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1969, Buenos Aires,  Argentina




Bad Days


Bad Days 2018 is a series of Inkjet printing photographs of objects in a showcase. The repetition of the same display, an allegory of the window, of use and consumption, of lost time and nonsense.
Miguel Mitlag likes to think of a pseudo-realism: the moment when a recognizable element fulfills a function that is not entirely clear, which also interferes and disturbs the normal functioning of the whole and that its usefulness has just been displaced by that small dose of interference. Presences of pseudo-realism appear in his work in coatings, in the functional and dysfunctional, in utilitarian structures.
To paraphrase Georges Perec, there is a dimension to everyday life that we often overlook. The banal, the common, the habitual or as he himself says: the intermediate-ordinary is a familiar reality but to which we do not pay attention. Too small and too commonplace, banality is generally relegated to the sidelines, except when 'the madness of madness' stands as a work of art. The meaning is the same: build a new path of meaning through 'reuse'.
In Mitlag's reflections the "poetics'' gains strength. In photographs, the starting point is always the object in space. And the space in question is the house. To put it like Heidegger, Mitlag lives or takes possession of places through his art. During the weeks prior to composition, he coexists with the objects he collects, with the 'pseudo-realities' that he constructs. "It is not - as he says - an eccentric behavior, but a delicate creative process, in which the empirical and experimental component plays a significant role." Getting used to materials, selecting them carefully, placing them next to new hierarchies serves no other purpose than to reflect on human society. On the meaning assigned to objects, their function and that process of wear and tear that, although wanting them at a certain point outside the life cycle, never completely deprives them of their aesthetic and affective value.



At first glance, the Mitlag images look like they were taken from a scientific laboratory, but a deranged one. Covered in bright light and colors, the simple, quasi-abstract objects that cast almost no shadows appear carefully arranged. What in the outside world would seem incongruous, in these works is seen as perfectly logical. Mitlag manages to find analogies between the work carried out in a laboratory and the actions of an artist, both accepting the uncertain and having clear but open ends. In this way, the images can be read as the documentation of a performance, of an investigation that follows its own intrinsic rules. As he said in a text for Radar in which he spoke of his favorite work of art: “I like that art is not declarative and that it generates its own rules. If not, it builds on previous speeches, on traditional genres and doesn't add; it just repeats. I like that each work generates new guidelines. I try to work detaching myself, depersonalizing myself. "

The Mitlag procedure, then, has much more to do with simulation than with representation. With titles like "Tropical afternoon experiment" or "Orange alters perception", these haunted objects without referents, these simulacra without perspective, threaten the difference between true and false, between real and imaginary. Between science and fiction.

Ariel Authier, 2010


Nuevos mdelos

In his series New Models Miguel Mitlag develops his work from the adoption of a pre-existing convention system to determine another option, other models to those already digested by habit and discipline. In that way the elements or objects are reorganized reaching the rooms all with the same temperature. There are no hierarchies between them and this makes it easier for each photo, like a new catalog of possibilities, to move away from the standard and to incorporate other items that are perhaps more hostile and less pleasant, so that the satisfaction of the senses will not be pleased but disturbed. The celestial drip that heralds a catastrophe, or the red stain on the floor with blood from a skull shaped like a maraca, or a messy, unbalanced ream of napkins, cornered like psychotic in an empty room. Or perhaps the most ambiguous and indefinable, the prison anteroom with the belts left at the entrance, and the gallows, suicide room or escape zone that infers a frozen moving rope that hangs above a bench. All scenes to which I make these interpretations my own and where each one will make their own and correct but induced by signals, perhaps unconscious, from the author.
Expanding on the last description, I would not want to fail to mention the absence of the ceilings due to the decided presence of the floors. Yes, everything is on the floor, as a strong vindication of it before its installed devaluation. But with great paradox, even things thrown, fallen, or throwed down are supported, insinuating in the same absence the passage of the human or its invisible heartbeat, as if someone were or had passed by keeping record of an act accomplished.
Fabián Burgos, 2006.

Bios Mitlag



Miguel Mitlag (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1969)

Through his photographic practice, Miguel Mitlag portrays certain spaces where materials, motifs and colors are selected with great care. According to curator Inés Katzenstein, Mitlag’s goal doesn’t have to do with the show around the metaphor or its extent. Instead, his purpose is to create an experience that implies a subtle transformation of perception.He is a committed formalist, totally distanced from the idea of mere decoration, unless it is used for providing a scene with some kind of artificial atmosphere. His photographic compositions and spatial constructions project a cryptic philosophy of the world surrounding us. These works leap towards a visual hypothesis that  forces us to challenge the domestication of our perception.

Mitlag studied film directing at the Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires.  He attended photography workshops with Alberto Goldenstein and Jorge Gumier Maier. During 1991 and 1992 he attended several workshops at the International Center of Photography in New York. Additionally, in 2003 he received a fellowship for C. C. R. Rojas - UBA | Kuitca Visual Arts Workshop Program.
He featured his work in numerous solo show such as: Útil para nada (Galería Zmud, Buenos Aires,  Argentina,  2017); Tv Set  (Galería Slyzmud, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2013);  Holiday (Galerie Koal, Berlin, Germany, 2008); Como hacer un experimento, Tareas de Oficina y Nuevos Modelos (Galería  Braga Menéndez, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2010, 2009, 2006) y la instalación Codex Platino (MALBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2007).
Among his group shows, these are the most relevant: El ejercicio de las cosas (Casa de América, Madrid, Spain, 2017);  Optimismo Radical 2 (Josee Bienvenu, New York, United States, 2012); Paris Photo (Toluca Editions, Paris, France, 2011); Expansive Link  (Galería Diverse Works, Houston, United States, 2007); Civilización y Barbarie. Argentinos contemporáneos (Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Chile, Argentina 2004-2006) y No Tango (Berlin, Germany, 2004). 
Moreover,  he was nominated for the Decouverte Prize at Rencontres d'Arles (France, 2014) and participated in Batiscafo Art Residency (La Habana, Cuba, 2010), Guapamacátaro Art and Ecology Residency (Mexico, 2009) and Residency SPHN Galerie, Berlín, Germany (2004).
Mitlag is also director of experimental and documentary films: Carrots Movie Tape (2020) 3 min, Hairdresser (2014) 29 min, A Story of Trash Rococo (2009) 53 min and Diner with Suarez (1998) 39 min.

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

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