Marcos López’s large format color saturated prints give him a distinctive style that stands out among others. In ultimately kitsch scenarios, he describes a world, a continent, a country. He explores the concepts of patriotism and identity, first of Argentina, then of Latin America. In the background of his giant fresco presented at the YPF Foundation, this obvious reference to Mexican muralism features liberators San Martin and Bolivar, Presidents Chavez and Morales, as well as Che Guevara and an Aztec warrior. In the middle of the scene, the busts of the Perón couple float in a pool filled by Carlos Gardel, the King of Tango, observed by sewage workers imitating the Monument to the Malouine War Heroes, while at the same time invoking icons of pop art as Argentine basketball players on American teams watch from the sidelines. We’ve seen more palatable.
But Marcos López loves to exaggerate, add and overload to attain his aesthetic equilibrium. The references are not surprising, the clichés all typical. He produces a suffocating and polished universe, straight out of the advertising world. That relationship is particularly disturbing in the series taken in the streets of Constitución, where passers by are frozen in their daily activities, overwhelmed by billboards and symbols of international brands in a dilapidated environment that smells of the underdeveloped regions of the southern hemisphere.
“I love this place” he says about this series. “Photographing what is close. Painting my village and being universal. I love the obvious, ready-made sentences: my neighborhood is my world. In fact, I live four blocks away from this street cornier. The local color of Argentina is in its streets, its bars, its markets.”
In order to optimize the story, he combines photography and painting, collage and digital alterations, blurring the frontiers between true and false, authentic beauty or painted imitation. “In the end… who cares about the truth?” asks Marcos López. “Who dares tell me what reality is? What is the dream of the chubby-mulatto-brown-haired-olive-skinned girl in cotton candy pink tights forever perched on the corner of Brésil et Salta streets who pierces my heart and soul when her eyes meet mine? Her, yes, that is truth. America’s history can be told in 30 unending seconds.”
Pain is often hiding behind these pictures’ humor and irony, the reality of a world that believed it was strong and is cracking, whose cardboard backgrounds are slowly falling apart. It seems in the end that Marcos López’s universe is a reflection of today’s sociopolitical chronicles. Like Kitsch, it thrills some and repulses others.
The exhibition “Earth in a Transe”, whose title is an homage to Brazilian filmmaker Glauber Rocha, presents a selection of portraits and street scenes in addition to the giant mural “Bolivarian Suite”.
Catherine Tanazacq de Stigliano
Until July 15, 2011.
515 PB, Puerto Madero
Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm.