Juan Andrés Videla: Nada está quieto. Centro cultural Recoleta. Buenos Aires

The over seventy paintings and drawings in this anthological exhibition offer us a remarkable opportunity to interrogate the artistic universe Videla has developed over the last twelve years.

By Laura Casanovas
Juan Andrés Videla. Matorral. Óleo sobre tela 140x180cm

“Making peace with leaving the question open allows you to flow,” says Argentine artist Juan Andrés Videla (Buenos Aires, 1958), thus providing us with a way to understand his appealing work. The over seventy paintings and drawings in the anthological exhibition Nada está quieto at the Centro Cultural Recoleta offer us a remarkable opportunity to interrogate the artistic universe he has developed over the last twelve years. The themes they address are simple and familiar: the interior of a room, a thicket, a street corner, a still life, an urban landscape, an animal, and others. They sometimes take shape in unambiguous and thick brushstrokes and sometimes on the polished yet blurry photograph-like surfaces characteristic of his style (in these cases, it is as if we were looking at the image through a wet pane of glass or a mist). They may be in black and white with remarkable use of the light or create an outburst of color. They may show different perspectives and vacillate between surrealist and realist forms of figuration on formats large and small. While his work attests to constant reflection on the many possibilities of painting and drawing, it goes beyond that. “Painting becomes an experiment to show how you perceive,” states the artist, thus accentuating a central theme in his work. “At stake is expressing the experience of that constantly changing thing that is before him[…] Videla lets himself be taken over by the endless tremors that vibrate behind the solid exterior of things,” writes artist Eduardo Stupía in the exhibition’s prologue. That is what the viewer perceives before his works: the ceaseless tremor of what’s perceived that can disturb, seduce, interrogate, move, and startle—or do all of that at once in a time that is both this time and another time. His singular work is thus tied to the discourse of poetry, where each word and concept opens up a new possibility that changes with the next in an endless series of options that takes shape in a space of openness and freedom. The open question that allows one to flow. A single image—the image of a room’s interior—is found in five paintings of different size, color, sharpness, and type of brushstroke. Is it the same room? Videla writes: “[…] I no longer stifle the experience of the world by seeking explanations. So the world sometimes speaks to me from silence, without betraying its mystery.”