lunes, diciembre 02, 2013

Fall 2013 - Surface Desing Journal 
SDA Publication - USA. 
Latin American

b y V i c D e L a R o s a  a n d K a t e N a r t k e r

Multiple artists collaborating on creative endeavors is common practice in film, theater, and dance, but the fine arts mystique is that of solitary angst and isolated toil. Historically, exceptions have beenfew compared to the vast number of solo artists, but the rosters of recent international biennials and art fairs worldwide show an increased number of collaborative groups. Has there been a rise in the acceptance and recognition of multiple authors in the art world or has there simply been a rise in the number of Gen Y and Millennial artists for whom working in this egalitarian manner is the norm? In either case, there has been a paradigm shift in how collaborative versus solitary art making is viewed today. Perhaps cultural influences can be a factor. Artistic co-ops are prevalent throughout Latin America, from the numerous modern art collectives in Mexico City to niche artisan guilds in the surrounding small villages. Are Latin America artists and designers more accustomed to this collective way of working as an extension of communities more closely tied to the tribal traditions of their cultures? Three successful partnerships with roots in Latin America explore this idea of collaboration. At their core, the Campana Brothers, Guerra de la Paz, and Chiachio & Giannone are each a determined relationship; one is forged by a sibling bond, another through shared inspirations, and the third by a life partnership. All possess an undeniable chemistry and shared artistic vision.

Chiachio & Giannone
Like the Campana Brothers, the guiding principle of not repeating oneself is a tenet that led Argentines Leo Chiachio and Daniel Giannone to work together with textiles. They met as students in art school and decided to challenge themselves by working with any technique other than painting that forced them to re-associate the skills and craft of the canon, such as color and composition. This media mash-up is apropos, as their work is a combination of Argentine mythology and a forward-thinking openness to alternative family structures. In general, Latin American legends surround themes of eternal or lost love, luck, family, or abundance. Chiachio & Giannone release these legends from their imposed traditional meaning by inserting themselves as protagonists with 21st century ideals, to bring the subject matter into a contemporary discourse. The work is lush, multitextured and steeped in embroidered depictions of a new family unit juxtaposed in traditional settings. They use this visual language and media as a decidedly political act of two gay men who describe themselves as “partners in life and in art”. When they met over a decade ago, the couple decided to share their lives in the broadest sense, interested in the challenge of joining their two worlds. Leo Chiachio’s work was painting and drawing on men’s tailoring pattern tracing paper, representative of a world inhabited only by men. Daniel Giannone painted flowers in a childlike style akin to those found in embroidered tablecloths. Eventually, Leo’s masculine visual world began to fill with the flowers and animals that inhabited Daniel’s visual landscape. In each tableau, they are always accompanied by their “son”, Piolin the Dachshund who is featured prominently throughout their body of work. They are equally involved in all aspects of the creative process, from drawing to photographing themselves for the embroidery stitching cartoons. Tattoos, hairstyling, makeup, and clothing for the characters they dream up are all carefully articulated in real time to help them fully inhabit these alter egos. Stitch by stitch, they build alternate universes that would otherwise be impossible due to cost, improbability, circumstance, or history. 
The desire to manifest a world, idea, or object that does not exist is what motivates most artists, but creative partnerships represent a unique commonality forged by shared working processes and world views. Whether originating from sibling relations, friendship, or love, these partnerships come with double the power to filter the changes, influences and trends in our modern world. There is an automatic confirmation and assessment of what is seen and felt, and in turn a symbiotic visual response is created. Artistic collaborations have existed throughout history, but the contemporary duos from Latin America are unique. As Chiachio & Giannone observe “We believe that these models for creative partnerships are emerging strongly in Latin America due to the political and social changes that we are living. And we are happy to be a part of—and protagonists of—these times.”

The Campana Brothers
Guerra de la Paz
Chiachio & Giannone

—Vic De La Rosa is an artist and professor of art at San Francisco State University, CA
—Kate Nartker is an artist and educator living in San Francisco, CA

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