sábado, 15 de noviembre de 2008


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I. An artistic Project is more than a set of writings, drawings and estimations to get an approximate idea of how much a work of art will cost, just as in an engineering or architecture project, for such is the dictionary definition of the word “project”. An Art project, which is what Alexander Sutulov presents us, are a particular form of thinking, they require a community to reach their true meaning, value, and existence. This artist’s proposition goes beyond any didactic pretence, establishing an aesthetic option –the good and the beautiful- aimed at something which is about to exist, and which needs every person’s nearness to have the opportunity to become his/her possession. The latter because an idea in art does not call for the sum of knowledge’s which make it possible, but it appeals to generosity: the joy of being beyond the boundaries that might be expected from professionals and private interests. More than different publics or clients, an art project needs actors.

II. In the 20th century projects are not a rare thing. We even have been living obsessed with them, and we do not conceive existence without this particular form of activity, which appears to be the only form of obtaining things, whether to reach the moon or to fix a house, or certainly the logistics needed to live a married life. In lieu of thinking of administering end-reaching plans, a work of art is a project which ultimately has the mission of getting lost and live by it. It doesn’t end as it was expected. This is the main difference between a project and an art project.

III. From centuries back we have projects that have remained and we have turned them into real works of art. How to elude the energy in the sketch of the façade of Strasbourg Cathedral (probably by Erwin de Steinbach, ca. 1280), which shows us how matter –stone– has been dominated by spirit –form. This drawing existed to establish the starting point of a very complex and long-lasting collective effort that would affect and determine the life and endeavours of a whole community. We can imagine the first day the city saw this drawing, and how it has been beheld by many people who reinterpreted it throughout years until these lines became stone. Probably at the end that cathedral was not as it was imagined in the beginning –a drawing. But in art projects this can be a benefit: the whole, finally, is bigger than the sum of its parts, and form becomes the sign of a whole civilization. It was the work of a number of persons who believed in it, which saw a deep meaning who up until today intrigues and moves us.

IV. Another example of what an art project is can be found in a series of buildings which were only possible in drawings, for nobody thought they might be built: there was no technology available. But these sketches meant too much in those times, in spite of their uselessness. The fact that they were projects did not mean impairment; thus, they were prized and discussed. This particular form of the French to see and understand themselves was what we call today “visionary architecture,” which was born during the dark times of the French Revolution. Maybe it was a “necessary” architecture to exorcise that time’s bloodshed, whose main figures are Bouillée and Ledoux. It was a form of peace, no matter if it was the peace of cenotaphs and mausoleums. These works opened new ways and possibilities, both technical and artistic, to architecture, which only during the present century with such an overwhelming technology as the one existing nowadays, are possible to make. Post-modern architecture nurtures itself from these works, maybe to drive away the horror of a particularly violent century.

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V. Nowadays, a time of so much power, the artistic project, which is a potency –that’s why Sutulov works with digital technologies and classical crafts, which are the frontier of our present development– has difficulties to exist, maybe because of the atomization of languages and knowledge’s; each one wants to reduce the plan to its own enclosure without the possibility of a plasticity to go beyond the boundaries, in order to articulate itself with others: fragments prevent the whole, this is our contemporary crisis. Due to many of these problems, human capacity is unable to project itself, with the help of an all-powerful future, beyond its boundaries. Future has become a despotic exigency and it is no longer a possibility to turn the present into a rich and varied realm. Works of art only exist, on the other hand, as a chance that enlightens the present, and hence derives a great part of their richness and renewed immortality which can be seen in them in each and different human epoch: art, no matter how desolate be the reality it deals with, is a repose. What was the future when a cathedral was been built, if the completed work was going to be beheld by the next generation? Where was the efficiency of da Vinci’s projects we are proud of today, and seize as his heirs? Would we be able to recognize and encourage da Vinci if he appeared among us? Are we generous enough with the imagination of our artists, scientist and poets? What is the dignity of their talent, discipline, and effort? Contrary to what one might imagine, today it is difficult to create and, fundamentally it is not a matter of money, it is the aesthetic imagination, which makes things more difficult, almost inevitable, so to say. This is absurd if you consider how many elements there are today to make a work as the one you can see here.

VI. Alexander Sutulov’s projects exhibited here are stubborn insistences in a possibility between association and dialog, making ground to establish a language which does not deprive those different “speeches” of their own specifications and integrities, and which does give rise to common language to talk and to think. On the other hand, these projects as meaning, appeal anyone who may have some power over decisions which determine that something can exist: authorities, financiers, and technicians. These appeals pretend that the later become articulators of the project and not distant gods.

VII. In Sutulov’s projects we see human endeavour empowered by a plan. When a person walks he/she will not be the same if she/he has the opportunity of meeting a work of art during this daily routine. That is what these “virtual realities” seek to show us, three dimensional and plane projects: how the mere act of walking, wandering, and waiting would be if nearby existed a work of art raised by the community. Thus it seems quite reasonable that art come to meet us: it should draw our attention, and maybe a sense of space, an act of involvement, a moment of being with somebody else or alone may be different, may mean something.

VIII. Present times may be a time of crisis, of dissolution to art and meanings, but by choosing a graphic work Sutulov makes a categorical assertion: meanings are possible if there is a community, if we build that community, if we articulate community. This is culture. And projects are here to make this opportunity possible.

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IX. Steps are important in any project, they are responsible of its fluidity and that an idea may not be betrayed, they must count for the constant evaluation in order to improve and assure that the results meet all excellence in criteria. In an art project these steps turn into a process of modulation which is a constituting and symbolic part of the work of art. This is particularly characteristic of graphic art which began some years ago to rescue and question the elements that constitute it as an expression: its origin in a serial work, colour separation, printing procedures, stages, ghost image, sketches and plans, photography and printing proofs. Moreover, in this particular craft converge all forms which constitute the elaboration, capture or processing of the image. Today these forms are: digital procedures, electrographs, image processing software, and networks where information “travels” in form of bit maps, vectorized graphics. Considering this, which is today’s medium for a digital work? Optical discs, iris prints, computer monitors, lithographs, digital prints, virtual works? All of them are possible. And the constant is information. Information is a work of art.

X. Sutulov´s work starts with a search of images, something that can be a deliberate investigation or fortuitous encounter. From this point each image is valued in a series of relationships which define it: the picture that talks to us about an epoch, the lines which speak of an age, art which expresses an ideal. When these images have been selected or created, they are digitalized: filed. With this thought electronically means become forced: it is no longer a matter of what progress can do, it’s a matter of what artists require.

XI. From this point starts a composition step, sketch creations which will be digitalized, too, in order to decompose them in four tracks of graphic information: yellow, cyan, magenta, and black. Each layer or image will be intervened and composed with others overlapping them, producing a final image. All this is possible through the artist’s intervention upon each one of them or the sum, thanks to a real cartography: maps to “understand” the water courses, image boundaries and encounters, line-paths and light position, and colour shades: landscapes to be trodden upon. Here also occur encounters, both planned and fortuitous, enhancing the work, rediscovering it.

XII. The work completed will come back as a digital file which will be once more re-planned, reprocessed, rediscovered.

XIII. Sutulov elaborates his projects in steps that are singularized by their plasticity and diversity in the forms of expression which can reach the work. From these features derives a great part of the richness that can potentate it, depending on the print technique or medium which will make it visible. This happens because the final product is not the image: there was simultaneously a thorough and patient task of investigating the possible structures and surfaces, directly related to other fields of knowledge: engineering, printing, architecture, three-dimensional design, etc.

XIV. Anyone can think that this need of a dialog that Sutulov thinks are required for his projects might threat the integrity of a work of art. There is nothing to be afraid of, the work, that digital file is the integrity you come back to over and over again whenever there’s a doubt: you come to a work, not to a sketch; it is more powerful than a simple reference, and there lies the aesthetic integrity of the projects. This will allow them to be modulated in multiple forms, and even to travel through cyberspace: the digital format.

