Through the jaguar’s eyes
There is a strange coincidence between his work, name and the fur of the jaguar. Coincidence, perhaps a whim, which is hair-raising or at the least disturbing. Sometimes, chance has a lot to do with the context of our lives and, above all, with its metaphoric preconceptions, its touch of tango and bolero. That which endangers us all and the threat of its traps and jugglery. Without knowing it, of course, his name has already announced what would represent a journey through worlds of iconography and its disobedient, irreverent, orgiastic use. His name, I insist, was the first announcement of that (ill)mannered irreverence, that predatory cannibalism, that reactionary position facing the possibility of one –and only one– interpretation of the sign.
Nahuel Tupac Losada is his name. A name that shows his roots to the Mapuche tribe, also called the “Araucanos” by the Spanish in the phallocentric and expansive days of the Conquistadors. According to some translations, it means “jaguar”. The jaguar is a symbol for transvestism, concealment, mimesis, “camouflage”, and astuteness. The jaguar is that big cat which stealthily observes, which is hidden among the weeds while flaunting the patience to deliver a deadly attack. A cat, among other big cats, which always executes a difficult, surgical, and clean strike. The same strike that this artist executes in regards to the visual world that surrounds him, his iconographic capital. A world that he –the cat– sees as prey, as food, as an ongoing challenge.
Nahuel’s work is a testament to the crisis of the modern model and validates the demise of those avant-garde ideals hijacked by the narcissistic tyranny of the original and unique piece. From there, in part, it is expressed (without really saying it) in a defense on post-modern discursive strategies and the very typical cannibal operations within that new knowledge.
In the very promiscuous space of Facebook, the young Cuban critic, Rubens Riol, commented that, “hands down, Nahuel’s repertoire of work is palimpsestic and highly dense culturally speaking. The references live there with the force and promiscuity of an orgy. Nahuel sympathizes with the discursive strategies of post-modern art. He loves recycling, pastiche, quotes, homage, parodies, ambiguity, and the game. He also supports a very personal change, susceptible to brands and symptoms that strip away their subjectivity.” I might add his furious relational and irregular capacity to get a mass army of icons to coexist in a single epicenter. Icons, which when jumbled together in that insane overlapping, warn us of a clear saturation of their hermeneutical limits.
Undoubtedly, Nahuel comes from a wise exegete of his time. It could even be at a level that he isn’t aware of. His proposal doesn’t just represent, or at least as you might think, an act of “appropriation” and “usurpation” of the previous legacy; but rather, and most importantly, it involves a clear act of “interpretation”. Inasmuch as his, often uncomfortable, altarpieces reveal the silhouette of a cultural model affected by the principle of saturation and the palliative resources from recycling. Therefore, these turn into a type of proof, certificate or evidence of his time. Contemporaneity has developed symptoms of an irreversible metastasis in which the original, its copy and the staging of both reflect the notion of authority which tests the configuration of his exact repertoire of motives and writing styles. Nahuel is aware of this, which is why he anticipates the very idea that many people consider his work to be a contribution of solid pieces, according to their traditional meaning, in order to validate it, alternatively, as a fictional narrative of a state of mind, a moment or a system of things.
In regards to the irreversible metastasis…
…I would like to talk about that: about TODAY. A ‘today’ that supports –in its warped and narcissistic logic– the strength and bravery of the past. Without a specific place, my work would lose much of its meaning. ‘Today’, that anxiety regarding the present, is the opium of culture, it is seen in its vice and its childish addiction. ‘Today’ is the nihilistic promise, the apotheosis before the obliteration of tomorrow. What is important today, it won’t be tomorrow, inevitably. Hopeless, without meaning, without authority.
Why NiNi Art?
The pieces that I present here are the fruit of my obsessive relationship with pop culture, the accepted and broadened notion of artistic standards, and my need to give them their own semiotic form, or at least a form that I understand outside of common reasoning. I work with images that I find on the internet, my own pictures, and the postproduction tools that I have at my disposal, which allow me to build and contemplate parallel realities: a kind of simulation orchestrated on the architecture of an illusion. Through this, I celebrate that post-modern sensitivity, so pleasing from the refocusing of meaning and the perverse way of re-interpreting, disagreeing, undermining and recovering. I call my pieces NiNi Art as a tribute to the generation of young Spaniards unjustly defined by the symptomatic neologism ‘NiNi Generation’ (For ‘Ni estudian, Ni trabajan’ in Spanish with means ‘They don’t study or work’). My NiNis are, in their own way, crude and untamed, fruits of a whim; they also drink from accumulated knowledge and enjoy being created with technologically advanced and democratically available tools. My aim is to establish a mutual understanding between the work, viewer and myself which leads to aesthetic pleasure, semiotic conversation and emphatic dialogue, in the sense of question, provocation and bonds. NiNi Art is, therefore, an illusion, a spell, alchemy, a Utopian stronghold, an aesthetic (and also political) pleasure which looks in one direction: the present; life. It looks at me and my circumstances. However, it is, above all, the manifestation of a wish, its confession and quest.