2018/2019: the artworks use the analysis on the ´déjalo (mor)ir´ series as a starting point, to produce drawings from the cultivation of different fungi.
traces and patterns generated by the diverse colonies of fungi are used to imitate their growing guidance and the interrelation between species.
each art piece is composed by several layers of drawings that contain numerous biological patterns, setting up a game of shadows, transparencies and saturation, which locates the work within the japanese culture. beauty it is explored from the hidden and the mistery.
the slender format, the organic shapes and the harmony of the composition of the drawings also respond to the asian admiration.
“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates. A phosphorescent jewel gives off its glow and color in the dark and loses its beauty in the light of day. Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.” – In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki
déjalo (mor)ir: addresses the relationship between life and death. that vicious, intimate and continuous bond. it is what happens when beauty dies and lets a new form of preciousness be born.
these are works composed of traces and patterns of colors produced by different species of fungi, which arise when decomposing and cultivating different species of petals.
a fight breaks out on the canvas between the fungal colonies of each flower, in search of total colonization
el crío: the series presented in 35x50cm format works from the physiology of fungi and bacteria to form new imagined species. there is a constant search for new beings through the experimentation of various strokes and patterns, and by the use of the color: black, blue and red.
past works: the artwork focuses on the study and analysis of human, animal and plant bodies. there is a need to interpret and interrelate these kingdoms, from an overlap and saturation materialized in several layers of sheets of vegetable paper drawn with chinese ink and pens.
Michelle Dabul, 1991, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Architecture and Urban Studies, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
Visual arts workshop, Sergio Bazán.
Art clinic Cazadores de arte, Manuel Ameztoy / Sergio Bazán / Alejandra Roux / Augusto Zanela.
Art clinic, Tulio de Sagastizabal.
Workshop The Architecture of Patterns, David Salomon.
Teaches ´Relevamiento y Representación´at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
Solo exhibition: ´Lo ingobernable´ at Praxis Art Gallery, Buenos Aires, 2020
Solo exhibition: ´En la oscuridad, almas razonables sueñan del mismo modo´ at Praxis Art Gallery, Buenos Aires, 2021
“Mischa Dabul´s drawings include a perspective compromised with tissue. A pattern covers our memories of the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms, confusing perception and typecasting. All us all. The proposal of her work it´s simple and complex, challenging directly the human condition. There´s no logic here, but pure poetry.”
Bazán, Spring 2016.
This thing that grows: only when it is sought for it is lost
Reflections on Mischa Dabul body's work
By Mariana Rodriguez Iglesias
1. Creative awkwardness
Art is a guaranty of sanity
I admire artists. I must confess.
I admire their ability to construe life through symbols that, more often than not, are also the elaboration of a symptom -whether collective or individual-. I admire such exercise because it requires tremendous courage. I admire the particular ability of each artist to shape a force pushing from the inside into something never seen before. Entering painful lands is a sign of bravery and transforming them, a sign of strength.
Those of us who are not artists, – within the institutional meaning of the term- are not artists must find other ways to elaborate our uneasiness. Because – and each time I am more convinced about it- each masterpiece initiates from a discomfort. Maybe the first one is language, with its formal incapacity to replicate what is moving inside of us. Having difficulties to find the words that define what we experience, does not mean that we are not feeling it (from the absence of map it should not be inferred the absence of a territory). Art is, therefore, the ideal soil to investigate what still is wordless because it is thought on action; it is the game, the players and the rules becoming real in the act of embarking on it; it is the opposite action of the cogito, ergo sum (“I think therefore I am”) notion.
Then, which is the uneasiness- or better, the series of uneasiness- that encourage Mischa Dabul to create? It is without doubts a mystery that we should not dare to resolve in a brief text. However, I invite you to tour her work’s body to find, now, possible entrance doors and perspectives for a more complex enjoyment.
There is not logic here, but poetry.
