Eduardo Santiere

Espacios de placer

The most traditional interpretation of the window is that of its architectural situation, its being set into an opening. Among its uses are shelter, the possibility of natural lighting, connecting two configurations of social spaces, as well as refreshment and/or ventilation of a space. In this sense, the opening turns into a screen a few millimeters large that marks out an inside and an outside (if we adhere to binary thinking), an interchangeable front and back (depending on where you're looking), with precise and apparently differentiated logics. Yet at the same time, on a discreet if not secret day-to-day basis, the window displays other traits and functions: it operates as a frame, it poses a limit to the gaze, its glass panes may turn into magnifiers or filters, and may also reflect what is in the room that houses it.

In Eduardo Santiere's artistic practice, this limit is porous. It conceives of the window as an expanded apparatus that comprises characteristics beyond the physical and tangible ones, in order to take on a conceptual presence. That presence, then, provides a framing of action for the deployment of the gaze that conjures up universes of micro- and macrocosmos, of gatherings, urban landscapes, and social dynamics. Two sorts of image configurations, from an abstract tradition, are present in Santiere's latest body of works: those that are more organic, in which color creates an explosion of vibrations, glazings and scumblings, overlappings; and those indebted to the grid as a structuring element, where the orthogonal lays out figures and elements in a precise composition.

This conception of the window as an apparatus that crops and frames an image of a much broader continuum has been extended over the last few years, due to the impact of a global disease of ostensibly eternal mutations. Covid-19 has become an inescapable presence in this group of works which, in turn, renews and updates previous images of Santiere's. The corpus of works rooted in the organic may summon up crowds gathered together by the beat of music, bodies moving about in public thoroughfares, as well as laboratory images of tests and biological research into cells, atoms, rhizomes, and cosmic constellations through supersonic lenses. An intimate connection between the most minimal and the most absolute imaginable. In turn, the set of geometric abstract works recall the spatial arrangements we had to occupy for months on end in our houses, gazing and gazing, time and again, into a space and things we were previously wont to disregard. The location at distinct geographic points of the urban setting (outside the megapolis or in a diminutive area) constructs an object-free space through the distance between bodies and objects.

If the opening usually offers a cropped demarcation in a vertical format, in Santiere's works it constantly pivots the change of point of view in order to set out another order of vision. This operation confers territorial dimensions on the image and in them it lays roots for a tension in this group of works. A gaze is opened up which unfolds a set of strategies in the indissoluble handling of paper as a medium and as a surface through the performativity of the hand that draws, paints, sculpts, and engraves. This degree of intimacy, of closeness translates into constant rhythmic movements with which it occupies the surface-medium. In this craftsman's action that allows for lingering over the images and for discerning strokes, rhythms, overlaps, scrapings, an image evolves which at moments would seem to submerge us in a topographic map of dimensions hard to quantify. In these cases, this compulsive, almost obsessive activity gives the pieces a textural dimension that comes out of scratching on paper. Thus, full and monochrome geometric figures exhibit multiple nuances and gestures which, in proximity to the work, overlap topological and aerial views.

This ensemble of works, then, aims to activate the gaze for its contemplation and study. Seemingly disconnected from everyday goings-on, in reality they appeal to vision to point out to us the constant dialogue they are actually holding with their surroundings. They urge us toward the exercise of knowing how to look as a fundamental tool for understanding our context.


Sebastián Vidal Mackinson

Contemporary Art Curator and Investigator