Augusto Zanella & Luis Rodríguez: Mambo. Miranda Bosch, Buenos Aires

The space directed by Eleonora Molina presents an exhibition that has the optical illusions as starting point.

By Marcela Costa Peuser
View of the exhibition Mambo / Vista la exhibición Mambo.

At Miranda Bosch Arte, a space directed by Eleonora Molina, the Argentine artists Augusto Zanella (Argentina, 1967) and Luis Rodríguez (Argentina, 1983) present Mambo, an exhibition whose point of departure are optical illusions.

Trained as an architect, Augusto Zanella is a true researcher of space, and more specifically, a researcher of processes of image formation (projection ­ reflection ­ refraction) applied to photography, video and installations.

Drawing inspiration from Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio, the artist devoted himself to inquiring into perspective and optical plays. While his attention was attracted to the slightly trapezoidal layout of this brilliant work of urban planning dating from 1536, what attracted me most was the wind rose drawn on the pavement, visibly flattened and deformed, and yet allowing the viewer to perceive its true circular shape, depending on his or her position. This was the first step towards his complex geometries. 

“Each work I produce is conceived as a global project,” the artist states, “and it is the space that has the last word.” In the particular case of Miranda Bosch, he chose the stairway and a door that face the gallery’s display window, and in the first floor, the area of the elevator, “a totally unusual place for exhibiting art.” Starting from the figure of the circle, the material chosen was a fluorescent orange vinyl in one case and masking tape – black and blue – in the other. It is an extremely complex piece whose installation alone demanded more than a week’s work. The pre­production implied a careful reassessment of the place, photographing it, finding the exact angle and from there, with the help of digital projectors, decomposing the figure and transferring it onto the support: ceiling / wall / door frame / door / elevator’s internal wall. “For my first works I always chose simple figures, since I used complicated algorithms to produce them; now, with the help of projectors, the task is much easier.”    

Luis Rodríguez, former pupil and assistant, with great experience in mural works, intervenes in two walls of the gallery but, in his case, using drawing. With the only help of an air paint spray gun and a felt pen, he creates dancing figures. As a tribute to Duchamp’s surrealist painting Nude Descending a Staircase, Rodríguez’s work amusingly tempts whoever dares to climb the stairs to the first floor. In a small room on the second floor, a series of black glass beads that emerge from the wall and challenge gravity surprise the viewer. This original work is the result of an artistic residency of this young Rosario­born artist at the San Carlos glassworks

But the highlight of this exhibition is undoubtedly the one displayed in the meeting room: Araña Cúbica, a work conceived by both authors, in which a form built from neon tubes and suspended at the center of the room is reflected by a mirror placed at one end and in turn in another one, fragmented and assembled. The vantage point belongs to the viewer who sits at the head and can distinguish, in the midst of this infinity of lights, the cube that is formed.