MIGUEL ROTHSCHILD

Nací en Buenos Aires en 1963. Después de haber terminado la carrera de Bellas Artes presenté en el centro cultural Recoleta mi primera muestra individual. Fue en 1990 y se tituló »A todas las mujeres que me hicieron sufrir como un perro«. Luego me fui de Argentina para hacer un máster en la Universität der Künste de Berlín a cargo de Rebecca Horn. En esa ciudad resido desde hace 25 años.

Para la realización de mis obras recurro a materiales diversos y con frecuencia a la fotografía como soporte. Me gusta trabajar con objetos cotidianos y darles una connotación divina, así como también, convertir en profano lo sagrado. Suelo hacer referencias a la historia del arte, a la iconografía cristiana, a mitos y leyendas bíblicas para transmitir contenidos que luego revierto, moviéndome en un espacio en donde lo real pueda confundirse con lo fantástico y viceversa.

MIGUEL ROTHSCHILD CV

Exposiciones individuales

2016               
Contre vent et marées, Bendana-Pinel art contemporain. Paris, Francia
Cuarenta dias y cuarenta noches, Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte. Buenos Aires, Argentina

2014               
Buenos Aires, Galerie Kuckei + Kuckei. Berlín, Alemania

2012               
Happy Believers, Galerie Kuckei + Kuckei. Berlín, Alemania
Images de la Mélancolie, Bendana Pinel Art Contemporain. Paris, Francia
Felices los que creen sin haber visto, Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte. Buenos Aires, Argentina

2010               
Als der Himmel Sterne sah, Franke-von Oppen. Berlín, Alemania

2009               
El Mesías Contraataca, Kunstverein Hannover. Hanóver, Alemania
El Mesías Contraataca, Langage Plus. Montreal, Canadá

2008               
Con penas ni gloria, Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Le ciel qui a vu des etoiles, Galería Bendana Pinel. Paris, Francia
33 traurige Tragödien, Kunstraum Potsdam. Potsdam, Alemania
Miguel Rothschild plays Miguel Rothschild, two tragic movies, 5533. Istambul, Turquía

2006               
New works and some special offers, Galerie Barnoud. Dijon, Francia

2005               
Celestial, Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte. Buenos Aires, Argentina

2004               
Paradis, Musée de la Chartreuse. Douai, Francia
Himmlisch, Galerie Hengevoss-Dürkop. Hamburgo, Alemania
Centre Régional d´Art Contemporain. Montbéliard, Francia

2002               
Mirta Demare, Ruimte voor actuele kunst. Rotterdam, Países Bajos

2001               
Lagrimas asesinas, Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte. Buenos Aires, Argentina

2000               
Miguel Rothschild, Museo de Arte Moderno. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Killer Tränen, Galerie Hengevoss Dürkop. Hamburgo, Alemania        Foto/Graphik Galerie Käthe Kollwitz. Berlín, Alemania
Lagrimas asesinas, Museumsakademie Galerie Helen Adkins. Berlín, Alemania

1998               
The killing tear (junto con Jorge Macchi), Galerie Jorge Alyskewicz. Paris, Francia
If you leave me, would you let me go with you?, Galerie Sandmann+Haak. Hanóver, Alemania
Projecto Paraiso, Ideen shop/Wollantik. Berlín, Alemania

1997               
Die Tränen, die sind vergebens (con Stephan Hüsch), Westwerk. Hamburgo, Alemania

Exposiciones colectivas

2016               
Northbound / Southbound, Bendana-Pinel Art Contemporain. Paris, Francia
Passion – Fan Behavior and art, Museo Ludwig Budapest. Budapest, Hungría
Passion – Fan Behavior and art, Stadtgalerie Kiel. Kiel, Alemania
ARCO, one man show, stand galería Kuckei + Kuckei. Madrid, España

2015               
Apokalypse, Rohkunstbau-Exhibition, Schloß Roskow, Alemania
Blue Moon. Licht als Atmosphere, Kunsthalle HGN. Duderstadt, Alemania
Passion – Fan Behavior and art, Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Berlín, Alemania

2014               
Ecrin, LAC&S. Limoges, Francia
Bendana Pinel Art Contemporain c/o Galleri Charlotte Lund, Galleri Charlotte Lund. Estocolmo, Suecia

2013               
Art & Entreprise, Collection Géotec. Quetigny, Francia
1825 days, Bendana-Pinel Art Contemporain. Paris, Francia

2012               
Dot.System. From Pointillism to Pixelation, Wilhelm Hack Museum. Ludwigshafen, Alemania
Religion und Riten, DZ Bank Kunstsammlung. Fráncfort, Alemania
Palabras, imágenes y otros textos, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Examples to follow! Expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability, Premchand Roychand Gallery. Mumbai, India
Paris Photo, one man show, stand de Kuckei + Kuckei. Paris, Francia

2011               
Heimat Kunde, Museo Judío de Berlín. Berlín, Alemania
Arte de los 90 en la colección del Museo de Arte Latinoamericano – Fundación Constantini. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Examples to follow! Expedition in aesthetics and sustainability, -Virginia Haus / Überseequartier / Hafencity, Hamburgo, Alemania -Schwankhalle, Bremen, Alemania -Bauhaus Dessau, Alemania -Kunstverein Pfaffenhofen, Kunstverein Ingolstadt y Städtische Galerie Neuburg a.d. Donau, Alemania -Westwendischer Kunstverein, Gartow, Alemania
Adquisiciones, donaciones y comodatos, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano – Fundación Constantini. Buenos Aires, Argentina

2010               
Transatlantic Impulses, Akademie der Künste Hanseatenweg. Berlín, Alemania
Berlin Transfer, Berlinische Galerie, Museo de Arquitectura, Fotografía y Arte Moderno de la ciudad de Berlín. Berlín, Alemania
Realidad y Utopía, 200 años de arte argentino, Akademie der Künste Brandemburger Tor. Berlín, Alemania
Ich Wicht, Kunstraum Potsdam. Potsdam, Alemania
Aasan, Ekici, Rothschild. Projectos, Fraunhofer-Institut. Potsdam, Alemania
Examples to follow! Expedition in aesthetics and sustainability, Uferhallen. Berlín, Alemania

2009               
Maquinas de mirar, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo. Sevilla, España
Visual Tactics, Mücsarnok Kunsthalle. Budapest, Hungaría
365 days, Bendana-Pinel Art Contemporain. Paris, Francia
En découdre, Fondation Ecureuil. Toulouse, Francia

2008               
Glück. Welches Glück, Museo Alemán de la Higiene. Dresden, Alemania
Blickmaschinen, Museo de arte contemporáneo. Siegen, Alemania
Unsterblich! Der Kult des Künstlers, Kulturforum, Museos estatales de Berlín. Berlín, Alemania
Manipulate, Roxy Event Platformu. Estambul, Turquía
Subtil Textil, Galería de las Galerias de Galeries Lafayette. Paris, Francia

2007               
ABC der Bilder, Museo de Pérgamo. Berlín, Alemania
Body Media, Exposición  internacional de arte interactivo, O Art Center. Shanghái, China
Neue Heimat – Berlin Contemporary, Berlinische Galerie, Museo de Arquitectura, Fotografía y Arte Moderno de la ciudad de Berlín, Alemania. 
Reunião, Baginski galería. Lisboa, Portugál
Galerie Hengevoss-Dürkop. Hamburgo, Alemania

2006               
Association ART-CADE – Galerie des Grands Bains Douches de la Plaine. Marseille, Francia
Arquivar Tormentas, Colecciones ARCO y CGAC, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea. Santiago de Compostela, España
The Flip Book Show, Fotomuseum de la Provincia de Amberes. Amberes, Bélgica
Anstoss Berlin, Kunst macht Welt, Haus am Waldsee. Berlín, Alemania
Happy Believers, 7. Bienal de Werkleitz. Halle, Alemania
Urban Appearances, Video Parcour en la Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Berlín, Alemania
Secret and Public, Contemporary Art Projects Anke Blashofer. Berlín, Alemania

