Shy pieces of paper and a disco ball of a different kind: the wonderful world of Jorge Macchi

Sometimes the only thing you can do is applaud the sheer simplicity of an idea. Just a picture of a horizon. And two springs trying to stretch it. Stretching the horizon. Or: when minimalism, poetry and just a tinge of mystery meet. Then you have my attention. And there are plenty of other works like Horizonte at display at S.M.A.K. (Ghent). The artist? Jorge Macchi. Don’t miss his Music Stands Still (through September 18). You’ll find more info and pictures after the jump.

When do you know that you’ve really liked an exhibition? When you just have to buy that catalogue. Not because you want to take those pictures with you, but because you want to take a part of that universe that you’ve just stepped out of, home. You want to hang on to that feeling. The enchantment you’ve just felt. I know, it’s a rather romantic way of looking at things, but that’s just the effect the works of art by Argentine artist Jorge Macchi will have on you. Because of the ingenious way he mixes conceptualism, minimalism, poetry and just that tiny bit of humour.

But let’s not stress that conceptual aspect too much, as Macchi is, as anyone will notice, clearly interested in more than that. ‘If we look at conceptual art as a tendency that reduces formal considerations and subordinates them to an idea, I couldn’t be further from that’, Macchi says in the catalogue. ‘In general, I begin with images that at some particular moment locate their specific medium and, with luck, might trigger interesting ideas in the spectator. In my case, the idea of the work does not exist prior to the image. (…) My work originates from the superimposition of a range of varied influences and not just from those that originate in conceptual art. Why not attempt to understand complexity rather than reduce it?’

At S.M.A.K. you’ll find smaller and larger works by Macchi. Works that consist of just a piece of paper attached to a wall, to room filling installations such as his Still song (the one with the disco ball). You’ll find a couple of videos and those poetic fireworks, with just some nails and lamps. Music is one of the recurring themes. (Macchi studied piano but gave up, as he had no ear and couldn’t read sheet music.) ‘When I show my work, I try to allow works that are materially very different from one another to coexist’, he says. ‘My intention is that spectators will perceive an underground river passing through all the objects, though I couldn’t specify the name of that river.’

In the main hall Macchi has installed a slightly humourous new work, inspired by those tedious waiting lines at airports, The longest distance between two points. ‘I like the idea of introducing something that at the same time is full of things and at the same time is nothing’, he says about that one.

You’ll find a short clip with Macchi talking about ‘The longest distance between two points’ here, his ’12 short songs’ crisis (involving a music box) here, and ‘Caja de musica’ (the music box with cars on a highway) here. Info about the exhibition here.

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