G u i l l e r m o . C U E L L O > Artista Visual / Nacido en Buenos Aires el 28 de abril de 1959 /// Nominado al Premio WOLF FOUNDATION - ISRAEL por su Obra y Trayectoria Artística / Fellow - Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar , Va > USA / ex-GCRI - Brussels - Belgium - Posgrado en Artes Visuales en : L ´École Nationale Supérieure d´Architecture et des Arts Visuels / La Cambre- Brussels-Belgium / /// Desde 1994 dicta Clases Magistrales, Seminarios & Workshops en : UCM - BBAA - Universidad Complutense de Madrid , Facultad de Bellas Artes , ESPAÑA + Lawrence University , WI + Lynchburg College, Va, & Q. C. College , NYC - USA ) . Fue Artista representado por STICHTING VERANNEMAN - Kruishoutem - BELGIE /// Nathalie Beeckman Fine Arts - BXL-LONDON - UK /// Wriston Arts Centre - WI, USA y en Argentina por la GALERIA DANIEL MAMAN - AR . Vive y Trabaja en BUENOS AIRES - ARGENTINA.

NOTES for G. by ROQUE DE BONIS. ( English )


N O T E S F O R G /// by Roque De Bonis


The body as a unit of measure

Guillermo Cuello’s ‘Figural Actions’ (1) could be referred to as the most representative expressions of contemporary art, due to their innovative understanding of media, combination of expressions, surfaces organization and the redesigned new handling of timeframe they present.
The great variety of tools used: small brushes, large brushes, large spatulas, rods, etc. found an ally that consolidates a long-lasting history of success: the human body, simply the most immediate model of human being’s presence .
We can appreciate its use, not like an ab-viscerated body of the gods, or like a trivial objet trouvé, but like a huge potentiality per se, like a unit of measure, like a language .
It is this body that in loneliness or in company, becomes the measure of nature, as the essence of that creator mythical instant that develops into energetic multiples.
As a measure of the impossible, it manages, with its gestures, to incorporate itself to the concept of unique temporality, secondary and tertiary categories, reaching the possibility of being another one, formally and/or spatially. It becomes an example of the desired body to be modified, even denying the world of appearances, and therefore causing a continuous instrument- body transformation, until it reaches the anti-gravitational sphere.
Thus, the body with its new philosophy, works in a different space, linking art and life, thanks to the artist’s own physical dimension transferred to the canvas itself, by means of constant collisions between the artist and matter. The matter, with its erotic and tactile strength, more sensed that understood, is based on a tone structure that ranges from blacks and grays to color semitones as well as whites.
The body, that passenger in-transit, that regrets, abstains and questions space with its discovery of desire, its ecstasy and matter sensuality, joins different sign times with its movement, making this journey possible.


Zen Matter

Matter spread without order modules in a continuous dynamic discourse.
After the new approaches in Occidental culture on phenomena classic concepts, the possibilities of the matter have achieved its maximum peak of expressiveness. Its physical state has become anti ideological, sensual and invasive. Light is nothing but moving vital matter, that without being anarchic is reactive, but can be recognized as part of a violent organics process.
In his work, Guillermo Cuello handles this light-matter concept, that opposes the values structure . His commitment to space makes its configuration possible and, by being inherent to its gesture, it becomes existential.
Cuello, who masterfully twists time and space, comes close to cinematography, and by interpreting the surfaces created by him, we perceive his agreement with one of the legacies of Alfred Hitchcock’s structure:" dead times in our work. "
Regardless of the fact that most of his work was done in a country that leads towards abandonment, the brief times of gesture provoke subargumentative lines
when falling or congealing in the sign or by accepting life in its immediacy. Such lines do not qualify as pure abstract art, but they walk towards the realms of “the figural” .


Faces and Traces

When we proceed to divide the times of execution, such material stuff, which is being distributed in different proportions and locations not pursuing any thematic or programmatic concord, resembles incandescent flowing lava formations that, adapted to the surface, bring values, colors and signs to light.
Our eye, like a mere accident of sensitive matters, encounters the links of a chain of apprehension completely different from other forms of approach. The sense feeds on texture proteins for its creative dreams.
When throngs of anonymous faceless people leave traces, clues and footprints along their paths, it is the gesture expanded into space what may turn the anti-poetic into poetic.
If we made a decollage of shapes, we would be faced with slashed surfaces covered with sober traces or just their opposite, which will lead us to the unforeseen supremacy of the image.
Works may probably have their legend, they may get rid of other elements , but they will never get rid of their traces, which were once the innate worry of being. By means of paint, graphite, stone, mud, smoke and blood, civilizations have shown the traces resulting from the magic faces that man longed for himself.


Does chance exist ?

We may speak of contingent events, that result from our anticipation and originate in a pre-established need.
The automatic succession of emotions, the mixture of strokes, spots and drawings create a kind of dynamics similar to that of organic bodies in movement.
The work is being conceived, covered with surprises, the unexpected is about to burst, a new world is developing. The surface offers no restraints to Guillermo´s power of adventure.


