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Panorama from the Bridge (Artists, Works, & Tendencies) - Part 2 of 3
by Rodrigo Alonso

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Fin del Mundo


As one of the first artists to incorporate digital imaging into video art, Diego Lascano gave his work a very personal style through his use of electronic collage. In his videos, the screen turns into a pictorial surface displaying a series of recognizable icons. These icons interact on the electronic page, creating a conflictive situation. Although the structure is usually narrative, the images relate to each other in a poetic way. There are no causal or required relationships among them, but rather a stream of thought aimed at reviewing autobiographical memories, personal obsessions, and our historical archetypes.

Equally at home with video art, Marcello Mercado has recently entered the field of digital collage in video format as well as in web pages. His aesthetic is almost diametrically opposed to that of Lascano. It is oriented to an extremely critical reading (with a profound degree of nihilism) of Argentine history and its current reality. This is accomplished through an image based on a profusion of audiovisual elements, a complicated composition, and a design that probes the limits of perception.

This method of revisiting private and public history is a road well traveled by contemporary artists, and audiovisual digitalization has paved the way for this type of work. The ability to appropriate any type of image and incorporate it into a work of art has made dialogue much more possible between diverse cultural and historical elements. In the family portraits of Marcela Mouján, different generations of the same nuclear family join each other in a photographic record of an impossible time, abolishing historical distances with an idyllic and ironic gaze where the family structure is subtracted from its own history on which its day-to-day solidity is based.

With an extremely rich and varied use of images that encompass not only Argentine history, its symbols and myths, but also personal memories and fantasies, Luis Lindner casts his humorous and no less ironic gaze on the national past in his series Infantería Argentina/ Argentina 78. The chromatic reduction of the plastic surface and the reduction of drawing to lines are typical of a composition dominated by unreal perspectives and disciplined, but at the same time apparently arbitrary, arrangement of the elements.

Nourished by the strategy of the "ready made" which Duchamp derived from certain industrially produced objects, and which the trans-avant garde prolonged to formal procedures, the continuing themes and the iconographic models of art history itself, these proposals extend the criticism to images produced by the previous culture and, in particular, to those that nourished modern thought. This appropriation turns the whole treasury of historic images into an endless provider of creative resources. In the continuous resignification of the ready made and the found object as residues of culture, there is an implied criticism of the omnipresence of audiovisual culture and the saturation of images in present-day societies.

Within the resignification of cultural products, the history of art itself has been a constant contributor. The work of Enrique Llambías stems from the confrontation between images based on the history of plastic arts and the almost disrespectful manipulation performed by the artist through digital means. This creates a sometimes ironic, but always critical commentary on the relationship between contemporary art and those legitimized by tradition.

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