2005               
Conte-Rothschild, Karpio + Facchini Gallery. Miami, Estados Unidos
Daumenkino, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf, Alemania
Zur Kasse bitte, Ludwig Forum, Aquisgrán, Alemania
Reisen ins Paradies, Kunsthalle Erfurt. Erfurt, Alemania
Exposición del cincuenta aniversario del Salon dárt contemporain de Montrouge. Hauts de Seine, Francia
Künstler. Archiv, Akademie der Künste. Berlín, Alemania
Permanent zeitgenössisch, Haus am Waldsee. Berlín, Alemania

2004               
Cinemas du futur, Lille- Ciudad Cultural Europea 2004, Euralille. Lille, Francia
SuperYo, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ouvrir couvrir, Christian Aubert – Moments artistiques. Paris, Francia
1. Festival International de flipbooks, Akademie Schloss Solitude. Stuttgart, Alemania

2003               
Moriceau/Peters/Rothschild, EOF. Paris, Francia
witterung.stromaufwärts. Basilea, Suiza

2002               
Berlin Files, DeChiara Gallery. Nueva York, Estados Unidos
Le cinéma du futur, festival Via. Maubeuge, Francia
Le cinéma du futur, festival Exit. Créteil, Francia
Últimas tendencias, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Argentina
La fotografia contemporanea latinoAmericana da new york a santiago del cile, Galleria dell’ Istituto Italo-Latinoamericano. Roma, Italia
Reality Check, Triennale der Photographie Hamburg 2002, Alemania  
Festival Rümlingen. Rümlingen, Suiza
Lausanne Underground Film Festival. Lucerna, Suiza

2001               
Galeria Hengevoss & Jensen. Hamburgo, Alemania
Premio Banco Nación, Sala Cronopios, Centro Cultural Recoleta. Buenos Aires, Argentina

2000               
Concurrents units, Kunstraum B-2. Leipzig, Alemania
Lost Paradise?, Schloss Nacke, Alemania
Paradise, Kloster Neuzelle, Alemania
Macchi, Rios, Rothschild, Galería Mario Flecha. Girona, España
Continental Shift, Ludwig Forum para Arte Internacional. Aquisgran, Alemania
Search for art, Bovisa. Milan, Italia

1999               
Gehag Forum. Berlín, Alemania
Museumsakademie, Galerie Helen Adkins. Berlín, Alemania
Sight seeing, Schloss Plüschow, Alemania
Still in motion, Lipanjepuntin Arte Contemporanea. Trieste, Italia
borges.es, Casa de América. Madrid, España
Fotografías de la colección del Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Argentina

1998               
Artenergie, Palazzo Corsioni. Florencia, Italia
Resonancias simbólicas, Trayecto Galeria. Vitoria, España

1997               
Exposición de los becarios del Karl- Hofer- Gesellschaft, Kunstamt Kreuzberg/ Bethanien. Berlín, Alemania
Die Süße des Fremden, Kunsthalle Dresden. Dresden, Alemania
art club berlin, art forum Berlin. Berlín, Alemania

Premios

2005                
Segundo Premio, Monumento a Rosa Luxemburgo, otorgado por el Senado de Cultura de la ciudad de Berlín

2000               
Premio Karl Hofer, Alemania

1996                
Premio del Karl- Hofer- Gesellschaft (Atelierpreis1996), Berlín

1989               
Segundo premio Fundación F. Lanus del Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Argentina

Colecciones

Fundación del Patrimonio cultural prusiano
BG, Berlinische Galerie, Museo de Arquitectura, Fotografía y Arte Moderno de la ciudad de Berlín
CGAC Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, España
Jüdisches Museum Berlín
Colección de fotografías del DZ Bank, Alemania
Malba, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
Mamba, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires
Colección del Ministerio de Transportes, la  Construcción y la Vivienda, Alemania

Selección de Obras

Arco Iris o la ascensión del arte concreto
2016 370 carreteles de colores diversos, Base de madera. Base de madera con carreteles: 160 x 320 cm, altura variable
Lluvia y Tormento. El Diluvio II
2012 C-print, sorbetes 100 x 150 cm
Melencolia A.D. (después de Albrecht Dürer)
2007 Sorbetes de colores 282 x 250 x 250 cm
Notre Dame de la Garde (despues de Paul Signac)
2011 C-print agujereado, confetis de los colores de la imagen sueltos 95 x 122 cm
The Birds IV
2013 Imágenes del Espiritu Santo tomado de pinturas y grabados de viejos maestros pinchados sobre una foto fija de la película „Los Pájaros“ de Alfred Hitchcock 100 x 160 cm
Transfiguración en Notre-Dame de Paris
2012 Diasec, hilo de pescar 200 x 160 cm
Atelier Seis – fotocopias color
2012 C-print 82 x 130 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares+1
Extasis
2013 Fotografía agujereada, confeti suelto 60 x 40 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares +1
Fama
2013 Fotografia agujereada, confeti dorado suelto 57 x 84 cm Edición: 5 Ejemplares
Guanajuato
2013 Fotografía agujereada, confeti suelto 40 x 50 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares +1
Inundación
2016 Diasec, hilos de pescar 70 x 46,5 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares +1
La Maravilla, 50. Aniversario de la revolución –La Habana
2009 Fotografía agujereada, confeti suelto 70 x 50 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares +1
Más allá de la imaginación o la imaginación del más allá
2013 Fotografía agujereada 60 x 130 cm
Paradise
2011 Fotografía agujereada, confeti suelto 40 x 50 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares+1
Ventana
2016 Fotografia enmarcada con acrílico fantasía 50 x 65 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares+1
Felices los que creen sin haber visto
2011 C-print agujereado, confeti extraido de la fotografía al ser ésta agujereada 112 x 150 cm Edición: 5 ejemplares +1

Textos

ARTIST.ARCHIVE New Works on Historical Holdings. By Helen Adkins

Artist.Archiv is an artistic workshop on the theme of the archive. Eight artist were invited to consult the Archive of the Akademie der Künste, which with holdings of over 800 artists from all genres is the most important archive of its kind since 1900 in German speaking countries. The new works are specifically commissioned for the exhibition; the archive materials at the source of the works are presented in the Archive Studio.

The Way to Experience Utopia
Miguel Rothschild approached the Archive full of curiosity, in search of fictions and dreams that would ignite a fire within him. Initially he devoted intensive attention to the literature section, but then on discovering utopian Expressionist architectural projects from around 1920 his enthusiasm switched to the architecture department. He spent a long time in this collection, deeply involved in contemplating original works, devoting great care to taking photographs and noting technical details for subsequent use in the development of his own project.

After the First World War came to an end various leftist political groupings and esoteric artistic circles were established with the aim of creating the preconditions for a more peaceful humanity through art and architecture. These fresh hopes, inspired by the October Revolution in 1917 in conjunction with the consequences of catastrophic defeat in war, marked an emergence out of the old order and offered fertile ground for utopian ideas. Bruno Taut took the social responsibilities of an architect very seriously and in 1918 he published his visionary plans for reshaping the Alpine landscape. He proposed developing the area by deploying glass, crystal, jewels, light, and colour in projects expressly intended to be “unpractical and without utility”. One of his contemporaries, Adolf Behne, wrote: “As an elemental activity building is capable of transforming a human being”. Another expression of that Zeitgeist is to be found in plans (c. 1919) by architects Hans and Wassili Luckhardt, who for a time explored the “room-like protective cocoon” of a room. The attraction of caves consists of “their indefinable limits and ungraspable volume. They play with closeness to natural phenomena” (Hans Luckhardt). These plans stayed on paper and thereby retained their visionary character inclusive of technically unresolved architectural extravaganzas. At the time they were conceived the faith, the client, the technology, and the money for implementation in reality were lacking.

