism of the end of the 50’s and already detected in other texts about the artist. This way, his obsessive assemblings are evident, where the multiplied presence of objects creates a horror vacui feeling which the artist seems to try to neutralize using colors diversified in a broad spectrum palette as well as in the atention put in the quality of the materials, in the posibilities of brightness, texture and transparency. This solution claims new posibilities as Fischbein reorientates his inquires. In the serie called “Fragmentos urbanos” (“Urban Fragments”) between 2010 and 2011, we find him rehearsing unusual mappings structured in color surfaces. On these ones, he puts objects arranging them in a predetermined way and appealing to the accumulative effect typical from mass societies. We do not exactly percieve in this serie but rather a conciliation of notions which could be antagonic.
On the other hand, there is a careful formal and aesthetic search which could be seductive if it was not because, at the same time, Fischbein proposes an inquiry on the political order assuming a critic to the conurbation. It now appears a relationship between the natural and the artificial encripted into those big green spaces combined with overwhelming crowds stripped of all humanity. At the same time, as an answer to the light hedonism which could be read in the plastic dolls candor, the artist shows an ironic gesture by subverting this reading from their own languages and procedures; this way, those little cotillion toys accumulated and trapped in those gaudy color fields are metaphors of alienation in a society degraded by a trivialization of aesthetic value. But it also opens the possibility of thinking about them as a flow of migrants in a perpetual state of uprooting.
On the other hand, in the works grouped under the title “La Celebración” (“The Celebration”) a serie made in 2011, the artist proceeds through a vitalist impulse which takes him to focus on the function of light and the properties of the epoxy resin which allows him to highlight the palette’s protagonism. In this sense, this serie makes a contribution to his works of a bigger pictoric dimension by expanding, through light sources, the projection of color beyond the forms over the space where they are located, unlocking the potential energy of the pigment and encouraging an atmosphere of intense poetic charge.
Also, it puts aside both the frame that enclosed his pieces and the orthogonal concept that ruled his compositions. Preserving the playful character of his practice, the artist organizes structures of freer and more random shapes. That way, he stressed on testing the random using materials such as plexiglas which highlights those transparencies that were already present in his previous works. Here, certain composition rigors more regulated make way to bigger form experimenations. These exploration activities also take him to try other solutions in connection with the point of view of the viewer. Not only it dilutes the frame but also the wall idea as support. The decision of leaving the wall surface and choosing a location that can also be platform prompts to broaden the points of view, expanding the viewer’s perceptive universe and encouraging a bigger protagonism in their receptive activity.
During this period, the above mentioned resources are boosted and, at the same time, new ones appeared. Thus, there is not a surface anymore, neither regular nor irregular. It is the object emancipated from the support and inhabited by old presences (e.g. the cotillion) again manipulated in order to keep the viewer, with either irony, cuelty or tenderness, in a permanent state of surprise.
Contradicting its specific function, the furniture shows the useless and represents a nightmarish world. From iridescent boxes little grotesque plastic dolls hurry to go out while some strange Guinea brooms are tragically trapped in the epoxy resin. In its due time, like in Lewis Carroll oniric obsessions, objects lose the scale that the rational world has given them. And then, renewing the accumulation strategies, old suitcases, chairs, doors, windows or piano keyboards start getting a strange and threatening look with the intrusion of nails, dolls, shirts immobilized by the pigment and the epoxy. Installing the ordinary everyday in the field of the extraordinary seemed to be the ultimate basis in the serie´s meaning.
From 2013 to the present, the artist faces new challenges which he solves in “Multitudes” (“Crowds”) his last serie. Here, the theme of the plot we have mentioned in previous paragraphs in a fleeting manner, reappears in large format works. “Obra modular en dimensiones variables” (“Modualar Work in Variable Sizes”) is a structure to be placed embedded in the floor, organized on a base of 24 plastic modules coming from garden and park materials. Their size can reach twelve square meters and takes the form of a big rug where the viewer can freely walk. If it was not because in the interior of each module are accumulated, once again, the recurring cotillion little dolls ready for the sacrifice of their destruction. The plot which organizes the modular sequence generates the friendly exterior of a simple colored texture. Once more, the tension regulates the concept of the work.
On the other hand, on the large format frame support, Fischbein moves forward with new structures of monumental character, where the plot is now solved through the technique of knitting. Using the editor resource, as it happens in the cinema universe but far away from any technological procedure, the artist focus on the handmade, thorough and ancient craft of the knitter. The handmade knitt has implicit a time which is the thought reflexive time. It is an intimate and domestic craft but Fishbein magnifies it expanding its size to the limit, as if he wanted to monumentalize that extreme degree of humanity represented by the manual activity. Maybe it is one more strategy to rescue the man from the crowds diluted in the current time uncertainties.
Finally, we understand that Silvio Fischbein’s explorations answer to an impulse that tries to disarrange the certainties and, in that impulse the act is more important than the result because, that act, as the children´s act, is infinitely misterious, infinitely desirable.
Ranciere, Jacques (32013) Aisthesis “Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art” translated by Horacio Pons, Buenos Aires, Manantial.