Magazine article Sculpture

Time Sensitive

Magazine article Sculpture

Time Sensitive

Article excerpt

Silvia Rivas graduated from the National School of Fine Arts as a sculptor, but she is interested in the capacity of video to capture visual ideas connected with the concept of time. Her first video installation was shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires in 1990; since then, she has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2001) and has represented Argentina at the Mercosul Biennial in Brazil (2001 and 2005). Space, ambiguity, the dual nature of things, the coexistence of opposites, and the thresholds that separate situations are constant themes in her work. She experiments with diverse materials, trying anything that she believes might interact with the poetics of time and its materiality. In her work, time is "materialized as an inescapable presence, often linked to a continuous and repetitive action that stimulates a sense of duration manifested almost at a corporal level." She reflects on the power of audiovisual narrative, its promises and its dangers, seeking "to trigger sensations that can be associated with specific vivid experiences."

María Carolina Baulo: Your recent work involves video, performance, and installation. But early in the '90s, you worked with objects and photographs, a different visual realm in terms of concept and space. Your subject matter has also shifted from nature to a focus on the human condition. Could you talk about this transition?

Silvia Rivas: It is true that my work has been linked for some time with installation, in particular video installation, but I do not dismiss any possible support or material. I always direct the vision of the subject toward landscape or performance. The human figure speaks of the condition of being; the landscape is the outside of that inner being.

MCB: Your installations involve a variety of materials-steel, resin, fabric, organic elements, and paper. How did they function in "Marcas del Tiempo" ("Marks of Time," 1998), your exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires?

SR: "Marcas del Tiempo" treated time as an agent that leaves and erases traces in the same act. I chose my materials in terms of an analogy to the qualities of water, which I was using as a metaphor. Steel produces reflections, resin highlights because of its transparency, and they both behave differently in contact with water-steel oxidizes, but resin resists. I've always worked on paper, where I conceive and sketch all my projects. In this case, using photographic emulsions, I could drive attention to the paper itself. A photographic landscape appeared as a pictorial gesture on the surface, a trail of deep space on a plane. And cloth allowed me to work with larger dimensions and transmit a sense of immensity.

MCB: Do you see the series "Instante y Duración" ("Instant and Duration," 2000) as a turning point when you intensified your interest in time, its effect on people, objects, and environments?

SR: Actually, I was already projecting the video installations. I needed the temporal syntax of video, not only as "time-image," but also as "images based on time"

MCB: "Notas el tiempo" ("Notes on Time,"2001) at the Recoleta Cultural Center in Buenos Aires deepened the investigation into the different kinds of time that affect daily life. Minimal elements produced great impact through video, sound, and large-scale projections, creating an intimate atmosphere. Why did you not include objects? Was it to keep the space open and not hinder the viewer's mobility?

SR: In "Notes on Time," I decided to treat time as matter with certain qualities and as a habitable scenario. It was my first connected series of video works. Each part acts as an installation itself, but together they highlight different aspects of perception in which the viewer is immersed. The project was designed especially for the space, allowing each part to be visible wherever the viewer was located. The sound and dynamics seemed to mix as if they were all part of a great organism; but within each part, individual sound, rhythm, and sensation prevailed. …

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