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April, 4th, 2000
Copyright Página/12.
Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Claudia Aranovich at Centro Cultural Recoleta
The Shapes of Memory

Por Fabián Lebenglik (Translated by Inés Sánchez.)

Claudia Aranovich (Buenos Aires, 1956 - ) is back in Buenos Aires after having recently finished two artist-in-residence programmes along 1999, supported by Fundación Antorchas: first in California, at Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts, and then in England, at Kent Institute of Art and Design, Canterbury. Both programmes included in situ open-studio shows which normally serve as an evaluation and monitoring of each artist´s work. In this respect, Aranovich reveals a remarkable growth in the setting-up of her works.
Her latest exhibitionis presented with great display, at Centro Cultural Recoleta. The sculptor, through the extensive use of resin, tends to the production of highly metaphoric and monumental pieces. “Monumental” does not necessarily refer here to size, but rather, to the direct appeal to memory (individual and social) and to the concept of ritual. Both characteristics have been part of ancient sculptural traditions since sculpture started gaining, over twenty centuries ago, an incipient autonomy from funerary art.
Polyester resin, raw material of these works, contributes through the texture itself and its wide range of transparencies and opacities, as well as its malleability and the way it is deposited in layers, (almost resembling the description of the formal and constructive aspects of memory) to the specific meaning intended by the artist.
Yet, it is not only the materiality of resin and the shapes Aranovich makes that lead the viewer into the paths of memory, but also the images and objects the sculptress shuts in and fixes inside: mainly photos. The whole exhibition displays great formal and thematic density -leaning towards drama-, though at the same time she keeps distances with the theme in search of a design paradigm.
Some of the incrusted sequences have been borrowed from Anglo American Eadweard Muybridge (1830 - 1904), photography and cinema pioneer, who carried out obsessive experiments on motion, with people and animals. In fact, Muybridge aimed at having his beautiful recordings used by artists and scientists. Jobs, attitudes, gestures, are all considered by-products of history and culture.
A pair of transparent boxes with inlaid images of death–masks stands out from the rest. These works remind the viewer of the series of faces of corpses that great Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer (1929 - ) photographed and touched up in the seventies for the Biennial of Venice, also exhibited in the last but one Biennial of San Paulo and in 1997 at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.

(Centro Cultural Recoleta –Junín 1930- Buenos Aires, Argentina. Closing April 9th.)

Chacabuco 1444, Buenos Aires, Argentina. C.P. 1140.
Tel.: (54 11) 4361-2237 / e-mail: caranovich@speedy.com.ar