Europa Crítica: París

Hacia una poética de la crítica conceptual. (Texto de Raúl Zamudio. English below).

Si hay algo que caracteriza la obra de Daniel Silvo hasta la fecha es su naturaleza proteica. Es competente en lo formal y complejo en lo conceptual, además de visualmente poético; como artista, se mueve con comodidad entre diversos registros estéticos y trabaja la escultura, la fotografía, el vídeo, la obra en papel y la instalación. Aunque la obra de Silvo se dirige a la esfera sociopolítica en sus diversas manifestaciones, su narrativa nunca sucumbe al didactismo, sino que más bien arrastra al espectador a comprometerse con los muchos asuntos que da a conocer e investiga.

Sofisticado y precoz aunque muy actual, el arte de Silvo ha tomado dos trayectorias ontológicas que convergen gracias a una inteligencia artística que lo distingue de sus contemporáneos: una de ellas es un modus operandi definido, con una autoría evidente; la otra consiste en una variedad de colaboración más relacional o dependiente del contexto, y que se lleva a cabo mediante una metodología expansiva que cuenta tanto con los participantes como con los colaboradores. Silvo pertenece a la generación de artistas más joven, la que evita la discusión en torno a los métodos; es decir, no se siente atado a la idea impositiva de que un cierto género artístico es o no pertinente, como sí era el caso, por ejemplo, de los debates sobre la pintura y su viabilidad como práctica artística, tan lastrada de modernismo. Más que someterse a los dictados retóricos de esas dos posturas tan polarizadas, el arte de Silvo se ve animado por una amplia perspectiva de las posibilidades formales dependientes de la naturaleza del proyecto y del mejor modo de articularlo formal y conceptualmente para dotarlo de la máxima capacidad de conmover.

Algunas obras pueden ser tan sencillas como el plegado de papel moneda, aun cuando su eco conceptual sea complejo; pueden consistir quizá en la acción de marcar papeles con gran variedad de materiales, aunque estos dibujos evidencian la labor de un experto; o pueden ser fotografías que en un primer vistazo parezcan temáticamente inocuas, si bien cuando se estudian en profundidad revelan una perspicacia crítica sembrada de una interpretación filosófica tamizada por una sensibilidad tan poética como cerebral.

Asimismo, otras iniciativas artísticas de Silvo se muestran como estudios sociológicos o proyectos comunales, o incluso como experimentos sociales; una consiste en una serie de entrevistas con una amplia selección de individuos, como el etnógrafo en pleno dialogismo con sus informantes; otra abarca la construcción de unas morfologías que presentan la supuesta precisión y los subsiguientes hallazgos del científico social; otra transpone las coordenadas de la actividad celeste a la epidermis social de la arquitectura urbana.

Es este eclecticismo en el estilo y el enfoque lo que dota de continuidad formal y de conciencia a la plural obra de Silvo. Si bien intrínsecamente heterogéneo en cuanto a la estética y al contenido, el suyo es un arte impermeable a las intrigas del mundo artístico. Por consiguiente, supone un soplo de aire fresco; gracias a su tratamiento de la belleza y su sentido crítico, Daniel Silvo es uno de los artistas en activo más interesantes del momento.

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“Europa Crítica: Paris” is a work in progress that corresponds to the “Masa Crítica” series, which consists of the restoration of a series of photographs of groups belonging to watershed moments in the construction and political and social change taking place in Europe over the 20th century. It is also a project about memory, the recent history of Europe and of its protagonists, often anonymous people. In this case, Daniel Silvo pauses before the events related to the French May and, more precisely, the student occupation of the Odéon Theatre in Paris on May 16, 1968.

Daniel Silvo begins with a photographic series drawn form the newspapers from the time in which the students had taken to the stage of the Odéon Theatre. Some seated, others standing up, still more hoisting up a sign, the students went from being mere spectators to protagonists, the actors on the stage. This is an image in which it is difficult to make out or recognize the faces of those photographed.

Beginning with this series, the portrait of that formless mass, the artist creates a process of reframing and individuating the protagonists of the event in order to give a face to each one of them, to restore to them the role they once had in the history of their country,  and in the history of Europe, at a time when the phrase “Under the cobblestones the beach” hung along the facades of buildings and shops. With this project, Daniel Silvo speaks to us of the role of anonymous human beings in the events of history; of those people overlooked by official History (with a capital H), forgotten, who remain subsumed by a (faceless) mass and who, nonetheless, were not only essential in the changes that took place, but also had put their lives in danger, occasionally paying dearly in the process.

Text by: Oliva María Rubio. Director at La Fábrica

Fotografía original. Estudiantes en el teatro Odeón de París.

Toward a Critical Poetics of the Conceptual. Raúl Zamudio

Daniel Silvo’s oeuvre is marked by its protean nature. It is formally deft and conceptually complex as well as visually poetic; and as an artist he easily moves through distinct aesthetic registers including sculpture, photography, video, work-on-paper, and installation. While Silvo’s works address the social and political sphere in their various manifestations, his narratives never succumb to didacticism; rather, they invite the viewer/spectator to engage with, and be engaged by, the many issues they raise and explore.

Sophisticated and precocious yet topical, Silvo’s art has taken two ontological trajectories that are unified by an artistic intelligence that distinguishes it from his peers. One is a distinct modus operandi producing work that is singular in its authorship, and the other, a form of collaboration that is more relational and context dependent; as such it is actualized by an expansive methodology that includes participants as well as collaborators. Silvo is quintessentially of the younger generation of artists who eschew polemics regarding media; that is to say, he is not beholden to a view that a certain genre of art is pertinent or not as was the case, for example, with debates about painting and its viability as an artistic practice with its attendant vestiges of modernism. Rather than submit to the rhetorical dictates of these polarizing positions, Silvo’s art is buoyed by a broad purview of formal possibilities contingent on the nature of the project and how it may be best formally and conceptually articulated for maximum affectivity.

Some works can be as simple as the folding of currency, yet complex in its conceptual reverberation; or it may consist of making a mark on paper with a host of materials, even as these drawings suggest the handiwork of a high level of competence; or they may be photographs that upon first viewing appear thematically innocuous, though when further engaged reveal a critical acumen for philosophical exegesis filtered through a cerebral and poetic sensibility. By the same token, Silvo’s other artistic undertakings appear like sociological studies, or community projects, or even social experiments: one entails interviewswith a wide social spectrum of individuals similar to the role of ethnographer in dialogism with informers; another encompasses the construction of morphologies that have the ostensible precision and subsequent research findings of a social scientist; while another still transposes the coordinates of celestial activity, onto the social epidermis of urban architecture.

It is this eclecticism of style and approach that gives Silvo’s highly variegated body of work formal continuity and coherence. Although intrinsically heterogeneous in aesthetics and subject matter, his is an art that is impervious to the machinations of the art world. It is thus a welcome reprieve, which through both its beauty and criticality makes Daniel Silvo one of the most interesting artists working today.

 

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