Fuera de Sala // Mauro Giaconir

Fuera de Sala // Mauro Giaconi

Maro Giaconi showing at Casa Venecia in Mexico City. November 23rd, 2013.


Occupation çMauro Giaconi




“And there is that passage in his novel where the prisoners formed a line before a window. One could only see their backs, but there was everything on their backs: Joy, fear, hope, and despair. Backs are faces.”




-Emmanuel Levinas




Occupation is a site-specific intervention by Argentine artist Mauro Giaconi for the Fuera de sala [Outside the Room] program of Casa Vecina [Nearby House]. Giaconi’s works go back and forth between the fields of sculpture and installation, the practice of drawing being his territory of current production in which he generates provocative spaces where chaos takes on a spectacular dimension. For the artist, work in architectural spaces gives him the opportunity to touch upon specific reflections about some of his main philosophical interests and artistic inquiries: Physical and intellectual confinements involving, in their turn, a continuum of constant vigilance, which he unceasingly confronts to the concept of “freedom.” The tension generated between opposite concepts or ideas has led him to explore extreme situations, addressing subjects such as memory, the body, tangible and intangible frontiers, and politics. Coming from a generation that had to create different mechanisms to assimilate Argentine military dictatorship, Giaconi recovers much of these tacit languages that citizens spoke to one another in order to be able to live through repression and violence. From this place, the artist thinks of his practice as a possibility to recover memory and (why not?) to heal it. It is then that the aesthetics of chaos, which holds sway in much of his graphic work, is turned upside down like a stadium from which spectators can find a niche of relief and redemption. Likewise, it is important to highlight his most recent intervention Volver a girar [To Turn Around Again] in one of the galleries of the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, as part of the exhibition Panorámica-paisaje 1969-2013 [Panorama/Landscape 1969-2013]. On that occasion, the artist started from the etymological definition of the word “revolution” in order to give rise to dialogues with the space, with history, as well as with the architectural decoration of the site.


Giaconi thinks of the gesture of his art of drawing as an exercise somewhat repetitive, which emits an almost mantric and liberating energy. In this sense, the energy that had built up during the artist’s graphic “occupation” of the space allowed him to gather together four actors who, on two occasions, carried out the action of drawing by means of graphite sticks, while also partially effacing the outlines on the walls that had been drawn with the same material. Each one of them, wearing overalls similar to the one the artist wears in his studio, would pull out of his pockets graphite, eraser, and scratching cutters, moving around crouching, or walking from one wall to the next, or from one wall to the large window looking out on Regina Street. It was as if, through this collective replay that took place during each of the two-hour sessions, a sort of corporeal meditation had occurred, overflowing the boundaries of the artist’s individual work, rendering it possible in another space hitherto unknown to him. It is pertinent to say that Occupation is the first intervention that has been planned by Giaconi. Therefore, one might ponder how the space itself triggered his moving his creative process toward other protagonists, as well as toward a different language of artistic production.


From this perspective, the project begins with the reinterpretation which the artist himself makes of the action of physically “occupying” a space, understanding it even as a stance of political resistance. It is in this way that the impossibility of confinement is imposed in the manner of a prison, cell, or cage through walls, glass, doors, and floor of the reading room saturated with and/or partially effaced graphite drawings. It is here where the “squatters” carried out the same action: To draw/erase/scratch over and over again in a totally self-defeating operation, leaving their imprint behind and, at the same time, making it disappear, like a ritornello that would not get them anywhere. They re-enact somehow with the similar willingness of a prisoner, who leaves his imprint behind within his cell and, at the same time, dreams intensely about erasing it with his daily gaze, or like the inmate who bores a hole with the hopes that it will get wider the following day. When the action concludes, we see the “squatters” quietly leaving the small room. They leave in their wake scraps of erasers and graphite scattered all over the floor; their smudged hands and faces are a reminder of their visit, as well as of the built-up energy left behind inside the space. They continue to be focused albeit pleased; they smile: The reward of deliverance has finally arrived.




-Violeta Celis














Mauro Giaconi was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1977. He has participated in group and solo exhibitions in Latin America, the United States, and Europe. He graduated from the “Prilidiano Pueyrredón” National School of Fine Arts with a “professor of painting” degree. He was a fellow at The Art Research Center (C.I.A., by its Spanish acronym) and at The International Symposium on Contemporary Art and Theory (S.I.T.A.C., by its Spanish acronym) and an artist resident at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, as well as at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has been living and working in Mexico City since 2011.


Violeta Celis is a contemporary art and arts education projects curator. She studied at “La Esmeralda” National School of Painting, Sculpture, and Engraving and, later on, she pursued a Master’s degree at 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos [Art Criticism Institute] in Mexico City. She was a consultant for Museo Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso (2004-2008), as well as for the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art (2008-2009). Some of her articles have been published in Ramona (Buenos Aires, Argentina), La TempestadGaceta de Museos, and Rufino, the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art magazine, the last three publications based in Mexico City. She was a permanent consultant on art and exhibitions for The End of the World, a radio program at Reactor 105.7FM, as well curator of “Se traspasa. Proyectos Nómadas” [To Be Transferred: Nomad Projects], a gallery at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City. She is a current member of the Art-Education Platform (PAE, by its Spanish acronym), a cooperative network on art and education, as well as a curator of “Casa Vecina” [Nearby House] Cultural Center.




FUERA DE SALA [Outside the Room]*


Ocupación [Occupation]


Graphite drawings on walls, glass, doors, floor, and action, 2013.


Mauro Giaconi.


Curator: Violeta Celis




*Fuera de sala is a program hosted by Casa Vecina where young contemporary artists are invited to take over the reading-room space next to the Documentation Center.


Translated by Miguel Falquez-Certain



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