The artist Alejandro Cesarco presents two Works of his own: Marguerite Duras´ India Song, 2006 – during the “Otras Voces” exhibition – invited by Florencia Malbrán and Ellos, 2009-2010, with Ana Katz, in the Contemporary Space, invited by Cintia Mezza.
Marguerite Duras' India Song (2006), by Alejandro Cesarco, presents voices in transit. Two large screens show footage from the film India Song (1975), directed by Marguerite Duras and based on her eponymous play (1973). Cesarco made an edition in which the characters from the film disappear. The remains of their presence can be found in finely cut crystal glasses, a vase of roses, a piano, or the glittering strands of the chandelier. Both projections, displayed simultaneously, prevent the focusing of attention and begin to express how impossible it is to achieve that overarching meaning. The voices in the film disappear as well. They are replaced by a female voice-over, written by Cesarco, based on the literature of Duras and inspired by the "external voices" the author used. Duras broke with narrative conventions through these "external voices," which did not come from the characters in her stories nor correspond with the writer's omniscient pen. As such, they allowed imagining the most diverse sensations and memories. Despite these variations, the voice-over now presented by Cesarco does not come off as shrill, but is rather just as constant as the flow of information we receive when entering this space.
The voice tells a story of passion. It speaks of other invisible voices that narrate the story of two characters who “perform a dance of doomed love.” The environs of the mansion, as seen on the screens, seem to provide that passionate pastime with an ideal backdrop. And the red color chosen by Cesarco for the walls emphasizes the disturbances, the love, the drama. Daniel Link’s text, another component of the work, also helps build this strange atmosphere of desire. Two bodies, or two voices, watch the film India Song. According to Link they live two days of love, even though, in the oppressive heat, one of the voices tells the other it doesn’t want them to touch. Lying on a mattress, murmuring, they share thoughts on Duras’ film. One voice says "there must be a way to look at things," but the answer is just a pause.
"The air is so still and dense," reads Link’s text. Cesarco's work is indeed thick with voices. Large words fill the space: "feminism," "modernity," "colony," "literature," "film," "leprosy." Nothing could stir up the intoxicating, smothering atmosphere.
Alejandro Cesarco and Ana Katz
“Ellos” (They), 2009-2010
Situation for two characters, publication and performance
Courtesy of the artists
For Fundación Proa’s Contemporary Space, the artist thought of the direction of a performance conceptualized in collaboration with the Argentine cinematographer Ana Katz.
The visitor will be surprised by these seemingly risky dialogs that are nonetheless part of a script that will be available in the print edition.
The performers, in theirs roles as bookstore clerks, discuss “the possibility of understanding and transmitting the experience of the other,” and about “how the contemplation of the works exhibited in the institution influence the intellectual reflection of the spectator.” The spectator’s experience with this text could, or not, produce new meanings in the scene’s reception. The piece counts on the collaboration of the renowned actress, director and dramatist Ana Katz. In this manner, this situation brings a question to the mind of the visitor, just as it emphasizes the following phrase from the script: “Beauty continues to be a question.”
Alejandro Cesarco was born in Montevideo (Uruguay), in 1975. He lives and works in New York.
He also works as an editor and a curator. He has curated exhibitions in Argentina, the United States, and Uruguay, and a recent project for the 6th Biennial of the Mercosur in Porto Alegre, 2007. He is the editor of Between Artists, a series of books based on conversations between artists.
He has exhibited in Latin America, the United States, and Europe. Among his latest individual exhibition, some highlights are Two Films, Murray Guy, New York, 2009; 3 Works, Tanya Leighton, Berlin, 2009: Now & Then, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, 2009; Once Within A Room, New Langston Arts, San Francisco, 2008; Retrospective, in collaboration with John Balderdash, Murray Guy, 2007; and Marguerite Duras’ India Song, Art in General, New York, 2006.
Alejandro Cesarco’s Statements
“Language is the most important cultural property that we have. We live, remember, talk, think, work, dream through language. We are immersed in language, we have inherited it, and we built our identity from it. Existence out of language is impossible. Thinking visual work from this viewpoint is a mode of abstraction. If I paint or photograph a red, the reference is that red, but if I write red, then there are infinite possible tonalities. I believe that my place as a cultural producer transits the limit, or the complicity, between reading and writing. My practice develops different methodologies, grammars, reading protocols. We are used to reading about art, yet we are much less used to reading as art. Reading is overall a visual act, every letter has a physical image, and every narrative has an image.”
“I’m interested in cataloguing, classifying, appropriating and reinterpreting ―and this relates to thinking about art as a great déjà vu. My work thus presents itself, at least formally, as a reformulation of historical conceptualism. Of course, difference is produced in such a repetition, and repeating does not necessarily mean a desire to go back to historic conceptualism. Translation and the notion of history, more precisely, the notion of translated history, is a recurrent motif and is explored through different narrative constructions.”
“I’m interested in the manner in which meaning is displaced, the manner in which discursive circumstances are recontextualized through memory, recognition and the opacity that is natural to language. Something I often repeat is that the strategic emphasis of my work is not placed on the transmission of information, but rather on the ways in which meaning is felt.”
Jacqueline Lacassa, “Alejandro Cesarco: El lenguaje es la propiedad cultural más importante que tenemos”, La República, Montevideo, 12 de abril de 2005.
You can get more information about the artist and his work at the following links:
Ana Katz was born in Buenos Aires in 1975. She studied at the University of Cinema, where she currently works as professor of Cinematographic Direction.
In 2002 she finished her first full length feature, El juego de la silla (The chair game), of which she was director, screenwriter, and actress. The film was recognized at the international film festivals of San Sebastián, Wurzburg, Lérida, Peñíscola and Toulouse, and by the Casa de América (Madrid).
The movie was then turned into a theater piece and was awarded by the San Martín Theater.
Katz also directed various shorts that were projected in a number of national and international festivals, and participated as an actress in the film Whisky, directed by the Uruguayans Pablo Stoll and Juan Pablo Rebella.
She is currently working on the cinema project Bienestar (Wellbeing) and the theatrical work Lucro cesante (Sacked wealth).
You can get more information about the artist and her works at the following links:
“Lo único permanente son los cambios”. By Jacqueline Lacassa
La República (Montevideo), 12/4/2005
“Envios”. By Ana tiscornia, 2/2002