Lee County Alliance for the Arts Presents: Antonio Guerrero “Art vs Life”

Title: El encuentro 1992 Medium: Mixed media on heavy paper ( Cotton) Sizes: 60"x 60" ©2014 Antonio Guerrero

Title: El encuentro 1992 Medium: Mixed media on heavy paper ( Cotton) Sizes: 60″x 60″ ©2014 Antonio Guerrero

MIAMI, Florida— January 28, 2016 – “Meaning” and “Aboutness” are the two essential concepts needed to understand Antonio Guerrero’s artworks. These main basic concepts are found after reading seminal 1964 essay “Artworld” by philosopher Arthur C. Danto. Danto discovered art was a result of intention and context. Justifying belief depends in which place object is located. Although these concepts, “craftsmanship” is also necessary. That’s why Guerrero is consecrate to particular atmosphere in his pieces. Sometimes blue and grey, and mostly red, that it would say the obsession of Guerrero’s artworks.

“History of Art has ended.” That’s what Arthur C. Danto has affirmed. Danto’s dictum correspond to Postmodern conception of art where Hegelian perspective play a central role in contemporary aesthetic reflexion. In this account there is no “a priori fundamental categories” or “essences” in Kantian sense. According to Danto, who made up his mind from Kantian to Hegelian aesthetic, artworks depend the context they are placed and the time they originated and when they were created. Art become context-dependent like Duchamp ready-mades (e.g. urinal).

In the same vein of Warhol’s gesture of Brillo Box artwork exhibited in a Gallery of Manhattan, NY., in 1964, now, with this remarkable exhibition entitled “Art versus Life”, Antonio Guerrero tries to reproduces the same idea.
Guerrero exhibition is not mimetic. He is very far from Warhol’s but the intention is similar. Nevertheless, while Warhol’s intention is ironical, Guerrero’s is tragic. Why? Why Guerrero intention is tragic? It is dramatically vivid because Guerrero went through the horrible experience of leaving his country by boat on the ocean. He fight against waves.

Antonio Guerrero during an art talk at the Mexican Cultural Institute on May 21, 2015.

However, beyond any Western Progress of Aesthetics there is another ahistorical conception of that. Art as, Idea was radically strategy implemented by artist during 70s to deal with end of art after Minimalist revolution.

Having learned these perspectives Antonio Guerrero revisits new generation of artists whose artworks were dependable of avant-garde gestures exhausted and reuptake by a new situation allowed to restart old representations tailored according to new interpretable aesthetics. In his new drawings Guerrero admits consciously Surrealism influence his work, i.e. Magritte, the Afro-Cuban surrealist painter Wifredo Lam, the controversial Dali, the primitive Klee, the oneiric Chagall, and Miró symbolic childish bad painting. Guerrero’s influences included other Avant-garde schools of painting from 20th Century like Picasso cubist works, Kandinsky’s abstractions, and so on. Classic Masters define portions of Guerrero imaginary in Millet’s Angelus realist canvases. Guerrero accepts and recognizes how much his artworks owe to Italian Trans-avantgarde with enormous connections with Sandro Chia’s works, Enzo Cucci’s & Francesco Clemente’s. All of them were the new expressions of Post Modern art after death of art containing historical similarities with German Neo-Expressionism, i.e. Georg Bazelit and Amselm Kiefer’ works.

Curiously, no any Guerrero artwork was influenced by Socialist Realism during revolutionary epics. Not even the great Soviet Union art master Deineka whose Socialist Realism was superior and authentic piece of art. Socialist Realism is a language Guerrero considered too narrow to take account of his art. In contrast, Surrealism give a wider language to many concepts, dreams, and interpretations according to Guerrero.

Antonio Guerrero, Red Art

Antonio Guerrero

In contrast Guerrero artwork resembles with obvious certain distance Andrev Rublev medieval icons, 3t3 very recreated by Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovski. Guerrero bear to bring his own iconography using different symbols drawn from different cultural sources. Those pastiches make his artwork a differentiated artifact and a legitimate new personal style in accordance to Post-Modern Aesthetics. Returning to Warhol’s Brillo Box means revisiting Danto’s seminal 1964 essay “Artworld” which take the problem of mimesis and transfiguration as a central dilemma in the great debate of art throughout Western civilization.

What is real object?, and what is a copy of object? Arthur Danto implemented logical analysis inspired in Vienna Circle logician analysis of language and reality, science versus pseudoscience, art and life. Danto’s Leibniz Law of identity of indiscernibles has been a pretty smart move Danto has done beyond the point “what is it?” and “what is not?” in which art place reality considerations and controversies. “Art versus Life” debate is taken by Danto into Art and Mimesis, Identity and Imitation. Suddenly come to be the main question Guerrero place at stage in his Post-Modern Aesthetic imitations similar what Danto found in Warhol 1964 Brillo Box installation. Which factors make the difference? Whereof comes out the central question, “What is art ?” Questions that positioned as the chief inquiry in Danto’s philosophy of art.

When Guerrero places a copy of Millet’s Angelus he has made use of iconography for a totally different context. He tries to dismantle the notion of reality. This is a controversial topic in which philosopher of science and logic Hilary Putnam consecrate great part of his intellectual life going through different stages of his epistemological development.

Guerrero wants to impugn Art vs.Life dichotomy using same strategy already implemented by Dada avant-garde ready-made artist Marcel Duchamp who during early decades of 20th Century, submit the piece to an Art contest in Paris.

What Danto underscore is that Mimesis is not the object. In appearance it is indiscernible but exceptionally in appearance. Danto’s 1964 “Artworld” essay on Warhol’s Brillo Box explain that Warhol boxes installation are in materials which differ from real company boxes. Art object differs from real object. Regarding epistemology art has reached its end. That’s why because of Art object is equal to Real object according to Danto’s Warhol’s Brillo Box analysis. However, concerning ontology Art is still alive. This is the notion of transfiguration of the object which Danto has been working on it. Art object is discernible from Real object. Polish School logician Tarski was the first hot brain who point at advancing this contrasting analysis regarding a philosophy of language when separate Meta language corroborating object language.

By Alberto Mendez

Antonio-Guerrero-Alliance for the art

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