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1955, Buenos Aires,  Argentina




Blanco y negro


In front of a new exhibition's artist, the first question is about the itinerary, how to get to this current, last work. The immediate antecedent is right here, and its presence is testimony. Andrés Waissman's previous series, Chip, was already filled with this painting. Its three-dimensional and uterotopic materiality stressed the utopia of progress, until its failure was evident. That series of chip (s) / arrays / matrix, with its fold of endometrial hospitality and urban-industrial harshness, were revealed to be sensitive to time, oxidizable, discarded. The artist gave us a closer look at them, and then, their rhizomatic and sharp filaments, their conglomerates and tangles evidenced the nature of the postmodern city already saturated and unbreathable. If ever those metal nests resembled sheltered stays, it was only necessary, a first moment to then show us the effect of use, wear, the new conditions of the experience. Progress was not always progress.
The same echo of Waissman's work is the one that we could appreciate a few months ago in Buenos Aires in the work of the photographers of the Düsseldorf school, cyclopean and devouring cities that like chips, lost the center because they identify with the territory that they occupy. The series of the Multitudes, which indicated the extensive dispersal of the wandering man, gave way to Viruta who, (like Gursky's May Day) marks forced proximity, and although it seems paradoxical, produces the same suffocation as empty spaces –of people, of meaning- that we see in the photographs of Candida Hofer.

The word that best accounts for the urban, the industrial, the modern and its wear is undoubtedly the one that topologically names the truest thing about Multitudes and Chip: density. Dispersed in the first case and under pressure in the second, always coexistence of an indefinite number of particles and centers of action. Extreme overcoming of the romanticism of the closeness with which modern moralists have tried to explain to us the opening of the subject towards the Other.

The German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk argues that artists capable of metaphorizing the new stage of the human condition have emerged from within and without global spherical culture. Many, says the philosopher without giving proper names, on the periphery. Waissman's art has those qualities that include it in the sloterdijk's list: “multispherical foams -which in this part of the periphery are chips- that interfere with the atomizing isolation, multiply the diversity of the connections, the constant mobility of the points connected, and that enhance the irregularity of the global totalizing structure. Inhabiting the foam from the peripheries means that the very idea of ​​a global society is questionable, implying a vision outside the bubble itself, from outside a structured, organized and supposedly intelligible totality. "
From that look from the Argentine edge to the global, OCULAR FUNDUS emerges, with the force of what has matured, its convulsive, volcanic beauty, reverberating in black and white. Absolutely contemporary, this work is less scene, more act. Impossible not to feel the heartbeat of a world unfolding. Andrés Waissman, like the wise Tiresias, is a seer and blind. As a blind man, he paints that other part, that other knowledge that is diluted in the mystifications of the eye, as a blind seer he seems to share with the occult - and perhaps also with a good part of poetry: that of the dark zone of truth also, in his own way, he enlightens the world. Only that truth must be seen with other eyes than eyes. The painter has blinded his eyes to the obvious, the opportune, the convenient, and in that retreat he opens/paints another look on the world, less submissive to the light of men and their questions, less slave to the vagaries of public light. Taking refuge in the narrow corner of his intimacy, away from the righteous light of common reason, the more he penetrates the darkness, the more illuminated he becomes. Each fabric, then, as a contraction of a dilated pupil, is the power of a world. The analog richness of the glows seems to chisel each iris with the force of lightning. Mutation prior to the word, mutation of archaic fantasies destroy all artifice by force of light. Mythological animals of strange shapes emerge from the shadows, as from the Platonic cave. And the artist's soul, like the one he looks at, becomes warm wax where those animals / monsters / forms can let us know something about ourselves.