The forms of Expressionist architecture are now technically possible and frequently deployed in eye-catching prestigious buildings or glassed-in shopping malls. Then utopian ideas run into a void. A feast for the senses with inventive uses of water and light, with glittering craters and ravines, and with lavish, richly-coloured, spiralling marble staircases – but, compared with their visionary precursors, the philosophy has vanished in this new manifestation. Today human transformation takes place on another level; today the word utopia is a label.

In his variation inspired by the original designs, Rothschild elevates and transfigures utopia to the highest consumer good. In Experience Utopia he has developed a room-high, walk-in temple building which is itself made from product packaging. The temple structure takes up formal and conceptual elements from its Expressionist forerunners: it is simultaneously a place of devotion, a monument, a house of heaven, and a cult building. It allows the visitor a three-dimensional stroll through his sweetest dreams. All kinds of colourfully printed food packets are bizarrely combined in the walls and structures of this edifice with openings spanned by sweet-wrappings. Mouth-watering temptations such as cream cakes, exotic biscuits and chocolate ice, filling potato puree and fast rice, are the building-blocks for Lucullan architectures intended, as a side-effect, to make us happier. The pillars consist of 836 Bourbon vanilla ice cartons, and the roof construction is made from 1008 breadcrumb packets and 450 cornflakes boxes. Altogether well over 5,000 packets have been used in this construction, without their contents, however – as if this may involve an empty promise.

In a gesture of sympathetic redundancy the temple pays homage to the drawings whose utopian essence inspired Rothschild’s work. Instead of an altar visions from the Archive’s architecture department are presented on the walls and in the display-cases of the chapel-like temple space. The artist selected specific works from Bruno Taut’s extensive collections, the Crystal Chain correspondence, and the archives of the Luckhardt brothers and Hans Poelzig where these were his model and inspiration. Utopia as a homage to utopia.

 

BIG BANG. Por María Cecilia Barbetta, 2015

In the beginning was the word, and the word looked like a star and was “new,” and since it was good, it became Miguel Rothschild’s hallmark. The specification “Big Bang” is programmatic. The artist reinvents himself each time. Despite the art of metamorphosis that they play out, his work cycles refer to one another with a playful lightness. They combine to form a manifold universe that despite the variety of material, form, and structure can be traced back to a conceptual core: Rothschild’s works are all held together by a tension that results from the collision of opposites. The big bang becomes performative, it becomes the stage of a creative act, a spark-releasing surface of friction of cosmological model that, precisely because it functions according to the principle of coincidentia oppositorum, makes do without parallel worlds. Like an astronaut who hovers in ethereal spheres to then find his way back to earth, the artist docks again and again on­­to the divine to bring the all-too-terrestrial to light.

For his heavenly compositions, Rothschild searches his seemingly inexhaustible store of comics for the colorful stars that visualize the violent exchanges of tension when heroes and villains fight and for the exclamation points and thought bubbles that, when cut out, recall cloud formations. Removed from its original context the material is arranged into expressive visions on paper or canvas. Based on painting, a classical technique, arrangements emerge at the intersection between what is traditionally highly valued and the quotidian: painting is quoted and thus stands once again on the pulse of time, to then be questioned by taking recourse to profane materials, broken by irony, collage, and a ludic gesture. In this framework polarities like seriousness and humor affect one another in a virtually magnetic way, the contrary is not suspended, nor does it stand in its own way.

As soon as a photograph, instead of a painting, is used as a backdrop and narrative framework it is also examined more precisely. On photographic paper tempests, brewing thunderstorms, and threatening views stage classical subjects of Romanticism, an age shaped by pathos and melancholy, but here perforated or treated with bleach. The images are disintegrated, disassembled, deconstructed; thus becoming softer, more blurred, more fragile and less and less clear in their content. Subjected to perforation, certainties are no longer irrefutable and appear in a different light. The summoned apocalyptic moods collapse when the focus of attention shifts and our gaze is caught by a substantial product of the working process: the confetti, captured by the picture frame, which has fallen to the bottom.

As if it were about taking pause, in Looking for Persephone falling snowflakes are captured with the camera and then, in a second step, transformed into holes that are burnt into the image. This trace left on the photographic paper, together with the trace in the title of the work, leads not to the goddess Persephone, who has disappeared from the image surface, but to her mother, the restless Demeter, who, as myth will have it, keeps lookout for her kidnapped daughter, torch in hand.

Rothschild also builds up contradictions or turns impressions into their opposite in one and the same composition in his series of photographs of endless nighttime skies. The firmament glows in the distance, perfectly sublime, but as soon as the viewer looks more closely a horrific-beautiful allegory to shattered dreams presents itself. Seemingly endless silver, cooper, and gold pins and nails have been hammered into the myriads of stars, allowing something shiny and new to emerge, a disconcerting alliance of light and dark, high and low, close and far.

As Above, So Below: Heaven on Earth
Art and religion are surrounded by an aura that protects specific rituals, signs, and symbols. For Miguel Rothschild both systems enter a pact. The artist finds inspiration for his work in an era of cultural history that understood itself as a continuation of religion through aesthetic means. He is inspired by the Romantic spirit, which bore contradiction in the awareness that there awaited the beauty of all mysteries. Viewing the gothic church windows that the artist photographs, perforating the prints all over and pulling nylon fibers, whose color is taken from the color of the stained glass original and whose density is chosen according to the rules of perspective, through these holes: and there is light. These profane fibers—anglers’ lines—allude to the fish, one of the oldest secret symbols of the early Christians, and are thrown with an angel’s patience to fall cascade-like from the frame, generating the impression that a miracle is taking place in the here and now.

In Rothschild’s work the divine seems within reach. The sublime has become sculptural and the exhibition visitor becomes a pilgrim when the silhouettes reproduced on colorful cardboard, silhouettes copied from old-master paintings of the martyred Saint Sebastian, are perforated in the places where the arrows penetrated the body and the resulting confetti falls to the floor. The wounds can be picked up, allowing one to generate an image of their realness and thus become a collector of holy relics. When our gaze turns upward, we discover above our heads the perforated silhouettes lined up to form a garland. What is celebrated here is the resurrection of art in new guise. Especially in a desacralized world, in which art increasingly has to serve as a projection surface for transcendence, the artist seems to seek to question this value system, a bitter pill ingested like a Eucharistic host—and to explore its composition in the greatest detail. In the course of this the photograph, the reproduction, the silhouette, before they hang in the auratized white cube, need to be placed on the dissection table, a repurposed modern altar. Here perforation is carefully undertaken: classifications are ironically undermined and certainties robbed of their original meaning. The static begins to totter, until it finally makes way for new points of view.

The artist reproduced a series of famous paintings of Saint Sebastian on flesh tone Band-Aids six by twenty-four centimeters in size. The breathable holes of the bandages coincide with the arrows’ points of entry on the skin of the saint, recalling his martyrdom, while the medium promises palliation.

A similarly ambiguous dynamic is at work in Absolution. The work functions like a trap: Janus-faced devices, devilishly good machines with a title that is both good news and an empty promise at the same time. For his boxes Rothschild photographed confessional grilles from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the color of which has been changed by the breath of the countless sins whispered through them. He perforated the photographs where there are holes in the grilles and replaced each paper circle with a stainless steel ball of the same size. The stainless steel balls are captured by a glazed wooden box with a base consisting of the respective perforated confessional photograph, a box that one can remove from the wall without a bad conscience, to bring movement into play. And yet, despite one’s agility, each attempt remains hopeless due to the different sizes of the tiny balls. The sinner, ready to repent, becomes an eternal player, the victim of his own luck; without receiving the promised absolution he remains caught in a vicious circle.