About the Video

This working tool begins to be used as a means for recording aesthetic events. It has a unique method which allows it get close to the abstract in order to reach the concrete language of video art.
In the 70´s, when the body is considered a demonstration of thought, this novel way of recording facts imprints all the current trends in images.
Guillermo Cuello´s recordings ( machine- screen relationship) do not imply a breaking of bonds with the matter, on the contrary, the matter advances, expands and by making images indefinite, they reach the volume characteristic of his paintings.
Since man is a historical being, he does not accept any detachment from
events taking place in humankind. Therefore his narrative shows the commitment that contemporaneous joint action presents. .
Creation of the “global village”. In simultaneous exhibits placed in the same constitutive system, biographical recordings range from his early photographs to his present paintings that contain images of the locations where the work is carried out. They are supported by a background of maps
of cities where the artist has lived as well as documents that place the artist at the end of the century and the beginning of a new millennium.
This remembrance accounts for less stable ways of living and, even though the family concept has lost its importance in highly developed countries, the artist still worships it, showing group snapshots that reveal authentic love proved by the desire to share works, spaces and recollections with the people.
If we approach C´s world we will move on from the maelstrom of the 60’s on to the fall of utopias, with the hopeful arrival of the new millennium.
Therefore the notion of respect for the environment starts to be fostered, with a revision of the industrialisation process. Science has extended life expectancy and new forms of alternative energy have arisen as an answer to the energy crisis.
Different objectives for the Argentinean society have been “surgically” outlined - National Re-organization Process- and widely testified.
The wound that divided Germany has healed, glasnost and perestroika expand towards a generation of young urban professionals and their New Age. Satellite transmissions as well as informatics globalize the blue planet, thanks to the micro electronic revolution. Many places have been flooded with paraboloidal antennas and a great deal of people´s lives is recorded through video technique.
In Argentina, attempts to belong to “the first world” together with an absurd and defeated war, whose purpose was to de-colonize , take us to a new democratic season which immediately reverses to lead us to the current conflictive situation, due to a strong power of speech.
The century finishes immersed in issues that induce societies to revaluate their life styles; the external aggression provoked by terror and violence and the internal aggression caused by that virus infection: the disease of the century.
The Laws of Nature are modified by the breakthroughs in genetics engineering and molecular biology. Fundamentalist cultures and anti-cultures are changing the shape and face of the West. Third Millennium Ordeals: digitation, globalization and integration that, after spreading , give the individual only one option, his rescue. This is the fabric that supports Guillermo Cuello´s “Retrodigital”(2) ´s energetic “bits, which stem
from everything known and felt by him.


The Sign Value

.The sign problem has been dealt with by most philosophical theories : logic, knowledge theory and even metaphysics. It was considered at a time as a complementary element. In our analysis of Guillermo Cuello´s work we got rid of its graphical notion that relates it to the East. We are proposing a walk that goes from The West to the East and we are placing it as non-traditional coordinating element of representative structures.
The beat of a biological anthropomorphism can be transmitted with the chromatic substance, reduced in this case, which keeps the tonal structural strength and which applied, extended and detained creates superpositions that. could get closer to a geological process. This is achieved on account of being the operator the one who reflects not only the surrounding reality, but also his own reality with the creation of that new field (space).
We do not count on common sense philosophy, where the sign merely suggests. Here the substituted field is the essence of the work, it is the one that shapes the sign of figurability.


I believe...

Scientists are still questioning the beliefs of an expanding Universe ( open) or a contracting one ( closed)…its existence begins with an enormous explosion: Big Bang- theory under great scrutiny and revision- which contains the biggest known structures, such as super- accumulation of galaxies as well as the smallest sub-atomical particles…very careful measurements would explain the universal non-vacuum ,due to the great deal of matter, which would indicate the unbalance of the universe These notes taken from different publications some time ago, made me get closer to a more unstructured narration about Cuello´s saga: cosmos, micro-cosmos, expansion, contraction, time, light, matter… closed, open, space strength, alteration, movement, sensuality, measurement, cuts, edges, fragments, rotation, galaxies…Guillermo´s protogalaxies.

R o q u e D e B o n i s
Curator of the Contemporary Art Museum / Buenos Aires / Argentina

(1) Figural Actions, as apposed to the "ANT’s " of the sixties (Restany) and Wiener
Aktionismus (Nitsch, Brus, Schwarzkogler) dramatization, do not represent an arrival point but a departure point for the artist. It actually constitutes a gap in the flow of information, both quantitative and qualitative, with which the artist faces the canvas. The canvas, according to G. Cuello in not an “empty space”, but a medium that offers an enormous range
of opportunities, of possibilities the artist himself projects on the virgin medium, prior to conceiving,
intervening or manipulating images.
The first actions date back to Brussels1987, continuing with increased strength in Virginia, 1994, and turned into audience witnessed actions (as in his Retrospective Exhibit (1975-1997) which took place in Galeria Arte x Arte in Buenos Aires) or into even more intimate creations, for their intense nature, done in his studio before the scrutinizing eyes of small groups of spectators.

(2)“Retrodigital”, 1998, is Guillermo Cuello´s sixth digital video work . It consists of an 8’- sound -video installation,VHS format, for three simultaneous discontinuous shows. It was exhibited at Daura Museum, in Virginia, U.S.A in 1999 in the “Four Contemporary Argentinean Artists” exhibition, under the sponsorship of the Virginia Commission for the Arts together with the National Endowment for the Arts from U.S.A.
In 2000 it was shown at the Wriston Art Center & Museum in Wisconsin.