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XV. Finally, it is worth saying that whenever I behold the work of Alexander Sutulov I am amazed at its power, not at its strength: synonyms that in this century may have two different meanings. The power in his work is delicate enough not to force or do violence to us. Today, more than in other times, it is common to mistake art with an act of force –maybe because of the exigencies of a despotic future– a sort of intimidation which even turns against the artist himself, not because of his work, but the public relations or marketing: the nothingness. It is a sort of rest to find an artist who bets his identity in the work of art, giving himself entirely to it as its creator.

Luis Catalán Torres
Cultural Advisor
History of Chilean Mining Mural Project
Santiago, Chile, April, 1998


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I. Un proyecto artístico es más que el conjunto de escritos, dibujos y cálculos hechos para dar una idea de lo que será y costará una obra, tal como sucede en ingeniería o arquitectura, que es la definición, en el diccionario, de la palabra proyecto. Los proyectos de arte, que es lo que nos presenta aquí Alexander Sutulov, son una particular forma de reflexión, los que requieren de una comunidad para alcanzar su verdadero significado, valor y existencia. Proposición del artista que supera largamente cualquier afán didáctico y que establece una opción estética –lo bueno y lo bello– por algo está por existir y que necesita del acercamiento de cada persona para que exista la oportunidad de hacerla suya. Esto, porque una idea, en el arte, no llama solamente a los saberes que la puedan hacer posible, convoca a la generosidad: a la alegría de darse más allá de los límites que se esperarían de las profesiones y los intereses particulares. Más que públicos o clientes, un proyecto de arte necesita actores.

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II. En estos años de tanto poder, al proyecto artístico, que es una potencia –por eso Sutulov trabaja, junto a los viejos oficios clásicos, con tecnologías digitales que son la frontera del desarrollo hoy día–, le cuesta vivir, posiblemente por la atomización de los lenguajes y saberes; cada uno quiere reducir el plan a su propio y cerrado coto de cacería sin que exista la plasticidad para ir más allá de las propias fronteras y articularse con otros: los fragmentos impiden el total, que es nuestra crisis contemporánea. Buena parte de estos problemas viene de confundir, con demasiada facilidad, a la capacidad humana de proyectarse con el imperio todopoderoso del futuro, el que se ha convertido en una exigencia despótica y ya no en una posibilidad que ilumina el presente y de ahí viene gran parte de su riqueza y renovada inmortalidad para cada y diferente periodo humano que puede ver algo en ella: el arte por más desoladora que sea con la realidad que trate, es un reposo.

III. En los pasos que Sutulov desarrolla sus proyectos destaca la plasticidad y diversidad de formas de expresión que puede alcanzar la obra y de donde viene buena parte de la riqueza para potenciarla, dependiendo de la técnica de impresión o medio que la hará visible. Esto es así porque el trabajo no termina en la imagen: simultáneamente existió una labor prolija y paciente investigando las posibles estructuras y superficies, y que se relaciona directamente con otros saberes: ingenieros, impresores, arquitectos, diseñadores tridimensionales, etc.

IV. Los proyectos de Alexander Sutulov aquí expuestos son, tozudamente, el insistir en una posibilidad para la asociación y diálogo, dando bases para establecer un lenguaje que, sin hacer perder a los diferentes “idiomas” sus propias especificaciones e integridades, sí pueda levantar una lengua común para conversar, para reflexionar. Por otro lado, como significado, estos proyectos interpelan a todo aquel que tiene algún poder sobre las decisiones que determinan que algo pueda existir: autoridades, financistas y técnicos. Interpelación para que se sumen como articuladores y no como dioses lejanos.

V. En los proyectos de Sutulov vemos recorridos humanos potenciados por un plan. El caminar de una persona ya no será el mismo si tiene la oportunidad de encontrarse con una obra de arte en su rutina. Eso buscan mostrarnos las “realidades virtuales”, los proyectos en tres dimensiones y planos: cómo sería un andar, un deambular, una espera, si ahí, cerca, existiera una obra de arte levantada por una comunidad. Mayor razón para que el arte nos salga al encuentro: llame nuestra atención y quizás un espacio, ese caminar, ese estar acompañado o solo sea diferente: signifique algo.