The ends justify the means, and so Saint Sebastian is once again perforated in Project for a Fountain of Dancing Tears. As if the tortured saint were moving step by step into heaven, the reproductions, which have been subjected to interventions, are linked in the corresponding locations with red drinking straws like communicating pipes. But that’s not enough of the doctrine of transubstantiation: for the wound-dots of the martyr are by no means lost. They are arranged in a second work, Zeige deine Wunde (Show Your Wound), quoting in a playful, gentle way an installation by German action artist Joseph Beuys.

The End of Innocence
After God created the world in seven days, the selection of the earth’s bounty is endlessly large, virtually paradisiacal. Miguel Rothschild picks the loveliest fruit. Without any pangs of conscience, he picks from the tree of art history, the tree of literature, and the tree of film. Works like Antibes de Turme and Notre-Dame de la Garde quote landscape paintings by Paul Signac, the most important representative of pointillism alongside Georges Seurat. By perforating the image in its entirety, the key element of Signac’s method is taken to absurd lengths, exaggerated to the point that the master ultimately becomes his own undoing.

Rothschild reveals his irony when he praises himself as Günstiger als Gursky (Cheaper than Gursky), referring to the Leipzig colleague who with his now legendary photograph 99 Cent has achieved sales in the millions. The art market knows its highs and lows. The gap that looms between the real and the symbolic is becoming larger and larger.

In Leap into the Void, an installation inspired by Yves Klein, the silhouette of the French painter and performer falls to the ground as soon as the viewer loses his inhibitions, steps up to the pedestal, and punches Klein’s outlines from the colored paper cards available with the punching machine, allowing it to sail to the floor. Rothschild’s work does not look down on its viewers. The artist knows that we know—and if not, his titles are there to help us. The red thread running through his work proves to be a postmodern guide.

Blood oozes from the wall and the name of the installation speaks volumes, the quote from Edgar Allan Poe is an invitation to read “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In the next work Rothschild, who, perhaps like the English romanticist Thomas de Quincey, sees death as a beautiful art, investigates the essence of melancholy. Melencolia A.D. is a huge sculpture built using colorful drinking straws that reveals itself to be an enlarged and yet lightweight reproduction of the stone polyhedron in the rear of Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I copper engraving that is thought to emblematize the mood evoked. For Rothschild, in contrast, the issue is to achieve a clear perspective despite the emotions involved. In his airy installation everything remains open, even the question whether the sense of wistfulness generated derives from a colorful lightness, from the empty reality of twenty-first-century life, or rather from the fact that the artist longs for a sense of abandon that he supposes to exist in the world beyond but which he is unable to discover within himself. One thing is for sure: if we take Rothschild’s titles at face value, then the abbreviation “A.D.” not only imitates Albrecht Dürer’s signature, but also stands for “Adé,” or “adieu”: we then are also aware that we need to take leave of melancholy.

On the way to new territory, the question is raised: are the figures who wander in the footsteps of Icarus, who seek to realize high-flying dreams and think up master plans, crazy as a loon? Were Aristophanes and the builders of the Biblical Tower of Babel deluded, or is it only the artist who is crazy when he slips into the role of a Noah who has seen it all, planning, with Cloud Cuckoo Land, to erect a copy of the mythical structure in a nature reserve to house birds of various kinds under its roof?

In Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic a host of birds swarms down on Bodega Bay. In the film stills that the artist has chosen for his collages the legendary fishing village looked restful and virtually abandoned until Rothschild, here underway as a collector, pinned on birds that he photographed and cut out from works by artists such as Mantegna, El Greco, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio, Petrus Christus, Filippo Lippi, Murillo, Van der Weyden, and Vasari, so that while viewing the composition, the viewer is overtaken by the uncanny feeling that these birds are a swarm of Holy Spirits spreading their wings. In the age of technical reproducibility the devil lies in the details: something that by definition is sacred and unique becomes a plague that, although given the noble task of delivering the Good News, forces people to flee.

Wilting Confetti: Ars moriendi
All paths lead to Hollywood: while the dream machine in the City of Angels retains its powerful magnetism, the city’s Broadway now seems like an abandoned strip. A series of empty cinemas from the 1930s recalls the medium’s heyday, when film screenings made spectators forget all sense of time. And yet the appearance was and remains deceptive. Strictly speaking, time is not what passes—as we lie to ourselves—but mankind. Mankind passes as in flight when in Resounding End he takes his fate into his own hands and crashes down headfirst into the sea. The artist loses himself in his work and enjoys photographing from a bird’s-eye view. Rothschild learned that decay has its own beauty. It is not only the wilting flowers that turn into confetti in Et in Arcadia ego that are subject to the principle of “die and grow,” but also the snow landscape that looks extinct in Memento mori: Work in Progress. The photograph, according to the unexpected instruction, is to be hung in the direct sun. In the course of time daylight will change this artwork that was destined to disappear from the very start. It will become paler, whiter, increasingly transparent, thus revealing to the beholder that it is full of life.

City of God: From Havana to Buenos Aires
Long live the revolution. As if this slogan had not already cost countless lives, not turned into its opposite and largely proved to be an empty promise, in 2009 Cuba—a sleeping beauty, an enclave that over the years has come to a standstill—celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the revolution. Just as the buildings on the island are crumbling, the artist perforated a panorama photograph that captured the festival, undermining the external appearance of this official act of state with the confetti thus created. Such blows of fate unite many cities of Latin America: La Maravilla fails to appear in Havana, just like Gloria, glory, or progress in Buenos Aires.

Over the city on the Río de la Plata Klotho, Lechesis, and Atropos, the three goddesses of fate in Greek mythology, seem to spin their threads and day after day decide their destiny anew. In The Fates over Buenos Aires Rothschild presents a photograph that exceeds the frame and becomes an installation with threads that extend the electric cables to the end of the exhibition wall.

For the series Atrapasueños ((Dreamcatcher), he photographed telephone lines and electrical cables in a slum of the Argentinean capital. Their course is exactly depicted on shattered safety glass. Two centimeters separate the glass from the photograph: in this interstice dominant images of the world and already existing belief systems can dissolve in the thin air.

In the next work, the beholder is forced to become a Voyeur, as the piece is titled, whose expectations are frustrated. Through the filter of a soldered pane of stained glass that takes its orientation from the pattern of the façade in the background and also serves as a frame, the work provides insight into the building complex of a slum. The photograph shows various temporary solutions for the cracks in the walls, provisional repairs, traces of temporary improvements, accumulated signs of decay. If possible the viewers, placed in the role of the voyeur, are given impression that the residents of the building are hiding from their gaze, making them take stock of their own worldview.

Rothschild enjoys questioning patterns and constantly undermines customary lines of demarcation, not least the one between reality and fiction. In City of Shadows he works as a cartographer who grants chance the power of creation. After taking a hammer to the glass of a picture frame he uses the cracks to reconstruct with fastidious exactitude the map of an imaginary place where shattered dreams seem to live.

An oversized diamond was built by the artist using smashed safety glass and effectively illuminated so that 160,040.5 Carats tosses its shadows and kaleidoscopic reflections onto the wall and the floor. The false diamond, with its intentionally created projection surface generated with artificial light, stands for a collision of antagonisms that open a field of tension between wealth and violence, excess and powerlessness. At the same time, it is a point of convergence between different lines of interpretation. Broken beauty in the work of Miguel Rothschild crystallizes once again as a complex, manifold truth.

