Exhibition view, "Lo invisible no es oscuro ni misterioso, es transparente”. A group show at Armen Daguer.

Lo invisible no es oscuro ni misterioso, es transparente

TYPE group show
DATE 03 Feb - 06 Feb 2019
Armen Daguer, Guadalajara, Mexico


Ramiro Ávila, Zazil Barba, Sofia Cruz Rocha, Julien Devaux,
Sofía Echeverri, Omar Guerra, Daniel Navarro, Raúl Rebolledo, Alejandro Villa, Lino Vite.

Despite being unanimously considered one of the most influential figures for the evolution of international contemporary art, it is possible to notice a widespread misunderstanding regarding Marcel Duchamp and his work: he is almost always indicated as the iconoclast for excellence and as an intellectual father of conceptual art, however, too often tends to be omitted that Duchamp was, above all, an eminently VISUAL artist.

His fundamental commitment was always focused on the visual behavior of his objects and interventions (and not on the idea behind the image, as much has been insisted on pointing out). In fact, Duchamp investigated the scope of pictorial representation from an early age, having lived much of that period immersed in the very heart of the Parisian avant-garde of the early twentieth century (years in which he also occasionally worked as a cartoonist comics for some newspapers).

Now, the initially mentioned misunderstanding finds its origin in the following paradox: for Duchamp, the most relevant aspect of visuality was always the invisible. It could well be said that his fascination with that -the implicit contents of the image- had already manifested in works as early as the drawing “Hanging lamp to gas” (1903), the painting “Portrait of chess players” (1911) or the comic strip “L’accident” (1909): in the latter, a handful of people suddenly rise from the stands of a racecourse, startled by something that seems to have happened-just a few moments ago-out of the box …

Throughout his career, Duchamp gradually took over that no-man’s land between the artistic image and the mind of the spectator, and dedicated his efforts to colonize that territory through seduction and mystery. Beyond the radicality of his visual operations – and often, the paucity of them – Duchamp was mainly a creator of “systems”, and as he himself was once called, an administrator: an administrator-curatorial of his own work and how it inhabits the world. Of the simultaneity and the multiplicity of frictions between work and reality.

On another level, a second misunderstanding, perhaps as recurrent as the first, is that Marcel Duchamp’s work is “anti-academic”; In fact, it is possible that at some point it was, but a hundred years ago, since in these times his legacy is probably the most consolidated academy in contemporary art. The artists in this exhibition have assumed the latter and start from that base: from the great diversity of paths explored by Duchamp, and from the enabling of the multiple paths through which many visual artists of today travel.

For now, at least two resources admittedly Duchampeans cross the pieces in this exhibition: on the one hand, the subterranean omnipresence of subtle humor (and its displacements through decontextualization), and on the other, what Duchamp called “inframince” “(Or infrafino, or infraleve). That is, according to his own words, the trace left by the absence; or, wasted energy: a drawing of water vapor, vital breath on polished surfaces (glass, mirror, piano), the growth of hair and nails, the fall of tears, vomiting, ejaculation, Sneezing, swirling or rebellious hair, fainting, yawning.

It is in this perspective that it is pertinent to establish certain correspondences and synchronies between the pieces of this exhibition and some works by Marcel Duchamp. Of course, the proposals of Zazil Barba, Omar Guerra or Raúl Rebolledo seem to echo pieces like “Aire de Paris” (1919), “To look (the other side of the glass), with one eye, up close, during almost a hora “(1917),” Stereoscopy by hand “(1918-1919), or” A Guest + a Host = a Ghost “(1963).

Also in the pieces by Sofía Cruz, Daniel Navarro, Sofía Echeverri and Ramiro Ávila we can find nods to “3 Stoppages Étalon” (1913), “Bouche-évier” (1964), “Ready-made with secret noise” (1916), “With My Tongue in My Cheek” (1959), “The Gate Gradiva” (1937) and “In the manner of Delvaux” (1942), respectively. 

Finally, the constant Duchampean obsession with the continuous and hypnotic circular movement, essential in pieces such as “Rueda de bicicleta” (1913), “Obligaciones para la Rouleta de Montecarlo” (1924), or the “Rotoreliefs” (1935), finds a mystical-religious variant in the digital animation of Lino Vite, in the same way that Julien Devaux seems to be revisiting the notions of obstruction and sacred object present in “Wedge of chastity” (1954) and “Leaf of female vine” (1950).

Cristián Silva
Chile, enero de 2019