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Painting without paint? This is a question Luis Felipe Noé proposed in recent years to broaden our understanding of art. His idea suggests understanding painting like the art of the image or the harmonic articulation among color particles. If we continue with this argument, then why couldn’t we think of Silvio Fischbein’s works as comfortably functioning like paintings that allow us to evoke vibrant urban cartographies without any intervention of the brush or the palette knife? Couldn’t the radical presence of color we see in his works be a constituent element of the pictorial practice?
In that sense, observing his latest works is enough to notice how the assembly technique with epoxy resin that he currently uses accentuates color saturation, giving his works a more pictorial character.

At the same time, this progress of the artist in techniques experimentation is an option that places his work within the process of freeing the constraints of contemporary art, since he works from outside the orthodoxy of modern art by not following the dictate of medium purity that used to define painting. On the contrary, based on what Arthur Danto intuits, his work remains interwoven in “the passing of the pure” that the theorist understood as one of the matrixes of contemporary art. His artistic practice leaves aside all convention, which allows him to expand the sphere of the pictorial into the territory of the real object, showing that color can be intensely expressive leaving out acrylic, oil, watercolor or any of the techniques defined by tradition.

On another note, Fischbein now proposes an alternative way to the domain of the constructivist conception that prevailed in his works, since he abandons both the frame that encased his pieces and the orthogonal concept that ruled his compositions. Thus, shapes of a freer nature show up, with rounded edges that emerge at random because of the gush of the resin he pours to resolve the supports of the frameworks. These new shapes seem to be inferred from the same playful spirit that Fischbein promoted in his early works by handling little objects from the world of children with craftsmanship to assign them an artistic status in the new context of the art. Here, the precision of the geometries proposed by the most classic of abstractions make way for more experimental versions. The use of industrial material like Plexiglas allows him to research into the effects of transparencies in terms of light and color in an unprejudiced way, while the decision to abandon the frame choosing sites that can be either walls or platforms leads to broaden viewpoints to expand the perceptive universe of the spectator.

We shouldn’t overlook the precedent of the aesthetics of accumulation practiced by certain referents of the new realisms either, where the object acquires an esthetic value of relevance. In this way, assemblies appear where the proliferation of figures generates a feeling of horror vacui that the artist seems to want to neutralize with the skillful handling of color and with a studied spatial orderliness -even in his latest works- where his education as an architect emerges even without his intention.

At the same time, closeness and remoteness could be two vectors that regulate the strategies representative of Silvio Fischbein’s in his handling of objects and reality. As regards the former, closeness is established by the familiarity that there is between the spectators and the objects the artist selects. Sometimes they are cotillion little dolls, other times of the so consumed Kinder Egg/ Surprise, screws, cinema film reel, paint tubes, hair rollers, objects that make a sort of “bric-a-brac cabinet” without the status it had in the XVII century, though with the same spirit of the obsessive collector, where elements that we can see in a hardware store, a drugstore or a chest in a child’s bedroom coexist, which helps to establish a complicit relationship between the work and the audience. In a parallel manner, the de-contextualization of these objects from their everyday environment and their unusual inclusion in the sphere of art generates a feeling of astonishment and estrangement that problematizes their original sense. It is a question of inventing daily staff that stimulates the relationship between art and life and where it is not difficult to deduce a gesture that seems to be, somehow, debtor of the Dadaist practices by valuing free links with objects from everyday life.
In this way, images integrate in an original narrative whose interpretation proliferates in a suggestive game of patterns and textures in a permanent state of ambiguity.

Malena Babino - UBA
February 2011.

1.Arthur Danto, Después del fin del arte. El arte contemporáneo y el linde de la historia, Buenos Aires, Paidós, 2006.