Existing primarily through its inaugurations, Bellefour opens its doors for the second time for an evening showcasing artworks by Ariel Cusnir and Ana Montecucco, desert-inspired gastronomy by Luciana Frezzotti, improvised piano music by Clara Smart and a discussion of the cardboard “Edmonson” train stub by Patricio Larrambebere. The monthly salon at Bellefour provides an alternative to the isolated experience of cultural disciplines, where visual art, rhetoric, music and gastronomy are brought together to be enjoyed in complement.
Montecucco’s magnified cafeteria made from sheet metal heralds the design, form and function of the iconic 1930’s Italian coffee maker. The amplified angles, and the relation of each individual piece within the structure, provide a process of labour and adoration through which Montecucco transforms a domestic object into a site of veneration. Likewise the pencil silhouette of a boat from the 19th Century demonstrates an understanding of the binary functionality and sentimentality of an industrial form that also withholds a personal history. Referencing her Italian heritage and the naval transportation of her family to Argentina, Montecucco’s boat, like the cafeteria, acts as a symbol of nostalgia and idealisation. Through a technical understanding of her materials, Montecucco’s artworks present an alternative reality enlightened by a reflexion of the magic of the mechanical process.
Ariel Cusnir’s watercolours demonstrate a dual concern with both content and material. Manipulating the material through fastidious layering or dilution with water, Cusnir creates scenes that strive to be less, rather than more, bombastic. Instead of reinforcing images, they are faded; creating an impression of the scene depicted rather than a facsimile. What we are left with is a portal to another world, a space rich with a personal connection with time, place and sentiment.There is a ying-yang balance at play in Cusnir’s works, the transfer of information between the real and the imaginary is in constant flux. A dolphin and a scuba diver, two characters from the “Rio Abajo” series, that were born from situational souvenirs, act as narrators within a densely painted forest scene, disrupting the landscape and creating a moment within an alternate fiction. Cusnir’s smaller watercolours demonstrate a departure from narrative in favour of exploring texture and shape, in the form of a football pitch, moving water, or a rhombus. The investigation into the watercolour material itself becomes the narrative, and the subject becomes inextricably linked within the object.
Pianist Clara Smart, of the Conservatorio Nacional de Música “Carlos López Buchardo”, has focused her latest works on improvisations concerning the twilight itself. Her interest in the pale, faded light after the sunset inspires her playing, alternating between ethereal passages of barely-there music, and the creeping darkness which heralds the approach of the night. The series is at once beautiful and ominous, nostalgic and bittersweet, and meant to be enjoyed both as a dance, and as a meditation.
Luciana Frezzotti’s ‘Banquete Avellana’ is a degustation of textures, colours and flavours inspired by the food from the north of Argentina. Using potatoes, yams, corn and the ancient grain of quinoa, Frezzotti’s banquet references the landscapes of Salta and the valleys of Cerro de los Siete Colores and Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy.The desert is often thought of as a valley of death, as an arid basin from which little or no life can spring, yet in reality it is a rich ecosystem – but perhaps one that is just a little tougher, resilient and resourceful.
Artist and professor Patricio Larrambebere’s interest in the ‘Ferrocarriles Argentinos’ traverses through both his academic investigation and artistic practice. Railroads withhold a multiplicity of significances, from the political to the personal. Where the tracks lie determines the social mobility and national industry of a country; the distribution of people and of goods. Equally important are the sentimental connotations of train travel; of holidays and of connecting people separated by large distances. Using the ‘Edmonson’ cardboard train tickets specific to Argentina, Larrambebere references the broader concerns and implications of the railway system.
- Ramsey Arnaoot & Kat Sapera April 2012