By Verónica Gomez
Silvana Lacarra's objects (Bragado, 1962) are things made with an assumed carelessness. Carelessness not as disinterest, or laziness, but as that slight lack of respect for the stylized versions of the material and its hierarchy in the stock market. To show the weak condition or tenacity of the matter and its middle or lower middle class lineage, Lacarra does not opt for the trash appearance, which could be the easy way, nor for the childlike simulation of sticker and self-confidence. Its crux is in the choice of its ingredients (never bought, always rescued: cardboard, Formica, eyelets, plastic coatings) and in the way of combining them with a naturalness that does not manifest rhetorical efforts. What makes them beautiful is both the feeling that they belong to a school and domestic world and the certainty that they are finished, museum-like pieces of art. Each one offers us to be witnesses for the first time. The first time Formica met corrugated cardboard. The exact moment when three roles were perceived as friends. The thing does not reverberate as a find or surprise, but rather as a recognition: these elements should always have been together, only a suitable match was missing.
Lacarra interrupts the flow of objects into the waste category; Materials, unable to fulfill their practical function in daily life, now have the possibility of speaking about themselves, expanding their evocative function. Collected in the 90s, they were kept by the artist as a reservoir of energy ready for return and pairing. In this sense, the objects that make up the exhibition La amorfo become marked by nostalgia. The colors are from another era, although fashion has rescued them time and again, they belong to an imaginary from the last century; The gray-blue sky with which Lacarra paints extensive cardboard planes and reappears in the plastic kitchen cladding of his collages recreates the domestic settings of the middle class. The emotional charge that this color carries cannot be erased in the nominal updates of the pantones: Aguas de Lisboa, Aquitaine or Marea Baja, depending on the inventiveness of the brand in question, are superfluous names compared to the images that emerge from the exhibition direct to color: wardrobe club, factory, public school, jail, hospital, grandmother's dining room, blue work overalls. It could then be ventured that Lacarra's abstraction is highly figurative, his objects monopolize a set of stimuli that dig directly into the sensorial memory store of our brains. Thus, we go back to the ages we had, linked to certain places, it is even possible to perceive the smell and sound of those territories. From that geography of artisan constructive rigor emerges the sensuality of Lacarra's works.
Formica, invented in the United States in 1912 and used to replace mica as an electrical insulator, only found its way to be resoundingly decorative in 1970. Various laminates came to cover the furniture of a middle class enchanted with the possibility of infinite simulation, similar to marble, granite, oak or full color. In a practical and inexpensive way, the same feeling of solidity provided by noble materials was achieved and, in addition, it was much more fun. But if aging noble materials enter the sacred sanctuary of the old, the others become, at best, retro, a category of flimsy legs and often suspected of a hare. The laminate is skipped and the chipboard appears, hygroscopic material if there is any, and the charm ends like an outdated Cinderella.
If in the current exhibition Lacarra's objects rely more radically on deficiencies and the economy of means, this was not always the case. Lacarra made in the past more sophisticated pieces, in the sense of outsourced finish and cost, such as his large arched Formica table "Board Meeting", exhibited at the ArteBa fair in 2008 or his crawling formics with undulating behavior. The objects in the current exhibition shorten the distance with the viewer in their most homely way of being, a kind of DIY with exquisite calibration.
Humor rarely creeps into abstraction. The titles chosen by Lacarra in his series of tables in 2007 ("My nervous system", "Sagrada familia", "So suddenly") put objects to tell stories. The table par excellence is the movable object around which confessions, disputes, gossip and trivia take place; tables become useful platforms not only to support things but to maintain distances, like mute referees, between the speakers. Lacarra's tables show in their structure and surface (anomalies in the height of the legs, veneers of unusual design, slopes and twists) the way in which they were affected by what they witnessed. The witness object then arises, not in the manner of a vestige, much less with the solemnity of the relic, but as a mutated object, deformed by the vicissitudes experienced. In La amorfo, an uncomfortable title, the objects maintain their testimonial character without obscuring their autonomous condition.
Since 2016, within the framework of the Gachi Prieto gallery exhibitions, the Escenario Prestado cycle has been developed, a space with a beloved poetic concentration that, in the words of its creator, María Alejandra Gatti, “proposes a different approach to the experience with the work: writers, artists and curators are invited to write texts that arise from a series of encounters with the sole slogan of thinking of the work as a trigger. The cycle aims to collectively construct a poetic discourse, a network of voices that from literature reveals another journey in contact with the visual arts ”. They have participated in the Selva Almada cycle, Mercedes Halfon, Marcos Kramer, Natalia Romero, Dolores Canestri, Silvia Gurfein, Lorena Fernández and María Ferrari Hardoy among other writers and artists. At the end of the month there will be the presentation of Act # 7 around the Silvana Lacarra exhibition. In an era where interdisciplinary committees and the call for dialogue become workhorses of political discourse, Escenario Prestado offers itself, due to the honesty of its ties, as a small oasis.