“Oh, look at the spiral! It’s like a living being.”
Gregory Bateson, Mind and nature
The Life of Planets: Presentation by Beatriz Vignoli
Twenty years ago, Beatriz Trepat came to Dante Alberro’s studio to receive training in ceramics. She then graduated from the School of Fine Arts in the city of Rosario (Argentina), specialising in engraving, a discipline where copying and reproduction are essential skills. She transposed the poetic approach from drawing to sculpture and, following the principle of tracing, she created, in the same way as DNA or fossils, a trace of the living.
Beatriz Trepat first embarked on faithfully reproducing small simulations of creatures, fashioning species, families, colonies and reefs of a few proliferating specimens on the surface of an ostensibly common object. Here, a Baroque vase has been attacked by the invasion of mythological animal carcasses; there a funeral urn which flowers, as it were a a desert after it rains.
The key was the rose. The artist simply intuited the helical morphology of a living being from a tiny rose, found and transformed by the magic of clay into a proto-animal capable of being infinitely replicated. The form of the living world, according to Bateson, is “like music, repetitions with modulations”. The form of the living thing always tells a story, it leaves traces of its growth in self-regulating systems. The living “grows while retaining its form” (Bateson), the spiral gives expression to its most perfect example: the rose.
One day, the clay suit imploded. Whereas her previous work had been delimited by cavities devised to form vessels, Beatriz Trepat forgot about the purpose of utility. Amphorae and jugs have metamorphosed into a few rare specimens of a species that is as yet unknown: tender, unique and unparalleled sub-generic monsters. The brocade-like decoration made up of these colonies of micro-organisms has now become the skin, even the bark of organisms from an unknown kingdom. The shapes of the tips and thorns have been simplified. They no longer emerge as if by chance from an anterior matrix, but from Beatriz’s fingers, which shape them one by one, through her sculptural sense, which has been liberated from the engraving and collage process.
They no longer tell a fossil story, one which has passed through generations to show the history and living structure of social biodiversity, where a diversity of lives cohabited in chaotic order. They are now reduced to a single gesture, a touch of humour, a joke.
The fired clay captures the image of a moment in the life of an animal that came from the stars. What the character exudes gives us a glimpse into an entire world. The dramaturgy takes hold of the story. The gesture is diffused into a miniature theatre, into a welcoming slideshow where the creature, coming out of a very mysterious universe, will relieve its sense of exile.
A sculpture born out of engraving joins its other aspect – painting. Creating a setting for this nascent animal means inventing a universe where the very first differentiation will be between the states of wet and dry. After simulating the genetic remains of a lost emporium, Beatriz Trepat undertook to write an original version of Genesis, populated by beings emerging from the waters, flourishing in the sunlight.
Exhibition from April 27 to June 4, 2019.
Opening Saturday, March 16 from 6pm to 9pm preceded by a meeting with the artist at 5pm.
Open every day from 11am to 7pm.