Sergio Bazan about
“The Symbiosis of the Human Body” (2016)
Mischa is not afraid of telling her story because it is the how and why of her beginnings. In 2012 something was falling apart, but not any “something”. Family as the first social space – whose binding material would be affection- is the space where the sense of identity starts to develop. That season marked the beginning of Michelle as an artist, that collapsing “something” was family and with it everything so far known, everything granted and supporting, and with it, the logic result her own identity perception as well. One day the ground stopped being a solid base under her feet to become shifting sands.
In consonance with this freefalling the series “The Symbiosis of the Human Body” (2016) appears. In this series, Mischa tries countless strategies to rebuild herself after the collapse.How to feel supported again without resorting to a new limiting armor, like a corset limits movement? How to feel secure to move forward without resorting to the old crutch: the illusion of control? A great deal of the procedure was still uncertain but something was clear: there was no going back, protection and control functions have proven to be no longer useful. Mischa seems to tell us that if we have to rebuild ourselves, we should apprehend and learn nature structuring ways: gently and softly, with Other time, listening attentively and, more importantly with a ready hand and body. This is perceived in many pieces of this first series in which elements that could be identified as parts of the human body’s bone system but are not articulated as we learnt to see them through the x-rays, appear. They are, ultimately, bones and little bones without cartilages, without cohesion; tissues and fibers for which emptiness is the best move; even better, they are parts related to our inner body where flowers con be found, serving as live witnesses of a new prosperity where a new order and structure are possible.
If we follow the series by their titles, we will find the transforming key. The first works, conceived in 2016, are labeled as fragments of a more stereotyped loving, romantic and even over- sweetened discourse: phrases such as “Roses are Red” , “Better Half” or “The Prince that Turned Into a Frog” are used, while the following series use conceptual or minimal art related notions: “ Let it (die)” (2017) and “ The Chid” (2018) are followed by correlative numbers, thus accounting for a totality that would be completed in the spectators’ minds; as if each part of these series were, themselves, the variation of a same idea or procedure. It was not until her latest production that labels loaded of micronarratives such as “Separated at Birth” (2018), “Blankets for the Sea” (2019) were used again.Looked as a whole, Misha’s work may resemble both a sophisticated and subtle elaboration of the same motive, however, if we pay attention to the work’s names, we can trace Mischa’s journey since the fall of the innocence veil to the drafting of little stories.
3. From fragment to diversity
The term “variety” includes
the unknown element
of a distinct act of creation
Leaving the series that construe a fragmented poetry (The Symbiosis of the Human Body, 2016) behind, a work emerges where unity and diffusion, despite not having a predominant center, prevails and takes everything up (“The Child” and “Let It Die” as well as recent works dated 2017 and 2019). They are lines, too similar to be identified by distinctive features, modulations and little imperfections that start invading the composition. Numerous traces left by the nib and the blue ink over the translucid paper surface in the repetitive act of charging and discharging the drawing tool. An involuntary action resembling a pulsion or a heartbeat, rather than a premeditate exercise of someone abiding by a project.
“Family Portrait” (2016) perfectly illustrates the transition point between the reflection on the collapse and the elaboration of a new order and a new way of staying in the world. Two compositions seem to fight for the workpiece territory. The central figure emerges from the inside and pushes to the paper’s edge a series of already unarticulated silhouettes. There, we can easily identify bones and little bones from her previous works, now cornered against a precipice by a graphic organism, composed by a great number of minimum drawing units. They look like petals, maybe fungi. Either way, they grow by addition, juxtaposition, like a spreading, like a colony.
From inside out, it seems to be a movement of the representated: from bones to skin. From the fragments, the broken pieces. The pieces that are unable to melt again in one sole figure represented by the community, the colony: the centerless rhizomic growth. In fact, faced with Michelle latest pieces, one might ask: where do these colonies of blue lines traced in different shades start and finish? do they start and finish or are they in constant movement? Are these pieces a part of a far reaching something that, like fungi, does not need to see the light to grow?