The nocturnal aura of these paintings is the state of mind of the dream that precedes the event that joins the primitive cry to the foundations of a social bond that has not yet taken hold. The unnameable working against nothingness. The exquisite technical workmanship of the work amalgamates sobriety and wealth. Do not skimp on the material, dedicate the best to it, avoiding all the rest, it is an expression of a fair beauty. And in that sense Waissman retraces his steps but in a renewed way, he can be the contemporary painter and at the same time continue to uphold the ethics of powerful images of him. If his paintings from the early eighties already named the unspeakable genocide, if in the midst of waste his multitudes questioned the fate of the excluded, those words are not left out of the silence of this work. Because the optical unconscious allows us to see (show that it sees), precisely the invisible, everything that eludes representation - the event, the glorious display of difference. Before the fundus of the eye, what is seen yields, so that -like a second shutter-, the internal time of the story can be introduced into that precarious and fleeting instantaneity that recharges the image with the force of myth, with the symbolic potential that it gives the force to institute worlds.

Andrés Waissman is an artist who also knows geology; of the mutation of successive layers of memory in ethical art. He knows that there can only be society if the wounds of history sculpt the retina and allow themselves to be painted, like this: simple, powerful and beautiful, like folds of the future, initial explosions, movement, waves, shuddering, Big Bang. Terrible and irresistible vice that of Andrés Waissman, of placing in the small door of the instantaneous those non-places in which, precisely, making the advent and the opening of "other possible worlds" thinkable.



Rodrigo Alonso

The location of the multitudes is always different, but to some extent always the same. It is the territory of silent popular expression and of nomadism, of exodus and of permanent search. Within those boundaries, the places vary: football stadiums, ships, deserts. For the crowds, these are always temporary, transient places, “non-places”, as described by Marc Augé.1
The incertitude of these crowds has been frequently pointed out: their errant, aimless wanderings, their emergence as a sign of the dissolution of the individual and his or her ability to act. The surrounding desert has also been interpreted as a world of devastation, barren and hostile; like the setting of an awful fate or a paralyzing pulsion. Although these remarks are not entirely unsuitable, and can even be validated by some of the artist’s texts, some other interpretations, no less relevant, may also be suggested. 
On the one hand, the crowds are always moving. If they represent the world, then the world according to Waissman is not a static but a dynamic entity, a permanently changing territory. And that change is effected by the crowd’s will; it is not the result of accident or chance. If the artist has at some moment referred to the dark angles of contemporary reality in his texts, his paintings position us before a persistent and tenacious determination of change. Perhaps this is why it seems excessive to think that these crowds move in desolate surroundings; maybe they occupy an area where it is difficult to proceed.
On the other hand, displacements, migrations and nomadism are the protagonists of heroic exploits (let’s think about the exodus from our province of Jujuy), of the birth and growth of societies and nations like ours, of the search for the Promised Land. None of these events has taken place without sorrow and difficulty, without determination and struggle.
Waissman’s paintings contain an agonizing recitation, a narrative with plenty of conflict and fight that is also a tale of effort and commitment. Through that speech, the author takes a concrete point of view related to the world he depicts; his paintings are not mere chronicles of fictitious events, but an actual stance before the contemporary world, expressed in the language of plastic images. 
During a well-known interview,2 Claude Levy-Strauss pointed out how Impressionism had witnessed a universe on the verge of extinction, the expression of an existence buried amid the growth of the cities and the violent transformation of the urban experience. Waissman’s position is, perhaps, the opposite. Rather than a disappearing universe, Waissman represents an emerging world, increasingly existent and unavoidable situations demanding reflection and a conscious look. His painting is neither indulgent nor evasive; on the contrary, it is urgent.
It is highly meaningful that the artist should have begun to work with crowds a few years before the concept of multitude became one of the most vital and productive in contemporary political theory3.  Opposite to the idea of mass, which describes undifferentiated beings characterized by their generality and anonymity, the concept of multitude refers to a human group that keeps the differences and particularities of the members that compose it. The multitude does not reject the individual; it articulates the ability to act in a particular way, encouraging joint activity in spite of personal differences. This concept has acquired fundamental importance within present political theory, because it allows for the possibility of political action and radical social transformations without needing a unified political being sharing just one ideology. 
This perspective reinforces the arguments against indifference and anonymity in Waissman’s multitudes. Their permanent wish to move and change gives them an active role in their environment. It is also important to stress that in sight of the conflicts in the current world, Waissman offers a collective, communitarian response, regaining a political instance that is frequently elided in postmodern speeches. His evocation of history, memory, literature and poetry might be interpreted in the same way.
1 Augé, Marc, Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, Verso, London, 1995.
2 Levy-Strauss, Claude and Georges Charbonnier, Art, Language, Ethnology, Siglo XXI, Mexico, 1968.
3 See, for example, Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, Empire, Paidós, Buenos Aires, 2004; Virno, Paolo, Grammar of the Multitude, Colihue, Buenos Aires, 2003; Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, Multitude, Sudamericana, Buenos Aires, 2005.


