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The Garden Where Two Jungles Branch

By Marcelo Zapata
Published in Ambito Financiero newspaper, December 2017  

His remarkable exhibition called “Artifice” can be enjoyed at the recently inaugurated Calvaresi Gallery, which also hosts exhibitions by Magda Frank and Curatella Manes.

Buenos Aires has a new gallery located in San Telmo, close to the Museum of Modern Art. Calvaresi, which opened last month, hosts works by two avant garde pioneers -Pablo Curatella Manes and Magda Frank-, who share a floor devoted to sculptures, while the contemporary works by Andrés Paredes are exhibited in the first floor hall. A family of antique dealers, the Calvaresis have granted a special style to a house built in the late 19th Century, which was renovated respecting the original architecture but including the contrast of more contemporary elements, such as the façade and the glass elevator.
Nature has been the topic of Paredes’s work since he started his artistic career in Misiones, his home province, in the first decade of the 21st Century. It was there, in the tropical Paradise and the red soil of Apóstoles, where his fretworked trees and cut paper woods bearing the jungle entangled shapes were all born. Now, standing in the center of the “Artifice” garden, displayed at the hall located on Defensa Street, Paredes explains to this newspaper: "I decided to move to Buenos Aires, and ever since that moment my work has changed. When I came to La Boca, for the first time I devised and made my works in the harshness of the urban jungle, in a workshop with a window open to the street. My environment today has determined the changes in my production. I no longer work while watching nature, I am no longer woken by birds singing, nor do I listen to the sounds of the jungle. Instead, I create my works based on rather distant memories that feed my imagination.”
When he was asked which formal changes resulted from living in the city, given the fact that the exhibition includes butterflies, insects and a vegetation that is as entangled as the original one, he answered: "Everything is different, somehow artificial. To start with, the green and black colors have been replaced by mauve, pink, and turquoise. Color has become an active agent that helps create the exhibition climate. I have intentionally sought the dramatic effect of a garden where time has stopped, with the intention of causing an aesthetic emotion."
This unreality can be seen in the giant burnished bronze butterflies, in the simulated lianas made of paper orchids -weightless and identical to one another- that float in the middle of the hall. Moreover, the artifice is shown in the huge size of emerging sprouts. "This garden is artificial, idealized, imagined, dreamt, detached from reality," confirms Paredes.
"I did a one-month-long residency last year, and discovered that producing my work in Buenos Aires was a very interesting experience. Besides, I enjoy visiting art exhibitions and participating in the thrill of a big city. There is no artistic life in Misiones -to see something interesting, you need to go to San Pablo, Porto Alegre or to come to Buenos Aires. When the Tres Pinos Foundation offered me an apartment to live here for two years, I did not hesitate. I came her with my partner, my dog, my works. And here I am, accepting commitments and creating new projects," he added.  Paredes is currently preparing an exhibition to be held at a gallery located in Houston, a city where he feels times are shorter. But he made it clear that his Apostoles workshop is ready for him to return whenever he likes.

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