Utopian Visions
Miguel Rothschild’s relationship to utopia is a broken one. He thus carefully takes shards of human happiness under scrutiny. In the archives of the architectural department at Berlin’s Akademie der Künste he studied the documents, letters, and architectural designs of the Gläserne Kette, or Glass Chain, an expressionist group of artist around Bruno Taut that from 1919 to 1920 wanted to create a world of transparent and colored glass that would capture the light of the cosmos and distribute it. Rothschild based the design of his House of the Atlanteans, built using plastic water bottles, on a sketch by Hermann Finsterlin, in order to retell the story of the ideal island kingdom that disappeared in the depths of the seas, which repeatedly surfaces in Western fantasy. Visitors to the installation are invited to take a seat on the floor of Atlantis, assembled like a mosaic of colorful plastic covers, to consult books from the small library that provide information about the letters exchanged by the Glass Chain, Finsterlin, and the myth of Atlantis. They are to let themselves go in the flood of images, become Atlanteans, immerse themselves in dreams and visions, yet never to lose their heads, for the next installation that awaits towers on high. It is almost as tall as the space at the Akademie der Künste Berlin, where it was exhibited according to the principle of a Russian doll. Rothschild created his own exhibition space within the exhibition space, after taking the material from the archive to once again take up formal and ideal elements of his expressionist predecessors. The result is a temple that can be walked into, on the walls of which are original sketches by various members of the group, including Hans Scharoun, the Luckhardt Brothers, and Wenzel Hablik, combined with other objects that served the artist as a model and source for inspiration in glass cases. The building blocks of this utopia are towers of Landliebe vanilla ice cream and Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, mountains of butter cookies and mandarin orange cakes. It would be paradise, if we did not know that all the packages are empty.

There’s Always Hope: Everything on Reset
Miguel Rothschild is a wandering contradiction, a descendent of doubting Thomas, who makes a sport of seeking out paradise and detecting empty phrases. A small sign in the midst of a painterly landscape announces the end. The sky above was perforated all over by the artist, as if he had to find out before the fall of night what lurks behind the last things, and it glows with a breathtaking, piercingly beautiful intensity.

Por Philippe Cyroulnik

This Monograph has been written in the wake of the Miguel Rothschild exhibition at Le 19, Regional Contemporary Art Centre at Montbéliard. It will help the public to make an initial and overall approach to the work of this unusual and fascinating artist. From the 1989 portraits, which we saw in his studio in Buenos Aires, where he was living at that time, to the performances he put on in Germany, and more specifically in Berlin, where he set up home, then to the photos “discovering” paradise in the form of a place, a city, a railway station, a signpost, a shop or a shop sign, or the fleet-books in the “master man” series, auto-fictions in the kitsch manner of the photo romance, to his installations, Miguel Rothschild carries us off into a map of the land of love which resembles a way of the cross. By accepting with resigned cheerfulness the throes and pangs of his destiny, his “character” makes his way uncomplainingly through the stations of misfortune and suffering. But with such submission, such a surfeit of zeal in the ordeal and in this submission to the tragedy of the daily round, such a pathos in his “adventures”, such a naÔvety in the invariably dashed hope, that we move swiftly to the other side of the representation to end up in a world where the pathetic flirts with the burlesque. He borrows a tradition originating in the purest tradition of painting (depiction of suffering and wounding in religious painting) and in the mystic tradition (flagellation achieving ecstasy); but he does it all with the irony of an artist who is living in the age of general disenchantment. He knows that in this world of pervasive mercantile production and consumerism, History is divided up into little (hi)stories, the Passion into airport novels, Paradise into trademarks, and that even eternity has a use-by date.

If he borrows from the most classical of pictorial traditions, he tempers it with a healthy dose of the grotesque. He does not hate conceptual art, but seasons it with a zest of neo-dadaism. Driven out of Paradise, our bogus Adam is content with not very much, mortal remains as trophy, nightmare as dream, and the mawkish as marvellous. This is why signposts become signs, objects relics, and booklets the hints of this paradise lost. There is something of Don Quixote about him, and Buster Keaton, too. And to adopt the common formula, he has striven for the best only to know the worst, but as a good apostle he does not give up hope, but carries on with unwavering conviction along his disastrous track. As we well know, however, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Translated by Simon Pleasance

SUPERYÓ. Por Eva Grinstein

A los veintitrés o veinticuatro años Andy Warhol se tiñó todo el pelo de blanco. “Decidí tener canas -relató mucho después en su Filosofía- para que nadie pudiera saber qué edad tenía”. No creo que de verdad lo hiciera por coqueto. Más bien supongo que se rediseñó porque ya había empezado a creer en la importancia de la imagen y sabía que esta falsa vejez prematura le garantizaría preguntas y respuestas que en definitiva colaborarían en la edificación de su popularidad. La vida personal como materia prima para gestar una identidad artística; la obra como excusa para inventarse una autobiografía; imagino una cadena de retroalimentaciones. Warhol joven tiñéndose. Warhol en mil fotos con su inconfundible pelo blanco. Warhol respondiendo a veces “no, no es una peluca”, y a veces “es una peluca”. Warhol dándole a la posteridad una explicación graciosa y verosímil acerca de ese temprano cambio de color.

Cuando Guillermo Iuso me muestra sus nuevas obras en un punto pasa como con Warhol, me pregunto si no estará forzando los carriles de su vida para obtener sucesos dignos de ser contados. En esta serie, Iusismo, se acentúa esa fiebre autoanalítica que determina su producción: más impúdico y más voraz desanda sus propios pasos para editarlos resumiendo múltiples hechos en pocas palabras. Recopila su excitación frente al amor con su novia Laura; actualiza traumas del pasado; sigue intentando definir los bordes de su relación consigo mismo. Uno se topa con esa montaña de frontalidad y se mezclan una suerte de vergüenza ajena y la más cruda fascinación. La gente ve su obra, le dice cosas, él busca un lápiz y anota porque sabe que le podría servir más adelante.

El último video de Martín Sastre forma parte de la muestra desde antes de ser filmado. Martín me anticipa el argumento durante las vacaciones en Uruguay y aunque escatima la mitad de la información -adora el misterio en torno a sí mismo- adivino lo que viene desde que escucho el título, Montevideo: The Dark Side Of The Pop. Tal vez lo más atractivo de Martín es que su sed de fama se funde en las dosis correctas con una absoluta lucidez en torno a las miserias del mundo del arte. Detestar y anhelar. En el video, segundo de una trilogía en curso, la abuela Lala como la abuela Lala, la prima Leonor como la enviada de la Comunidad Europea y Martín Sastre como Martín Sastre protagonizan una historia retro-futurista que habla del colonialismo al revés, con fondo de caserón rioplatense y financiación europea.

Héroes y antihéroes. Los artistas que en sus obras dicen estar refiriéndose a sí mismos se dan la oportunidad de construir el personaje que quieren que veamos cuando los vemos a ellos-persona. Busco un diccionario de psicoanálisis y leo que en la doctrina freudiana, la conciencia moral, la autoobservación y la formación de ideales son funciones del superyó. También, justamente, la sublimación artística.

La fotonovela de Miguel Rothschild es de principios de los noventa y coincidió con la radicación de Miguel en Berlín. Nunca fue mostrada en Buenos Aires pero algunos la conocen, integra una saga de trabajos en la que el artista se coloca en el centro de situaciones desventuradas e hilarantes, por ejemplo verse víctima de mujeres que lo tratan como a un perro. Rothschild reclama su herencia se conecta con sus otras propuestas supuestamente autobiográficas, paródicas y melodramáticas. En este caso, el hecho concreto de la similitud de su apellido con el de la famosa familia de millonarios da pie para una fantasía con castillo incluido. Ni verídico ni verosímil, el cuento sin embargo no podría ser de otro sino de Rothschild, caracterizado como pintor mediocre en busca de éxito y riquezas.

Se supone que Tamara Stuby no debería formar parte de esta muestra. Primero porque ya expuso en este mismo espacio de Malba y segundo porque la pieza ni siquiera es inédita: su versión original es de 1998 y fue exhibida en Londres, Buenos Aires y en Internet. Pero a esta exposición no la desvela lo que debe ser, de modo que Tamara es invitada a volver sobre Informe anual: un año de mi vida en estadísticas. Acepta y somete su reporte a una auto-auditoría, el colmo de la introspección revestida de recato y “rigor científico”. La instalación se completa con una fase participativa, abierta al público: el que disfrute husmeando en la vida de Tamara puede llevarse una copia de sus gráficos. Y el que desee opinar puede confrontarla y aportar comentarios.

