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“That place is only in my memories”

By Alicia Menises

curatorial Text, Gurí, Palatina Gallery, April 2013

Each story has its own time and way to get known.

The happiness with which Andrés describes his childhood experiences in a huge yard filled with dense vegetation, plus his accidental encounter with a microscope, are the genesis of a vital experience marked by play, exploration, discovery and the everlasting sense of freedom. 

In the narrative of his memories, the premise that it is impossible to go through Misiones nature without being changed by it; it either fascinates or rebels us, but we are unable to remain indifferent. Because the intense heat, dense humidity, burning sun, brightness of the colors and musical cadence of the rainforest are the constants of such an exuberant environment.

The work by Andrés is celebratory, his labyrinthine weavings of vegetation and oversized “bugs” are neither threatening nor sinister, but the ultimate expression of his wonder before this nature and the beauty he recognizes in it

The syntactic density of his “fretworks” accounts for a personal iconography that claims for a closer look. Details randomly appear before our eyes, forming the great story of the works. Words like happy, backyard, pitanga, and fungi and caterpillars appear in a subtle fashion. They are senses that become perennial while sustained, retained in the great weaving of branches, roots, stems, leaves and fruits.

Here in Misiones, we are all like that, a bit of everything; almost without noticing it, we share a multitude of habits that result from the daily experiencing of a territory that has ancestral knowledge, is full of foreign traditions and shows a fluent interaction with our neighboring countries.   This is why in all the works by Andrés we can perceive points of contact with the Jesuit landscapes, with the European technique of paper fretwork, with a scientific vision fostered by his family environment and the Guarani culture in the words Gurí, mbocaya, pitanga, guabirá. In his own way, “this is his vision of what living in Misiones would be like”.

The staging made from the concurrence of work instruments and furniture from his father’s medical office, together with great cicadas, butterflies and plants, strongly affect our emotions, our feelings, our instincts. And disclose the origin of their formal and semantic resources.

Within the infinite universe of invertebrates that inhabit the Misiones rainforest, Andrés choses only three that, taken to an extreme scale, become the great metaphor of taking off, after undergoing a growth and differentiation process. Cicadas, dragonflies and butterflies go through that process in different ways, but each of them shows the essence of change. The three spend the first stages of growth in their hideouts, until they emerge to the outside as adults. Cicadas enchant us with their intense singing for hours, the only apparently fragile dragonflies catch our attention and rejoice our minds, and butterflies provide us with the pleasant feeling of lightness and freedom.

This is why in the adult vision of his childhood memories, these insects gain a new dimension.  Butterflies fly freely in the thickness of his vegetable weavings, dragonflies are ready to depart and cicadas, after their long change process, not only have their wings but in some cases have multiplied them to become those of butterflies.

All the exhibition is a manifesto that asserts the idea that it is possible, that we can change, that we can mutate, that the place where we are born, where we grow up, determines but does not condition us.    

Andrés choses his native city, not only to live but to create in close relation with everything that surrounds him and that he loves – the daily experiencing of that nature- and from there he projects himself to the world, carrying his moved vision of his homeland and his way to go through life.