Place: NN Galería. La Plata, Argentina
Lipstick traces in the dens
For this new project – which starts from the idea of seeing the relationship of collective identities and spaces as dens or forts, where different young people develop their ideas and ways of expressing themselves – we start from the investigation of an archive of archetypal images of the history and fiction and the crossing of our own pre-adolescent experiences.
So we move on to the interview and practice phase, we let ourselves be guided by the echo of the sound of “teeth grinding”, as Greil Marcus calls the feeling of the experience of a punk recital in his book “Lipstick traces. A secret history of the twentieth century “. The echo of what we consider punk or heritage of that counter-cultural moment and the stories of the young people with whom we currently go out to chat and photograph.
Both Fabro and I, although in places separated by miles and miles apart, we lived a childhood in the wild outskirts of big cities. In his case Los Cardales, a town in the province of Buenos Aires and in mine Moralzarzal, a town in the Sierra de Madrid. Hence the interest and axis of this project in which we seek to unite the idea of self-managed refuge, bati-cave, medieval fort or Voltaire café, symbolic sites for the construction of collective and cultural identities. Secret places where the weather is conducive for action plans to emerge. In our case, the proximity to the countryside, the vacant lots (TS Eliot’s The Waste Land) and groves allowed us – as Bart Simpson did with his little tree house – to find a short distance from our family home liberated land where to build between branches and materials stolen from construction sites precarious hovels with friends. Ritual where the experience of friendship was concentrated giving rise to the feeling of belonging to a gang.
From the pasture of memories and sources of reference to the New Moralzarzal:
The protagonists that we found to generate the different works were: Juani, a former student of the San Isidro art school. Iris, her bandmate and skater. Marian, fellow skater Iris and contributor to the Acid drop fanzine. And Javi, another former student of the San Isidro art polyvalent. Byker from fixie and tattoo artist.
Then there are: Leandro and Sojo whom we nicknamed “the puppies”, both students and laborers who at night have fun wearing black leather dog masks, displaying an uninhibited fetish at underground parties in the city. Surprising the pedestrian who crosses them near the kiosk of their house like two Dobermans dressed in always black sportswear, with muzzles and chains.
We shared time with each of them doing different activities and from there ideas and images came out and then transferred to the installation site in the basement of the NN gallery (in the city of La Plata). We merge different territories and cabins that together more than a Bart Simpson style hut are a laboratory of dissident and unique beings.
We work a lot at Liniers (Buenos Aires). Inside a warehouse of Fabro’s father, where we take advantage of a lot of waste materials, machines and objects that we build ourselves, as new supports designed for portraits in specific ways. In an experience very similar to the one we remembered from the construction of our childhood cabins. We also took and portrayed some of the protagonists of the photos to the shed. In turn, we made some four-hand drawings in the workshop and other accessories in textiles with my grandmother’s machines.
The lairs we built cast a spell on us. The memories of adolescence mixed with the experiences of these boys and girls who today are the new inhabitants of this imaginary town, which crosses Moralzarzal with Los Cardales, but becomes universal in that bond of friendships that occur in any town without time. Our biography was mixed with the biographies of the boys we portrayed. In turn, the fact of working with familiar machines (the sewing machine, the scraps of the shed) reinforce the idea of a bond that, although it is not expressed in the idea of the project itself, comes from the work of starting from our own story.