Surfaces are then, no longer read as shattered or fractioned but as a whole in themselves …although – masterfully- without resulting in a representation of the homogeneous. I risk to say that Mischa has had, once again, nature as her teacher. Darwin’s great contribution to science and thought – that Mischa beautifully transfers to her work- is that species’ own evolution success depends on their ability to vary. Failure to change may result in disappearance because constant changes give way to new species. In our artist’s works we find two constant elements: procedure and language. On the one hand: the same material tactic: translucid paper, ink and nib; on the other hand, her poetry: the ABC of the line over the plan; short line, continuous line, module line. In the repetition of method and discourse variations, Mischa’s very particular style is weaved. It is very interesting to see how the procedure lies on an organic- making, a thought- act, while language, emerging from the method addresses to a force in power, to something that grows by its own dynamic.
4. Double readings to go deeper
"Who is awake and conscious says:
I am all body, there in nothing outside it."
It becomes relevant to understand that the support of Mischa’s work has always been a paper with translucid features. How many types of transparency are possible? The one emerging when a layer is taken out, is the most obvious. In taking out a layer, we reveal a situation that was invisible before and, in that action, we make visible what was hidden. What hidden in the shadows now has light, it is seen. It is about, as seen, of a support full of connotations.
On the one hand, thanks to its almost ghostly appearance- enabling to see through it- the translucent paper in Mischa’s work might be related to a too edgy and perennial memory, the intention of keeping a memory alive or, maybe, in the frame of the overlapping game it allows an interpretation triggered by the view of two different images at the same time even though they come in different definition degrees and covering one another. In a great number of Mischa’s pieces surfaces’, we find duplications of the surface treated with growing graphisms. In some of them, within the composition layer supplement one another, enriching each other, as if the design on top is there to cover or deny what is going on at the bottom layer. This can be seen in the pieces” My Poem” (2017), “Rain Colored Eyes” (2017) and “S(he) Loves Me, S(he) Loves Me Not” (2019). Composition of the first layer are packed and arrhythmic -almost obsessive- structures, crammed drawing with lines sticking to one another, where the bottom layer only can be seen through these fields of impulses and modulations. Mischa invites us in this way with a subtle gesture to an immersion in the universe of ambiguity, typical of the contemporary art where a symbol must be read in its multiplicity of senses.
5. A black sheep pasturing among wolves
He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.
Bones, lungs, heart. Bats, petals, filaments. Fungi, stripes.
I dare to say that, maybe, it is not of vital importance to agree on what we see (at the end of the day, each spectator will construe these abstractions from his own historic body and carrying biases). However, I suspect that it is essential to penetrate the procedure that give life to this body of works. Because, if anything can be agreed upon, is that these works appear to be self-created, as if they were dictated by their organic growth’s own rhythm. But... then, what does it mean a self-created work? Where is then the place of the artist? and overall, what are we facing to when the projective paradigm is deconstructed through the creative act? Somehow, the artist is not creating, but participating in the creation.
We said before that the way art “makes us think” works in the opposite direction of the cogito, ergo sum modern thinking, and it comes to replace the notion that only by thinking we exist. This is because art proposes a reflection method intertwined with the “in” / “inside” acts of existing and doing. For an artist, trained in a discipline like architecture, which is mainly projective, the challenge is definitely greater. These pieces were created without the support of a sketch, they were created by themselves by their growth’s own logic. They are the black sheep of an education based on projective training. I imagine Mischa disarticulating not only a doing way, but also a way of looking at and even exist in this world. And, certainly, here lies the strength of this procedure-work : while Mischa’s pieces seem to be “self-created” , there is actually a person working with a nib in her hand, walking around a table, bending towards a translucid paper , repeating a minimum gesture- un unrequested action just triggered by a personal power-, carried away, not by previous ideas since there is no territory to be conquered but by the act of the creation of a territory to which Misha is paying attention to, waiting for , which is listening to its own creation. This is a humble and careful approach towards Mischa’s work, as if it were a living being.
And certainly, from the perspective brought by this paradigm, it might be.
Mariana Rodríguez Iglesias
Nuñez, spring 2019
English version by TraduccionesBaires - Argentina