“Art offers an indispensable opportunity where I struggle every day to overcome myself and reach people”
Ten years have passed since he came back from the USA, the Argentinian geometric artist awarded with the First National Prize of Visual Art of Argentina receives us in the workshop shared with his woman, the artists Nora Giordano. A spiral staircase towards the zenithal light (encrypted in his work) invites to lift us to discover, multidimensional emerging, among a wide range of substrates and raw materials. As allegory to the creation and life, Giovanetti explores universes, in a playful way, curling myriads of pentagrams in an evolutionary continuum, which after the sonority of flat paper that safeguard them, they are unveiled, pieces in vibrating, bright unity, non-trodden and impossible path, towards perfection.
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What is your first memory concerning art?
In childhood, close to my mother and her work of haute couture and tailoring for theater. My father died young, I was an only child and the youngest in a family of immigrants and adults, a solitary observer stimulated by that creative universe between genres, pencils, and molds. She perceived my sensitivity and sent me to a drawing and painting workshop that resignified my life. I had creative ideas that I shared with my mother in her work. From then on, I drew everything.
Where did you study?
From adolescence I attended with devotion to advanced art courses and the Institute of Art Directors (IDA), I decided to study Advertising and Design. I obtained a University degree in Graphic and Textile Design. I worked for two decades in Advertising and Design Agencies, and in parallel, I attended the workshops of masters Miguel Dávila and Héctor Giuffré.
How do you define your expression?
I went through stages. I work with the line, which is really the abstract, as a signal. My drawing marks other geometry, drawing on a frame put me in a higher position.
What inspires you?
I always loved my work and linked it to art. That love as a designer, creating canvases until 1985, remained in my work when I stopped designing by order. I painted geometries as genres, with that organic imprint of having been worn out by the events of life and time.
How do you achieve such meticulous work?
It’s a delicate task, I’m disciplined, neat in production and manipulation. Working in design gave me structure and order. I use an architect’s board that I surround, focused on the composition, and, without sketching, I throw the precise, direct stroke. I am a perfectionist, consequent, I aspire to the execution from the creative action.
And how’s that?
I assemble art and overcoming demands, transcendental, as an opportunity for elevation. I wake up early, work attentive to what surrounds me, connected with the environment, with music, variable as the climate, is a whole pulsating universe, like the twenty-one strings of the Kora, that hybrid between harp and lute at the hands of Ballake Sissokó vibrating next to Vincent Segal’s cello, Jazz, Lizt’s Preludes or a phone call. I don’t isolate myself to draw.
In the Bauhaus School, design and way of life were the same, the man was an integral being. That’s how I see life, through art, artist, and person, integrated.
What materials do you choose?
I respect the materials and their quality, I make sensory contact with them and the situation to which they invite. The papers send, for example, the Fabriano paper, smoother and yellower, the opaline, the engraved ones; according to them, I intervene with them with gel biro, pencils, inks, color paste in spatula or brush for “matéricas” geometries. In the USA, I also used acrylic diluted on transparent film for plotting.
How did Proyecto Pentagono come about?
On my return to Argentina, after a decade of having gone to live in the USA, and as a recognized artist facilitating my circulation and production from Miami, I exhibit Geometries at RO Gallery in 2009. Luis Espinosa, visual artist and critic who passed away last year, Ramona’s chronicler, interviews me among several notes made to me, being she the one that had managed to capture the essence of my work. Elio Kapszuk invites me to present a project for the Centro Cultural Recoleta (CCR), and I thought of Luis, since he had studied philosophy as well as visual arts.
We moderated a little when Raúl Santana, Critic and poet, former Director of the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (MamBA), arrived. We complemented each other so well with Luis that we participated in several episodes of my wife’s Radio Program, Arte y cultura para la salud (AyCS) on Radio Palermo.
Thus we began a shared project from the philosophical point of view about the universe and Plato’s Timeo, associating elements with geometric figures. We took the dodecahedron, with its pentagonal faces, as a symbol of the universe; and the pentagon, of golden proportions, as a harmonic unit, a model of perfection.
Luis participated with collages on wood and poetic texts in two exhibitions with installations in 2011, Universos paralelos en RO and Fragmentar el universo in CCR, from there, he would make texts and prologues of my exhibitions, and I would make the visual production. When Luis dies in 2018, although I missed his friendship, he remained in me and I continued the projects in progress. Last year I exhibited the individual show Concepto Pentagono in his homage at Galería Van Riel.
What resources do you use in this series?
After the philosophical, because of my profile as a designer we took the pentagon and the dodecahedron as a design element, a provocative and experiential pretext of the compositional process that takes nine years of evolution.
The pentagon, being on an odd side, offers dynamism. I lack Madi intention and rules, I combine side measures, black lines that contain, strokes that expand, move, change thickness or color, join, vanish, create voids, op effects, generate plastic operations, collages or reliefs, with pencil drawing and pencil color, starring my samples and installations since 2014.
What are you working on now?
I curl the work and its fragments in a sinuosity that I define at the moment of photographing and framing, I unite the real and virtual digitalizing the work and editing it in videos that I will expose in an individual exhibition of drawings and videos in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires (MACBA) from September 11 to November 29, 2020. After participating in international Arte Correo, in group shows in Miami and Portugal, and with the collectives, Rosa Ladrillo of Chile, with Me llena el alma, and Periferia for Art@Work and Farside Gallery, I continue in my role as a curator, giving clinics and talks, the closest have been about visions of contemporary drawing.
How are you as a teacher?
I am demanding, I accompany the development of artists with a certain path, usually architects or designers.
What is your longing between art and the social?
When I think of societies that have resolved poverty, I would like that unitive and facilitating capacity of resilience that art offers, to induce us to overcome, towards a Bauhausian model, symbolically, as towards a Nirvana translated into an integrated society, more harmonious and elevated towards realization.
When I exhibited at the Palacio Nacional Da Ajuda in Lisbon, I saw once again, from the montage, that the work reaches everyone equally, that it is possible to spontaneously integrate diversity through the artistic instance, without distinction or elitism.
Art offers an invaluable opportunity for transformation. My discipline is linked to the constant yearning for perfection by which I strive every day to improve myself, so that what I do is better and reaches everyone.
Miguel Ángel Giovanetti
He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November 1948. Between 1999 and 2009 he lived in the USA. He currently lives and works in Buenos Aires.
His work can be found in Museums and Public Collections in the USA at the MoMA, MOAFL, The Patricia & Philip Frost Art Museum, Lowe Art Museum, Bass Museum of Art and the MoLAA, and at the Stockhausen Museum, the Ludwin Museum, in Kunsthalle and at the Goethe Institut in Germany. (Selection)
They possess works, private collections of Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Spain, the United States, France, England, Italy, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. (Selection).