Continuity / Rupture

Critical text by Yvonne Hütter-Almerigi

Tradition as prison and the horizon of our freedom - this is the theme that the Italian-Argentine artist Juan Tardivo resolutely declares in the present exhibition. The red surface rigorously and violently interrupts the classical styles and motifs of painting, thus highlighting both the need for the new and the affirmation of one's own autonomy, and the fact that any gesture of liberation, any presumed originality, is always parasitic and intrinsically linked to tradition. The marked contrast - but at the same time also the union - of abstraction and two-dimensionality with the realist style of the great masters makes this concept emerge with great clarity. The insurmountable link with tradition is emphasised not only in the stylistic choices, but also in the choice of classical motifs (which in turn thematise the possibility of self-affirmation) such as St. Sebastian or Ophelia, here in a male version, but no less a victim of his own fate. Dying for one's own conviction or madness are not far from each other. The clear cut of the red zone also calls into question these possibilities of narrating emancipation and authentic lives. The collective imaginary does not yet seem to know autonomy without (violent) rupture. Liberté, égalité, fraternité: the themes of the French Revolution inspire the four central paintings of the exhibition, but does the revolution also eat its own children in Tardivo's paintings? Here black and red, the abyss and hope, fight it out. Particularly disturbing is "Black will cover red, Ok Boomer or t", the only painting in the series that shows more than one person, but these two are isolated in the black void and do not seem to have been companions or brothers. The red, which precisely cuts off the head (life and mind) alert, interrupts thought and offers no easy solutions, but invites, or rather forces one to stop and reflect, opens up new spaces for the imagination - from a beyond, but nevertheless always linked, to tradition.