Volviendo al pelo de Warhol, es cierto que es posible afirmar que todos los artistas se inscriben a sí mismos en sus obras, y viceversa. Superyó presenta cuatro piezas que lo hacen explícitamente y de maneras diferentes, cuatro narraciones de mayor o menor vuelo fantástico que parten de datos biográficos reales. Creo que la posibilidad de asomarse a esos relatos y reparar en los propios trucos de autoinvención es un motivo de peso para pedir que sigan existiendo los artistas.

PARADISE NOW. Por Joachim Jaeger

In 1890 Paul Gauguin wrote to his wife: “May the day finally come, and may it be soon, when I shall escape to the forests of a remote island in the Pacific and devote myself to ecstasy, tranquillity and art – surrounded by a new family and far removed from the European struggle for money. There in Tahiti in the silence of the beautiful tropical nights I shall be able to listen to the sweet murmuring music of my heart beating in loving harmony with the mysterious beings in my midst. Free at last, with no thought of money, I shall be able to love, sing and die.”

With these wistful words Gauguin summed up the entire programme of the modern image of paradise. Even today the image has lost little of its radiance. To the contrary, the remote island, the strangeness of the exotic and the promise of an unfettered and carefree existence in harmony with nature are the essential ingredients of almost every travel advertisement, of almost every summer and bikini advertisement to hit the media today. These ultimately cheap clichés of escape and exoticism continue to operate as social phantasmagorias, as symbols of a Cockaigne where people will be relieved of all their worldly troubles. It is here that the work of paradise explorer and ironist Miguel Rothschild begins, here in the realm of the sublime atavistic desires entertained by modern society, among the great contradictions of civilisation.

Naturally we cannot help but be bitterly disappointed by the “paradise” we encounter. What Miguel Rothschild presents in the form of photos and objects is quite simply the principle of deceptive packaging. He does not offer us dream-like visions of happiness, but rather the hell of mundanity as it is embodied in fast-food stands, pinball parlours, kiosks, garages, and shacks – Bonjour Tristesse ad infinitum. Through symbolic references, Miguel Rothschild’s “Paradise” takes aim at the inexorable marketing of our everyday lives, at the unscrupulous strategies, and at the enhancement of the normality of being. The serial nature of the paradise photos and the recurrent similarity of perspective is reminiscent of the concept represented by the Becher School, where the relationship between architecture and culture is central. Yet Rothschild’s extraordinary wit and, above all, the veritable abyss in his work between ideal and reality quickly undermine any potential neutrality. In Rothschild’s work free commentary is the mode; he creates an aesthetics of deliberate exposure. In his series on paradise this culminates in the assemblage of paradise products. Here high and low collide with one another even more directly than in the photo series, as we see for example in the juxtaposition of Toni Morrison’s highly acclaimed novel, Paradise, with a cheap, generic packet of “paradise pudding”. The found objects are lined up beside each other in a seemingly harmless sequence on shelves or in showcases which serves to create new contexts such as a sales counter or a museum vitrine. It is precisely these diverse and multi-faceted references which make Miguel Rothschild’s paradise works so interesting. They are references which recur throughout his oeuvre, for example when he transforms Munch’s “Scream” into a medical chart of the pharynx printed on a surface of Band-Aids.

Miguel Rothschild sounds out the interim spaces between social signs, taking irony as his medium. His programme ranges from the clichés of cinema through to the “Ka-boom” of comics, with no holds barred even when it comes to the art-historical heavyweight, conceptual art. The word “concept”, like “paradise”, yet again shows itself to be a wonderful cliché, able to be linked with anything and everything – that is everything apart from art. The irony extends to include the artist’s own point of view, making Rothschild’s approach both appealing and doubly rich in allusion. His artistic trajectory owes a good deal to the great ironists, Sigmar Polke, Martin Kippenberger and, in reference to the everyday world, Anna and Bernhard Blume, who are renowned for their photo series “Im Wahnzimmer” (Room of Delusions). Yet whereas Kippenberger and the Blumes call the stale air of the Federal Republic to account, with Kippenberger’s work demonstrating an almost vulgar directness, Miguel Rothschild adopts a more refined and distanced stance. His works are not interventionist, and his point of view is closer to the described phenomena.

This may have something to do with the Argentinean origins of Miguel Rothschild. As a globetrotter and new Berliner, he may be more keenly attuned to the cultural signals of European civilisation than others. His rigorous work to date has nevertheless, as the artist himself admits, acquired significantly sharper contours since his move from Buenos Aires to Berlin. From Latin America he has brought with him the narrative impulse, which is given ample expression in his flip-books. Perhaps the most significant development is Rothschild’s enthusiasm for the grotesque which he discovers in the peculiarities of everyday life. Rothschild’s ironies achieve great heights due to the realities which are mercilessly exposed to the gaze of the viewer in his small but explosive works. The “concept” is degraded by Rothschild to the status of a simple brand name. The hope for paradise, as we learn just as painfully, offers no form of escape from society. And the problem inevitably lies embedded within cultural traditions and conventions, as Gustave Flaubert noted back in the nineteenth century: “The idea of paradise is in essence more infernal than hell itself. The hypothesis of perfect happiness is more torturous than the incessant torments, for it is our lot never to achieve it.”

CUARENTA DÍAS Y CUARENTA NOCHES. Por María Cecilia Barbetta, 2016

Cuenta la Biblia que el diluvio universal duró cuarenta días y cuarenta noches. Esta metáfora de la tragedia en dos actos es el núcleo en torno al cual gira la muestra de Miguel Rothschild en Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte.

La primera parte de la exposición nos sitúa en la ciudad en donde la fatalidad está próxima a desatarse. Como se refleja en la serie »Atrapasueños« el hilo conductor es siempre la desgracia. En la mitología son las Parcas las encargadas de tejer la hebra de la vida para cada mortal, medir su longitud y finalmente cortarla. Según Rothschild estas temidas hilanderas tienden sus redes sobre Buenos Aires para decidir sobre el destino de la ciudad y sus habitantes. Las mismas deidades parecen irrumpir desde el cielo en la galería abriéndose paso a través de la lucarna y formando un arco iris sobrenatural compuesto por 370 colores diferentes. »Monochrome bleu de Rothschild« es una cita a Yves Klein y su emblemático azul. La parte de atrás del vidrio está pintada con el material típico de los pronosticadores de clima hogareños, esos souvenirs que cambian de color según el tiempo. Rosa indica lluvia, violeta significa que está nublado y azul, lindo.

Durante los cuarenta días y las cuarenta noches que esta exposición invoca, el mar se muestra atormentado y una lluvia de cloro inunda la ciudad. Rothschild podría ser considerado como un discípulo de Juan Baigorri Velar, ese argentino que en 1939 fue noticia por haber inventado una máquina que hacía llover y que el artista dice homenajear en uno de sus trabajos. Es él quien finalmente crea las tormentas. Sus obras son máquinas melancólicas, generadoras de imposibles, cuadros que reaccionan frente a los cambios climáticos, dispositivos capaces de atrapar al espectador que se internó en estas salas dejándose llevar, y que justamente ahora bajo techo, se ve inserto en medio de un diluvio sin precedentes.

Por María Cecilia Barbetta, 2012

Hay que ver para creer: El arte y la religión son almas gemelas. Los rodea un aura propia, en torno a la cual se alza un sistema cerrado de códigos y símbolos sublimes que Miguel Rothschild deconstruye y desacraliza. En el espacio de la Galería Ruth Benzacar el artista argentino residente en Berlín muestra los frutos de un trabajo obsesivo: una a una perfora rejillas de confesionarios, agujerea vitraux, pincha astros y estrellas, atraviesa heridas con tanzas de pescar, quiere llegar al fondo de las cosas y mirar qué hay del otro lado … si es que del otro lado hay algo. Siguiendo los pasos del Tomás bíblico que replica: “Si no veo en sus manos la señal de los clavos y meto mi dedo en el lugar de los clavos, y meto mi mano en su costado, no creeré”, Rothschild cuestiona impertinentemente el mundo del arte, sabiendo que de esta forma hace tambalear justamente aquel pedestal donde se ha elevado desde el renacimiento a la figura del artista poniéndolo a la altura del creador.

En una seguidilla de paseos terrenales que lo llevan a recorrer antiquísimas iglesias italianas en busca de confesionarios, Rothschild se arrodilla frente a los habitáculos para fotografiar, pura y exclusivamente, aquellas rejillas por las cuales desde el siglo XVI hasta nuestros días innumerables creyentes susurraron pecados y revelaron sus secretos más íntimos antes de obtener la tan ansiada »Absolución« del padre confesor de turno. En la copia de la foto pegada sobre cartón, Rothschild perfora cada uno de los orificios respetando el tamaño original; el redondelito sobrante lo reemplaza por una bolita de acero de la medida correspondiente. La obra la compone una caja que hace de marco y además puede y debe ser descolgada de la pared para que de esta forma la fotografía llegue a uno, lo toque, cobre vida, las bolitas rueden y el espectador se vuelva jugador, un adulto que se transforma en niño cortazariano e intenta embocarlas en los agujeritos; algo casi imposible esta absolución, ya que también él deberá someterse y guiar sus intentos según los diversos tamaños.

El doble juego con la intimidad, los secretos, el sufrimiento y la culpa ajena compartida que refleja »Absolución« se escenifica también en »Los silencios de Sor Juana«. Visto desde lejos, el cielo de la religiosa y escritora del Siglo de Oro, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, brilla de manera especial. Al acercarnos descubrimos que la intensidad de la noche proviene de un millar de alfileres y clavos de distintos grosores y tonalidades que van desde el plateado hasta el dorado pasando por el cobre. Todo está calmo y sin embargo algo nos tienta a preguntar qué penas esconden los clavos que a su vez no dejan ver las estrellas, qué suspiros se elevaron al cielo, qué plegarias no fueron escuchadas, qué tormentos son los que no nos dejan dormir … Agudicemos entonces aún más el oído.

¿Se percibe el aletear de pájaros sobre Bodega Bay? La foto que Rothschild utiliza de fondo para pinchar aves cual colección de mariposas raras es un filmstil de ›The Birds‹, la película de Alfred Hitchcock de 1963. De esta forma nos remite inmediatamente a un clásico del cine de horror. Pero en este caso, no nos sobrevuelan gaviotas ni pájaros ordinarios. Cientos de espíritus santos sacados de contexto (distintos cuadros a lo largo de la historia del arte, entre ellos pintados por Andrea del Verrocchio, Rubens, Perugino, El Greco, Durero, etc.) y agrupados a manera de plaga gracias a su ›reproducibilidad técnica‹ (Walter Benjamin, 1936) reformulan y actaulizan la pregunta sobre la existencia del aura en la obra de arte.

Las »Revelaciones«, sin embargo, parecen dar muestra tangible de una fuerza misteriosa que atravesó diversos rosetones de iglesia convirtiéndolos en colorido papel picado. Pero ahora bien, ¿quién recompone las piezas del caleidoscopio? ¿Quién reconstruye el mensaje del puzzle de cristal? ¿O es que éste finalmente fue vaciado de sentido? Si tras una búsqueda incansable a uno se le ocurriera echarle un vistazo al reverso de la obra, se encontraría con un celeste cielo, con una superficie-espejo en donde se reflejan claramente los mismos interrogantes que en la tierra.

Con un »Felices los que creen sin haber visto« Rothschild convoca a la Galería de la calle Florida. Como punto de partida para esta muestra elige la fotografía pero no la utiliza de manera convencional. Ésta es para el artista no más que una base de trabajo que debe ser explorada a fondo y esto último, entendido de forma literal. La fotografía es un material que Rothschild dinamita para luego poder entremezclar con otros elementos. El resultante es ›extended photography‹, un terreno interesantísimo, casi inexplorado, fértil y exquisito. Es así como el diluvio en »Lluvia y tormento II« es producto de la incorporación irónica al cuadro de un montón de sorbetes transparentes. En el caso de »Lluvia y tormento I« la tempestad la dibujan las perforaciones dramáticas. El confeti acumulado como gotas de lluvia al pie del cuadro relativiza a su vez el efecto trágico. Parece que Rothschild leyó a los románticos; se intuye que está marcado por quienes se aferraron a la religión de forma estética no preocupándose por contradicciones, ya que en ellas descubrieron, nada más ni nada menos, que la belleza del misterio. ¿Será acaso este espíritu romántico lo que a modo de motor impulsa la creación de tantas bienaventuranzas? Rothschild sabrá y, claro, Dios dirá. 

FALLING AND PLEASING: BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH. Por Beatrice von Bismarck, 2015

They emerge out of the darkness to the viewers: manifold ornaments in all colors, rhythms, and shapes, often including ethereal beings, angels, Mary or Christ figures, and saints. They seem to be assembled of countless, dot-like color particles. The black gives them hold, allowing the paper not only to take up the motifs familiar from stained glass windows, but also their diaphanous effects. Punched out pieces of the window picture take the place of the shimmering, unfocused stained glass, pieces cut using the hole puncher. The holes reveal the sacral depiction, allowing adoration in the sacred sense. As if they opened the space before the image towards its rear regions, they enable “revelation,” the Offenbarung that gives the series its title. And as if this celestial perspective required the earthly fall from grace as its constitutive counterpart, the punched out confetti-like dots lie on the floor, multicolored, melancholy, unavoidable collateral victims in the service of religious enlightenment.

It is nothing less than the space between heaven and earth that Miguel Rothschild surveys with his works. Here, in the realm between the sacred and the profane, the divine and the earthly, is where he places his visual language, a visual language that lends pictorial form to metaphors and knows how to translate the literal to plays on words. With this, Rothschild develops his engagement with the power of the images, whereby he is less interested in visual politics than in the implications and entanglements in which pictures can capture us. The power with which pictures can approach the eye of their vis-à-vis, before the viewer can actively capture them, describes one important axis of this mutual dependency. It plays with the subject and the object, with viewing on the one hand and entering the gaze on the other, it allows the active and the passive components of the gaze relationship to ensnare one another. Whoever looks at the sky, who looks at stars, what was done to a sky that can see its own stars, how is the gaze of a sky directed if it is able to see starts? If the stars appear to the sky as a delirious dream, caused by a blow, and if so, where were the stars beforehand? Are they only revealing  themselves now? Are the nails that mark the stars there to force them to stay? Or do they serve to make the sky remain sleepless, in this way, as in Insomnia, never allowing the stars to be lost from their gaze and thus to block their disappearance?

Rothschild’s works open into the space, quite regardless of their medium. Not just with nails, but with holes, thread, hair, straw, or bandages, with double panes of glass and wooden frames he links the surfaces of his image objects with the realms lying in front of or behind them. They stretch down to the feet of the beholder, suggest backrooms of the visual space, a light source on the rear of what is shown. They insist that they never appear as a surface alone, but only manifest in combinations, which then assemble a spatial framework. They are metaphors with the help of which the superficial is inseparably linked to the unfathomable, cryptic, or the remote: the fire holes in the image surface of Looking for Persephone allow us to think of melting snow, which announces the change of the seasons, and with it Perspehone’s return from Hades back to the earth’s surface. The browned perforation recalls the violence of the abduction and suggests not only a gaze from our world down to the world below, but also provides the channels through which the goddess of fertility, damned to move between the two realms every six months, undertakes her journeys. Underworld and winter, picture background and spatial extension of the white pictorial surface intersect.

As in this work, in Rothschild’s works the real world always stands alongside its other. Longings, utopias, magic, and belief, with which humanity creates a reality that in potentialis possesses better qualities than the given, saturate his image creations in various ways. They summon sites of longing and desire, sometimes more profane, sometimes more sacred, giving hopes room to develop. That these sites are themselves always already social constructions, discursive formations that place their bets on the chances of abstraction, is something that Rothschild’s works never allow us to forget.  For they stage not depictions of locations or recreations of stories handed down by the canonic narratives of the Christian religion, the ancient belief in gods, or modern projections onto nature, but rather present their “madeness” in the image. The series on Revelations takes up the aesthetic means with which the cathedral builders once tried to transform the presence of the divine into the colorful glow of light-filled glass windows to enable the sacred space to make divine revelation imaginable, plausible, or even concrete. With the materialized light beams that fall through Rothschild’s depictions of windows and fall from them as confetti, he transforms the abstract illuminating power into concrete components of architectural objectives. What comes to the foreground here, as it were, is not so much revelation itself, but the way in which it is shown, the techniques used, and in whose service this took place—that of Christian teaching and the confirmation of belief. While the represented religious figures and events attest to divine contact, the windows on which they appear are in contrast the media through which this contact can take place. This last quality of aesthetic translation, the fabrication of transcendental moments of experimentation, is Rothschild’s focus. How to illustrate a revelation that by definition excludes permanent visual representability, how to capture a mystery in the image whose very nature refuses cognition, how to conjure up an Arcadia when it never existed and draws its evocative power from this very non-existence, or how can a utopia, whose impossibility of realization is essential, be implemented in material, artistic objects? These issues are reflected in Rothschild’s work, not to offer solutions, but to express the very desire for such solutions, the desire for an overcoming of the earthly, of fate and death and the tie to matter. But also its unrealizability, for fugacity, decay, and its this-wordly contingency is always inscribed in the works. For example, Et in arcadia ego shows less an ideal state of nature as rather its passing, while paradise remains a simple marketing promise and the ecclesiastical mystery, loses all character of promise in the dots of confetti. And so the Fates fly across the electric lines, often drooping, that link the houses in Buenos Aires, wiring the Argentinean residential area and, corresponding to their quality as goddesses of fate, entangling the worldly cityscape in an order of tragic inescapability.

Rothschild leaves no doubt that we are the ones that attribute these notions their extraordinary power. He stages these processes of attributing non-everyday quality. Here, what is represented remains manmade, so that it can always lose its special status. The transformation of history into myths and legends, the conversion of artworks into icons, the exaltation of human beings into heroes and start, are not necessarily permanent, but they can always be lessened, or even rejected. Prestige, fame, reputation, glory, and nimbus are fleeting. Glamour and glory, feelings of victory and crowning moments pass, what remains are the remains of memory in the colorful mounds of confetti. Fama—both rumor and fame at the same time—leaves those she assails with only golden crumbles. The glamour of Hollywood is reduced to the decaying scaffolding of cinema architecture. Former glory and current disillusion lie close to one another in the way in which Rothschild treats all that is attributed the status of the extraordinary.

In this way, he has his figures fall one by one, divinities, icons and legends of art history. They fall and have to become earthly, human, burdened with the material inconveniences of life. As if they suffered under the pain taken too literally to which they owe their fame and notoriety, threads of tears cascade to the floor from the reproductions of portraits of praying Marys and martyred martyrs. Saint Sebastian is not just provisionally patched up by Band-Aids, they actually constitute his very being as a figure in all their poor materiality. As in Hitchcock’s The Birds, representations of the Holy Spirit hover in the skies, but not in a comforting, but a threatening guise. Edvards Munch’s Scream swings from the ground to the ceiling, the accordion-like multiple reproduction of the motif of the silent mouth translates sound to body. They have all fallen, from the Olympus of art history to the depths of a literal, material everyday life. Suffering, pain, and threat become palpable. As if the symbolic aspect of these images could be grasped in concrete terms. It is this literalness with which Rothschild disturbs the all too familiar and secure. This includes what is recognized by art history, or more precisely, those aspects that for art history legitimize the extraordinary importance placed on an artwork. To this extent, the dotted application of paint, with which pointillism dissected color perception and for which this artistic movement is attributed historical importance, becomes Rothschild’s focus. The sublime dots of paint of Paul Signac are replaced by the dot-like gaps, punched holes that form a new color formation on the floor. Or he inverts the art-historical meaning of Yves Klein’s legendary Leap into the Void, by taking it literally and allowing Klein, cut out as a paper figure, to actually fall hundreds of times over, again and again. Falling, it seems, is the unavoidable consequence for icons of art history subjected to Rothschild’s appropriations. Falling becomes a form of movement to parody the basic elements of the aesthetic canon in the Western world.  

But part of Rothschild’s reversing interpretation is that the fallen are declared the actual attraction. Instead of associating the rise with glory and the decline with losses, he reverses the valences. The striking, attractive, opulent is based on exactly those elements that he lets fall. The dots of confetti posses the color and splendour that the images otherwise lack, the trash of consumer society, the empty plastic bottles assemble to form brilliant architecture, and only the fallen Yves Klein condenses in its multiplication to become an artwork, falling tears, blood spurts, and beams of light have a more intense presence than the painted elements of the image which Rothschild allows them to emerge from in his adaptation. In addition, the artist honors not just the fall, he also offers the fallen the chance to rise again, a chance that are usually refused. Analogous to the passages of the mythical Persephone between Hades and the world, Rothschild maintains the axis between heaven and earth. “Revival”, resurrection, and the return to fame is possible. With this network of movements of rising and falling, Rothschild finally describes the dynamics with which symbolic values are created but can also be destroyed.

Reputation, fame, and importance over the years are the gains that are at stake to arrive in the higher spheres of society, of historiography and myth, or of art. Attention and recognition are currencies that are used to reach this goal, they blaze the path from the everyday to the special, open access to the Olympus of the stars, icons, heroes, saints, and gods. When Rothschild captures this process of valuation and devaluation in an image, he makes the collective structure of status attributions his subject, in particular emphasizing that work on image and publicity has gained enormously in social importance since the media, technological, and psychosocial developments of the 1960s.  It has become a requirement of both private and professional life. Art in particular serves as a field of experimentation for the techniques used here and represents at the same time its most striking forms. As in no other social realm, here the symbolic values are decisive: economic success depends on reputation, while recognition is not necessary reflected financially.

If you will, Rothschild stretches the metaphor of “falling” to this dimension of the sociology of art. To attract attention, to please, and to be caught in the gaze describe relationships of attention between art and its recipients. It allows Rothschild to become concrete, when, like snares of attention, he allows material linkages to grow, leap, or fly from the works to the beholders. Falling out of the picture or even the frame, like his threads or paper dots, is analogous to the expectation directed at art, according to which originality is only manifest when a familiar image is disturbed or a traditional frame is exploded. Falling here is once again linked to ascent, implicates pleasing, and thus only pleasing in passing. In this way, Rothschild locates himself in the logic that constitutes value in the field of art. Snared, in a literal and metaphorical way, in the expectations, both the iconic models, the divinities of art and society, as well as his own exposure entail for him. This parodic play with the profane to the limits of kitsch and cliché represents a liberation from its bonds. By way of appropriation an analysis of structures takes place in which he is himself involved, just as a reinterpretation: the gallows humor of the artist who knows his own ensnarement in the visual regime of art and makes it his subject. In group of works Himmel auf Erden, altering a Beuys quotation, he shows his wound, not as a reference to his literacy, but to the dynamic captivation of artistic existence in the gaze of the beholder, not always without wounds: between heaven and earth.

trans. Brian Currid

Publicaciones

MIGUEL ROTHSCHILD, Hatje Cantz, 2015

MIGUEL ROTHSCHILD, Le 19, Centre Régional D’ art Contemporain, Montbéliard, 2006

Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte
Juan Ramírez de Velasco 1287
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Martes a sábado de 14 a 19.
Teléfono: +54 11 4857-3322