Touching in Fleeting Contact assembles works by three painters in IPERCUBO’s program who grapple with topics related to memory and time. What unites these three artists—each of whom work in a distinct formal idiom and respond to different cultural contexts—is an approach to situations and landscapes that is predicated on a fluidity between the real and the imagined, between the mental and the material, which are constantly touching one another in fleeting contact.
In Greta Pllana’s Roots (2019), a graphic black outline of plant life is rendered atop a smudged charcoal ground and pale pink and green markings that evoke delicate flowers or grasses. This quasi-abstracted scene seems to contain submerged suggestions of facial features in its spare, billowing landscape. The work’s title, Roots, suggests that the question of origins is both natural and cultural and—as evinced by the mysterious rectangular cuboid that hovers over the composition’s center—never entirely available to vision. You Might Get Lost (2021) builds up its narrative in a series of overlapping squares and rectangles. Pllana’s translucent layering of geometric fragments results in an enigmatic and sensual encounter between figure and landscape.
Two works from 2021, both entitled Solo Valle, foreground spectral figures. In one work, a solitary child sits adjacent to the minimal outline of a table, gazing sidelong into the distance. Behind them, a washy inchoate scene comprises pastel silhouettes, floral motifs, and the suggestion of someone playing a keyboard. In the other work, two children stand with raised arms before a textured backdrop of earth tone washes and sketched outlines of tree branches and leaves that coalesce to create a sort of fragmented mountain. Two bold rectangular shapes form a kind of stage for the children’s’ indecipherable game, positing a kind of visual rupture that gestures towards how memory functions: in snapshots, sensations, and fragments, alternately immersive and detached. Pllana’s ephermeral handling of roots—both literally and metaphorically—resonate with Svetlana Boym’s conception of reflective nostalgia as an attempt to work through the past in multiple spatial configurations and temporalities. Not attempting to “return,” but instead “inhabiting many places at once and imagining different time zones.”
Lobo Velar De Irigoyen’s work has a similar sense of operating in multiple “time zones.” His playful abstract paintings respond to the cultural, political, and social legacy of the techno-charged 1980s. Works like Entre el recuerdo y la nada [Between Memory and Nothing] layer acrylic paints with collaged paper and photographic fragments.
Cutting into personal photographs, he isolates moments and textures that are then drained of their referentiality and replicated as formal echoes in painted and collaged shapes. Porque uno solo se realiza sucesivamente [Because One is Only Done Successively] depicts a surreal scene through collaged paper and photographs, drawing, and painting on board. Seemingly random constellations of materials—like a group of oranges, a cup, an errant pack of cigarettes, deconstructed photographs of wood grain texture—radiate around a haphazard stack of rounded forms. A lone collaged eye peeps out of a flesh-colored circle towards the center of the stack, imbuing the image with a feeling of sentience and precarity.
Guido Sarti’s paintings have a comparatively straightforward representational approach. Although his objects and settings are readily recognizable, they nonetheless bristle with an underlying sense of the bizarre. To Swallow Something Dry depicts a kitchen counter—either in the state of preparing or cleaning up from a meal. The doubling of the kitchen faucet and drying rack indicate the passage of time or the incursion of another time flow. A diagonal sluice of pale blue paint separates the kitchen counter from a cropped depiction of three shopping bags and an anonymous figure—two banal moments, two “time zones,” brought together in a strange, evocative synergy.
Curated by Jesi Khadivi
Jesi Khadivi (b.1981) is an independent curator and writer based in Berlin. She has curated exhibitions and programs at Fondation Ricard, Paris; PS 120, Berlin; and the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco. Her essays have appeared in numerous artist monographs and edited volumes, as well as publications such as Texte zur Kunst Frieze, Fillip, art agenda, FlashArt, and Kaleidoscope. Jesi teaches Modern Art History at NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano.