Guillermo Kuitca

By Zabalbeascoa, Anatxu | Artforum International, November 1993 | Go to article overview

Guillermo Kuitca


Zabalbeascoa, Anatxu, Artforum International


In a country where the work of most artists seems to have absorbed a foreign discourse or theory rather than developing its own, Guillermo Kuitca is a major exception. Kuitca, once the child prodigy (as obsessively portrayed in many of his previous pieces) has coherently and yet paradoxically exhausted his life in his work. This show included a comprehensive view of his oeuvre from his first paintings--crucially influenced by Pina Bausch's dance theater--to his most recent works, which included a specially designed installation in which many small cradles, with mattresses on which maps had been painted, were used to build labyrinthine pathways in the middle of a large room.

While Kuitca's first works used language with elements somewhere between the symbolic and the banal, showing a very intimate and personal perception of space, later pieces incorporated new ways of reading, defining, and understanding the same concept of space--through abstract description such as maps or floor plans--while still combining and using almost every available code: literary, musical, cinematic, theatrical. His themes revolve around the fragility of childhood, vulnerability, the conflicting elements of adolescence, and the constraints and constantly felt presence of time.

The bed, as an ordinary, conflicting, and ambiguous piece of furniture has been a key element in his work since 1982. Both intimate and public, the bed and its associated elements--mattresses, cradles, blankets--are loaded with connotations: pleasure and life, unhappiness, isolation, the death bed, and so on. …

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