Matías Duville


Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1974


            Matías Duville works through a wide spectrum of techniques ranging from objects, videos and installations, among which drawing stands out, a motif inscribed in the basis of modern aesthetics: the landscape and its destruction. His immense outdoor scenes, charged with an electric and excessive energy, desolate scenes deprived of any trace of humanity, take up again the problem of the Sublime in the context of contemporary art.

            Throughout his career, the artist has worked in both large-scale and small format. The small-scale drawings function as graphic exercises where we see the formal experiments of Duville's drawing and a subtle and playful imagery. Through a brief, insistent and prehensile calligraphy, he outlines images that are as sharp as sketches. The works on large surfaces distill, on the contrary, a threatening atmosphere, captured in the instant preceding their catastrophe and disintegration, as if the need to catch the moment required a singular urgency and brutality.

            Similar to these abandoned places, the artist's way of working with drawing, varying his tools (pen, pencil, charcoal, acrylic or crayon) and diversifying supports (silk, paper, wood, wall), unleashes strokes of great vitality on the surface, and incisions endowed with such force to allow the figures he generates to coexist with the gestural presence of the artist. This tension between figuration and expression is a central part of a poetics that, despite its evident classical sources, has not ceased to take experimentation to newer dimensions of artistic language. At times color takes a central compositional role; at others the supports exceed their quality of mere surface to highlight their materiality and thickness; finally, the passage to volume and installation shows that his drawings have always been conceived within the framework of a thought that, without neglecting a mimetic impulse, has always reflected on their place in space and the way to approach them.