VI. Para el arte, para los significados, estos pueden ser tiempos de crisis, tiempos de disolución, pero el optar por un trabajo gráfico es para Sutulov una afirmación rotunda: los significados son posibles si hay comunidad, si la hacemos, si articulamos comunidad. Eso es cultura. Y los proyectos están aquí para hacer posible esa oportunidad.

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VII. En todo proyecto los pasos son importantes, de ellos depende la fluidez y el que no se traicione una idea, además de la constante evaluación para mejorar y asegurar que el resultado final cumpla todos los criterios de excelencia. En un proyecto de arte esas mismas etapas se convierten, a la vez, en un proceso de modulación que es parte constituyente y simbólica de la obra como arte. Esto es particularmente característico de la disciplina gráfica que comenzó –hace varios años ya– a rescatar e interrogarse por los elementos que la conforman como expresión: su origen en la obra multi ejemplar, la separación de colores, los procedimientos de impresión, la serie, la imagen repetida, los bocetos y planos, la fotografía y las pruebas de impresión; confluyendo, además, en este oficio en particular, todas las formas en que la imagen es elaborada, captada o procesada. Hoy son los procesos digitales, la electrografía, los programas de edición de imágenes y las redes por donde la “información” viaja, los mapas de bits y las gráficas vectorizadas. Así las cosas, ¿cuál es el soporte hoy para una obra digital? ¿El disco óptico, la impresión Iris, la pantalla del computador, la litografía, la obra virtual? Todas son posibles. Y la constante es la información. Información que es una obra de arte.

VIII. La obra de Sutulov comienza con la búsqueda de las imágenes, algo que puede ser una investigación deliberada o un encuentro fortuito. Desde ahí cada imagen es valorada en una cantidad de relaciones que la definen: la foto que nos habla de una época, los trazos que hablan de una edad, el arte que expresa un ideal. Una vez seleccionadas o creadas, estas imágenes son digitalizadas: archivadas. Con esta meditación los medios electrónicos comienzan a ser forzados: ya no se tratará de lo que los programas puedan hacer, será lo que el artista les exige. Desde ahí se inicia una etapa de composición, de bocetos, los que también serán digitales, para descomponerlos en los 4 cauces de información gráfica: el amarillo, el cyan, el magenta y el negro. Cada cauce o imagen será intervenido y compuesto con los otros al superponerlas, produciendo una imagen final, todo potenciado con la intervención del artista sobre cada una de ellos o el total, gracias a una verdadera cartografía: mapas para “entender” los cauces de las aguadas, los límites de las imágenes y sus encuentros, los recorridos de las líneas y las alturas de las luces y sombras de colores: paisajes para ser recorridos. Allí también suceden encuentros tanto planeados como fortuitos que potencian el trabajo, que lo vuelven a descubrir. Conformada la obra, volverá ella a entrar como un archivo digital, donde nuevamente será replanteada, reprocesada, redescubierta.

IX. A cualquiera podría llamarle la atención que esta necesidad de diálogo que Sutulov le imprime a sus proyectos amenazara con hacer perder la integridad de una obra de arte. No hay que temer, la obra, ese archivo digital, es la integridad a la que se vuelve una y otra vez si hay dudas: se regresa a una obra y no a un boceto, es más poderosa que una simple referencia y allí descansa la entereza estética de los proyectos. Eso les permitirá moldearse de múltiples formas e, incluso, viajar por el espacio virtual: el formato digital.

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X. Para finalizar, vale la pena decir que cuando contemplo el trabajo de Alexander Sutulov, me sorprendo pensando en el poder y no en la fuerza: sinónimos que en este siglo pueden ser dos significados diferentes. El poder de su obra es suficientemente delicado como para no forzarnos, no violentarnos. Hoy es común, más que en otras épocas, confundir al arte con un acto de fuerza –lo que debe ser por las exigencias de un futuro despótico–; una especie de amedrentamiento que incluso se vuelve contra el propio artista y ni siquiera por la obra, sino por las relaciones públicas o el marketing: la nada. Es un respiro encontrarse con un artista que apuesta su identidad en la obra de arte y a la que se dedica su integridad como creador.

Luis Catalán Torres
Asesor en Gestión Cultural
Proyecto Mural Historia de la Minería Chilena
Santiago, Chile, abril de 1998

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