Art Forum – Carlos Basualdo
“As it happens, exile, that trope so precious to Modernity, tends to be something more than mere exposure to a foreign culture. For the exiled subject there is a moment when his strange environment finally becomes familiar, and his own self suddenly becomes unfamiliar. He discovers himself to be a part of the new culture, infinitely close to a daily process of becoming but something separate from his own memories – from what used to be his way of thinking, his way of experiencing emotions. He has incorporated that critical sense of distance that defines his interaction which his environment, and he has become the living embodiment of that remoteness. Perhaps exile – like a somewhat perverse laboratory – merely accentuates that condition of strangeness that constitutes all of us.
Gladys Nistor, like many of her generation who have emigrated from Argentina, has lived far away from her place of birth for some time, both by choice and as a response to the unfavorable condition for cultural production that exist in her native country. Her work which has in the pat often been marked by drastic changes, was even more radically modified by her emigration: it became increasingly austere, precise, and cruel. Her pieces in this show made no concessions to narrative, but were reduced to a minimal sculptural vocabulary, which one could almost call “secretive.”[…]
Nistor has carried out some extremely subtle interventions I many of these pieces, for example by placing small ceramic bricks along their edges, thus shaping fantastic, Piranesian architectures out of repetition and emptiness.
These architectures embody that fragility, that simple but cruel state of suspension that makes me think of exile. I attempt to look at myself in Nistor’s mirrors, as I attempt to look at myself in myself, without seeing anything but the deceitful effects of a banal, mysterious mechanism, untouched and untouchable. More than illustrating something about exile, these pieces place it in our thoughts; they offer themselves as something that cannot ultimately be apprehended – in order to remind us that we are no less evanescent than these reflections of neutrality.”
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