Carogrfias colect


... In "The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism", Fredric Jameson raises the need for what he calls "cognitive maps", elements capable of offering orientation in the violently reconfigured landscape of post-industrial cities. These maps are not simply an instrument to locate a certain geographic site, but fundamentally, a guide to subjectively locate oneself in the complexity of the current urban plot. It is a map of its own, made up of recognizable sites, places of memory, spaces marked by personal experience. Cartographies that resize territories according to the subjects that occupy them, letters that transform non-places into places, made up of localities impregnated by memento and memory. Through these procedures, the artist reveals his interest in rethinking geographical borders, questioning the supposed stability of nations, and giving visibility to the crises and tensions that are going through them. In the mentioned works, as in most of the series, it is the crowds that mark the space where they are located with their presence; they are the ones that transform an at times anodyne landscape into a territory full of significance. Waissman challenges the inertia of cartographic representations with an analytical and critical reflection that points towards the conflictive realities that beat behind them.



A sharp insertion into the abyss of the community

Sharp, bright, resistant, intertwined and even sensual, the chip becomes an endless that emulates my crowds or becomes an abstraction of infinite intermittences. It also creates a tumultuous anthill and is the surface of wide territories that simultaneously suffocate, create distances, as in a landscape of steel, deep in its different reliefs.

The chip as an almost pictorial material, enclosed in a box, playing flat, imprisoned against the transparency of the glass, drowning itself and drowning while playing with the magic of a geometric vision, is the exacerbated rupture that hangs, that supports its threads illuminated by a light that fulfills the role of creating the climate of a society in absolute migration. An incandescent society, a volume that opens out of the box, free and undulating, shaping a piece of surrounding reality.

It investigates the present, rooted in the vertiginous history that, like fiction, embraces the metaphor, sometimes circular and other superimposed lines like hopeless but defiant rows that march towards a nothing included in the limits of our own landscape, which enhances the idea of ​​a surprise anchor. It is the steel that draws the cartographies and subjects me to a disturbing but balanced search.
There is no conflict and it feeds on the plane that subscribes to a changing format, which induces towards the appreciation of a renovating game in the works; the gaze, from which a genealogy is promoted, of undoubted arbitrariness, is sometimes gestural in its treatment, or anthropological in its concept.

 It is a rescued material, it is not waste, it recreates surfaces. Why not wonder if in some way it is the probability of what is suspected, even if we must submit to the brutality of that inherited history that inhabits an expression that penetrates us and leads us to our imaginary museum, as Andre Malraux would say.

It is memory and not forgetting, it is the photograph of group movements.
Past and future columns rotate, it is the meta message that manipulates and builds a worldview, it is the stage that in its forms orders stories about nomadisms, exclusions, xenophobias, it is the environment of ruins and shores, of dynamic times and definitely “they are the dark edges of contemporary reality ”, as Rodrigo Alonso says in the text of the book about my work, "WAISSMAN, a pilgrim artist ”.
The chip breaks in as a discredited material, and continues the images that were painted; it is his intellectual proposal, it is a discourse that plays in contemporaneity.

 It is of absolute justice, in this new individual and developing stage, to affirm that we are in the presence of a work that, from a certain perspective, does not stop investigating my discourse; I disbelieve in times where the secret is certainty or deception, I don't believe in limitations either, I renew the activity of going into myself, confessing mystically on some occasions, the imperceptibility between creation and enigma, between fragments and alphabets, a universal language that leads to the word and represents the community that makes up Multitudes.

The inhabitants of steel are dispersed, the battle approaches, the origin is retaken. This is my proposal, to be a pilgrim artist, as the critic says, in permanent transit, in the game - a way of being, the way of being that prevails today: but, like every way of being, it is ambivalent, it contains in itself danger and salvation, acquiescence and conflict, servility and freedom-, as defined by Paolo Virno in Grammar of the Multitude.

The same blindness runs through us through the centuries.
I do not pretend anything other than to live the freedom of creation, to re-signify the value of art, finally oblivious to temporal discourses, tied, at times, to anticipatory visions or arbitrary realities. Humanity is in my thought and in my work the anxiety, possibly in the threads tangled like a skein or in the fragments in which we live submerged.

We are nomads and slaves to our own despair. I'm just one of them.

 Andres Waissman
 March 2008

Animales mitologicos


Act 2

Hero's journey

They need a body, three-dimensional presence. Not just being an abstraction of Andrés's head. Each drawing / work, an interpretation, a descent of something beyond the apprehensible.

And so, the line seeks a way to escape the paper and claim its place in space as an equal to the body of the artist and the spectators. Be one more. It lengthens and retracts looking for texture, seeking height as well as width and depth. It gets out of control and finds in it a spongy and metallic body without beginning or end that never stops growing until it becomes a creature with only one goal in mind: to fill. Fill the space where it is located. Be it small, medium or large. Almost as if following the physical precepts of the behavior of gases, an order that has left behind the limits of being an object to be one with its container.

The creature grows, filling the gallery's white room with stained glass in a moment of glory and exhibitionism. There it is satisfied for a time, until external forces decree that it is time for it to go on its way. Now comfortable in its skin, it lost its ravenous hunger of the early days. Now it seeks to rest its remains marked by the passage of time. It is aware centimeter by centimeter that gaining body is obtaining limits and that its presence as another is yes or yes a slave of time. It had a beginning, it will have an end. Its bright and steely grays are almost a memory, now autumnal colors, oranges and browns prevail. Oxide. Natural and inevitable evolution of the material that gave it life.


Ambush Fragments
Laura Ojeda Bär, 2018


Bosque quemado



I took up the series of works in black and white but this time on paper. I play with the inks preparing myself to start new works on canvas. I go back and forth from inks and water, to enamel and thinners. The game is in the contrast between transparencies, brightness, opacities and full blacks; as in Ocular Fundus. This time I work the surfaces with less games, I let the halftones reach almost to the color of the paper. There is an intention of territory and fewer suggestions of animals, references to burnt forests appear. This is one of the periods that lasts the longest because I don't feel it used up. Spaces multiply that become embankments or wastelands, on banks. These are allowing me to reach an atmospheric synthesis to which I am addicted. That mute wind that light and shadows cast. As in the Renaissance, every value or tone replicates in some part of the work. Liquids are not excessive or spill for nothing. Remains of branches invading the free areas. They are the link found in the story and the electrical frequency that exists between earth and man and blind space. Above all, I value living in a time of terminal crossroads, on the insane cliff of technology and the destructive vocation that animates contemporary society.

Andres Waissman
august 2018

Thanks: Andres De Rose, Agustin Waissman, Lucas Moltrasio, Guillermo Mena, Lihuel Gonzalez, Victoria Paladino, Carlos Herrera, Diego Benzacar, Florencia Qualina, Lina Angel, Sofia Sostres, Romina Malta, Maria Alejandra Gatti, Gonzalo Lagos, Agustin Genoud, Lorena Marchetti, Maria Laura Lucini Monti , Leon Splitt y Gachi Prieto.