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For more than a century it has been considered vain and even preposterous to define art or, at least, to sketch a concept or to string together the outer edges of its realm. But today the dissipation of such contours demands continuous references to the actual limits of the object-art so as to justify its existence and credit the actuality of its ideation. This demand, on the other hand, is motivated by the fact that the most interesting aspects of contemporary art occur tightly pressed against these limits and partly outside them. This is a fundamental issue in the critical thinking of our time: what is and what is not art; that is to say, to what extent the oblivion of the limits and the incursion in the world of common or extraordinary realities constitute a work of art.

 

The other point, a consequence of the former, has to do with the politics of looking. The contingency of art is not determined by a concept previous to the realization of the work, but rather by the circumstantial position and conjuncture of its presentation to the beholder. Unlike physiological vision, the eyesight is intercepted by desire and thus hastened by deprivation. Art is nurtured by this opposition between the visual order (of sight, of image) and the visible order that seeks to verify the existence of something-other underneath the pattern of appearances. The sight looks for an entity which never seems to come out; which, on the other side, is not a recondite substance, but rather seems to be out of field or disposed in such a way that direct vision is unable to perceive it. Something disposed in image mode: it is there and it is not. Or it is anamorphic, lopsided.

 

Dimitri Kosiré’s work adds another torsion to the complicated trajectory of looking: it approaches from the outside (or from a threshold) a series of visually plethoric situations which swarm in different urban concentrations in Paraguay. Stands where infinitely varied articles are sold, from natural products to crafted, industrial and electronic objects, configure intense motleys, conforming figures well beyond the individuality of each object exposed. The beholder is submitted to a powerful avalanche of diverse, generally opposed forms, colors, textures and meanings. Such assemblage constitutes an obstacle as well as a challenge for the regard. And it also disarranges the logic of the market by half-hiding each merchandise in the torrential stream of the whole set. This contradiction between object and merchandise shown as a retraction breeds the instant the artist is most interested in. In these peddling stands, that he generically calls “tienditas,” Dimitri sees aesthetic (through alternative aesthetics) and poetic (driven by alternative poetics) moments, mutually alien to the economy of profit that motivates a market place.

A merely instrumental logic based upon petty schemes and utilitarianism is disturbed by detours that carry the regard in different directions and promote deviant perspectives and extravagant zigzags. This excess always leads to an absence: what is surplus here is missing over there. And this equation, useless in terms of consumption, is perfectly valid in the image circuitry that is enriched by displacing and dislocating its parts, keeping them from matching the stable meaning of the stock exhibited for sale (interrupting the constitution of accountable fetishes).

 

Deflecting the object from its mercantile destiny disarrays the designed order of exhibition: in fact, in the “tienditas” the objects are intertwined, potentiating the interaction of figures by the whimsical association of colors, patterns and shapes invented by the memory, fancy or longing of any object, illuminated by the profusion of tones, lured by the reasons of intemperance.

 

Dimitri turns the disarray of the exhibition into the principle of a different representation linked with popular culture and alternative ways to conceive beauty. On the margins of consecrated art, beauty is not founded on harmony, equilibrium and the unity of diversity: it may briefly and indistinctly flash by the friction of dissonant elements. It may show up, elusively, amidst the promiscuity of hoarded figures, discordant colors and shocking forms. Because the reason of divergent aesthetics (contemporary aesthetics, in a final instance) depends on the oscillations of a regard which, faltering from one object to another, renews always unstable but intense meanings as notches stinging on the stridence of what is presented. And it does so while looking for alternative truths: those excluded from the showcases of the market as a totality, sheltered by the confused prodigality of the tiny local stands.

 

Ticio Escobar

March, 2017, Asunción.

 

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