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Untitled
Original title: Sin título
1991
Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 282 x 373 cm
Reference: ACF0638
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Unlike other Latin American painters who may be more closely connected to the driving iconographic and fetishistic tradition of their countries, it has been said of Guillermo Kuitca's work that it is philosophical in character. To begin with, in Untitled, far from choosing figuration, the artist proposes a conceptual and plastic structure which is dynamic in character. A process that runs from the treatment of the surface of the painting as an abstract play of lines and grids to the representation of a possible space. The problem lies in the fact that such a space can be real, but it is also abstract: the plan of a supposed city. Untitled is, in the end, a picture of lines on the canvas that draw geographical bodies with no depth. Kuitca proposes a fluid relation between the painting and town-planning; this work is a painting of a plan of a city, a city we might recognise, which is real, but which is also a city isolated from time and space, a city in the abstract, with no links to enable us to recognise its origin or its destination. That is where, in Kuitca's work, the philosophical character that goes beyond the dialogue between figuration and abstraction, between painting and architecture, begins to appear; because, in fact, that invisible or lost city is a kind of self-portrait. Two aspects of Kuitca's biography have left a deep mark on his work: first, his mother's profession: she was a distinguished psychoanalyst in Buenos Aires; and second, the circumstances of his own family, Jews who fled from Russia in the pogroms at the turn of the century to settle in Argentina, a country without a collective history to anchor itself to, and marked, in recent years, by being the South American refuge of escaped Nazis and a harsh dictatorship which brought new persecutions. Kuitca's family was looking for a place in a city without points of reference. In the early eighties Kuitca painted pictures with beds, and from there he went on to paint maps; for him there is a clear relation between one and the other: "A map is like an expanded bed, a virtual space previous to the bed, the closest and most immediate of our spaces. [...] The bed is the place where we are born, where we love, sleep and die; in a generic sense, the city is too." In Untitled the outline of the plan is drawn with hypodermic syringes. The city is a place where people suffer and are alone. That abstract quality of the plan of the city then takes on an existential character: the abstract space is a space of loneliness, of a search to pin down a location and to identify with a culture against loneliness, that human evolution enclosed within the confines of a bed or the grid of a city. Kuitca speaks of his family history, his own biography, while provoking a reflection on universal themes.

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