Returning after the winter break, Bellefour V is bringing together the flavours of Italy, the sounds of southern Spain, a talk about the universally relevant subject of the monetary system, and the works of two distinct local artists that share a studio space around the corner in Villa Crespo.
With a long-standing history of attending a sculpture atelier, Julieta La Valle’s experiences in the discipline have led her to toy with extremes of scale and detail: from the gargantuan to the minuscule, from the minimalist to the decorative. For Bellefour V, La Valle is exhibiting a series of self-contained domestic scenes that bridge the gap between model making and sculpture.
La Valle’s interior worlds that house monochrome figures in seemingly everyday situations simultaneously embody qualities of the endearing and of something deeply unnerving. We are a colossal force looking in on the domestic sphere of the miniature, an uninvited and invasive presence. The disruption of the common order of size causes a caesura in the sanctuary that normally derives from the knowledge that our environment and our bodies are in scale with each other.
This is certainly true of Gulliver, the protagonist of Jonathan Swift’s novel, who encounters remote nations whose inhabitants cause him to reconsider his own scale in relation the world. Gulliver’s experience as a giant on the island of Lilliput is thrown into contradiction once he is shipwrecked and stranded on the island of Brobingnag where his stature places him at only 1/12th of the size of the natives. The rulers of Brobingnag accommodate Gulliver in a specially built house, in which he is carried around and exhibited as a specimen, a curiosity. And there is something curious about observing a microcosm from the position of the giant. We are able to process a scene in its entirety; the environment becomes an internal one – a space of contemplation rather than of action.
Isasa’s image making practice takes her on a process that extracts natural forms and arrangements and liberates a purer form from within. Her abstractions, despite their origin, become non-objective and self-referential, captivating the essence of the early abstractionists. Malevich wrote of visualising “a state of feeling,” of creating through abstractions a sense of bliss and wonder, a means of being transported to another dimension.
“My practice always takes a departure from a loosely structured field of perception that serves as a stimulus to give an image generated from the unconscious its own life. In my current work, the departure point was clothing clasps. These haberdashery clasps that are used in pairs – male/female - that allow the opening and closing of a garment. As a girl, I always found pleasure in placing a hand into the small box of the old sewing machine and stirring the small clasps that were sleeping within.
Fate is still to be part of my work – scattered, mounted, superimposed, escaping, falling, embracing – generated images that I believed to be unique. My biggest surprise was to find that these images already existed: in biology books, corresponding to an organ, or to a fabric, or a cell. The distant had brought itself close. The external had converted into the internal. And it folded itself in layers and plots that add up, unify and superimpose over themselves like an organism.
The actual work is, perhaps, this: The parts and the whole. The whole and the parts.”
- Agustina Isasa, 2012
Luthier Tomas Fiore will be presenting his talent both as a musician and as a producer of hand-made artisanal instruments. His trade spans everything from 19th Century romantic guitars to tenor ukuleles, and involves a creation process that could not be more antithetical to the factory line production and mechanical work force that are so often associated with contemporary products.
On guitar, Fiore is bringing to Bellefour examples of ‘palos’ (subgenres) from the Flamenco style, a cultural form originating in Andalucia, southern Spain. Most notable of the style is that it is not defined by a single discipline or sound, but is compiled of a variety of elements: toque (guitar), cante (song) and baile (dance), as well as the punctuation of handclaps. The roots of the style are contributed to the movement of the travelling Romani people into the south of Spain, where they encountered other ethnic groups from the European and the African continents.
The fusion of cultures reached a climax during the 15th Century when King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella insisted on a religious doctrine which would force every Spanish subject to conform to Catholicism. The royal threat of execution as penance for non-submission served to further strengthen the ties between minority groups and brought about an interchange of culture between them, forging a style reflective of its diverse roots through its multidisciplinary composition.
‘The Monetary System’ is a talk by theatrically trained literary critic Damian Martin Ramallo. Bringing into question notions of the pecuniary system as a privatised business that infiltrates the public world, Ramallo will be discussing the significance of 7000 years of currency, its impact on political philosophy, the limits of its influence, or if indeed it has any limits at all. In contra to the governmental policies and institutions that exist, is the proposed existence outlined by scientist and futurist Jacque Fresco in his Venus Project. Fresco has designed a structure for a socio-economic system where money would become obsolete and the world would function in a sustainable, efficient and co-operative way through resource-based economy.
Taking iconic national dishes from his homeland, Simone Tufano has created a menu for Bellefour that comprises of hand made ricotta and walnut tortellini, Neapolitan calzone and margarita pizza. Tufano’s roots in southern Italy and his years of experience living and working as a sfoglino (professional pasta maker) in Bologna, means that he is gifted with a his culinary skill that is fused of both nature and nurture.
As well as having been awarded first place in the Mattarello d’Oro (the Italian championship for sfoglini) and the Tortellini d’Oro, Tufano has also claimed second prize in the international championship Lo Sfoglino d’Oro. Tufano spent extensive time working as a pasta teacher at the widely acclaimed La Vecchia Scuola in Bologna, a culinary school that prides itself on its adhesion to traditional methods in the production of hand made pastas.
- Ramsey Arnaoot & Kat Sapera, October 2012