I am particularly interested in the solid presence of line and in drawing as the most primary form of communication.
Whether it is with pencil, paint and brush or charcoal, on walls, paper or canvas, even with colored paper and scalpel; I'm always drawing.
Line as structure, synthesis, silence, the unsaid and the unexplained; these are all essential elements in my work.
My representation always operates in the grey area between normal and abnormal, between naive and sinister, between innocent and lewd. I draw in black because it is so powerful and yet elegant at the same time.
The line I draw has no crisis.
What mutates, what remains, what is static, what is known and what is unknown all change. They vary and rant. Organs that are deformed in their usual morphology, duplicated, bound, bandaged, disconcerted.
They are surgical lines, painted or cut.
They are synthesis.
They are dark secretions.
Agustina Nuñez, 2015.
Catalog, Centro Cultural Borges, Exhibition N61 in the "La Línea Piensa" series.
I suppose that the reason why the perpetual mark that children’s stories leave on our imaginations is so indelible has as much to do with the accompanying illustrations as their literary content. In my case, at least, it is impossible for me to separate the two in the impact and terror of the whale that devours Pinocchio in the abbreviated version that my mother used to read to me while simultaneously showing me the pictures. The book was from the famous Gatito collection, and I was completely captivated by the clean, simple line used to depict the monstrous creature, rotund, intimidating and perfect in its voluminous enormity. Similarly, I would never be able to forget the meticulous detail and delicacy, worthy of Hokusai, with which some great unknown illustrator had drawn yet once more a hen and her little chicks in who knows what elementary schoolbook.
Perhaps our fixation with drawing derives strictly from these impressions, rather than from all the other things we attribute to functioning as its causal triggers. Maybe it is precisely in these lines, which multiply into mythic characters and already atavistic scenes, which, surviving secretly within us are activated and brought to life again by the slightest stimulus, that Agustina Nuñez finds the strange, disturbing potential of her obsessive graphic pieces. She leaves barely the profiles of these storybook bunnies’ heads, piling them up en masse, almost promiscuously, as if filling grandstands—as if Nuñez were also alluding to an apparent neutrality designed into the repetitive patterns of a shower curtain or a children’s towel—and they in turn cede to their subtle transformation, following the dynamic, elegant and inventive unfolding of the artist’s line. It improvises ever so slight modifications of detail in such a way that the unmistakable rabbit physiognomy suddenly turns into almost human caricature, with little hats, bows, scarves or even the suggestion of a scanty beard.
At the same time, these dense agglomerations of unflappable, docile protagonists eventually head toward yet another metamorphosis that is as incipient as it is unnameable. There, they are distorted, expanded, inflated or contracted into elongated deformations or voluptuous bags in an unexpected step from the plane into space, as if the artist wanted to remind us that it is always a matter of the drawing’s arbitrariness, that it will go wherever it wants, that though it signals a turn in one direction, it will go in just the opposite. In this sense, Agustina Nuñez enables us to share completely in the mistrust that poets hold for stories—except the bedtime stories they used to tell us—as suspect as poppy seeds, potential subterfuges for lies and domination. Should the case arise, she will take care of keeping us wide awake and alert, at a point where fables and daydreaming do not exclude lucid awareness and critical consciousness.
Eduardo Stupía. Bs.As, 2012.
Centro Itaú Cultural, "Synesthesia."
Line that is modulated, yet at the same time works as synthesis is one of the fundamental elements of her work; drawing stands as a technique without intermediaries, as a primordial form of communication previous to speech.
Scale is exaggerated to the point of absurdity in drawings that refer to classic childhood tale imagery, where naivety is deceptive and comprises a menacing reality, as happens in the world of childhood, where what is dreamlike mutates and at times becomes unstable, oscillating between candid memories and nightmares.
Elizabeth Torres & Alina Tortosa, Bs. As., 2009/ 2010.
Catalog, MACRO (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Rosario).
The Memory of the Unknown
Juventud divino tesoro
Youth, divine treasure
Rubén Darío 1905
How many times a day are we possessed by fear? How many of those times do we realize that it is happening?
We recall childhood as if it were a distant shore, where lethargic hours give way to games with strange rules and dubious winners. Who knows how long those hours really lasted, or whether the blows we suffered were indeed as hard as we remember?
Our perception of fear and danger was different, and everything happened amidst chaotic shouting, grotesque joking and warm fits of tears.
The universe that Agustina Nuñez unfolds before our eyes is made up of this material, a flash of images and events with no preventative filtering of any kind, a dam that releases a gradual stream to ensure a stable level of pressure. Her constellations are desires for liberation, a map to the treasure we hide from ourselves, the memory of someone else’s photograph, where we think we see ourselves somewhere in the crowd.
What sense does it make to attempt to reproduce this world? Personally, I believe we need company along the way in order to confront it, not for help, but because we feel embarrassed. In this sense, Agustina traces a path for us that leads toward a final refuge where we can hide from the horror.
Amadeo Azar, Bs. As., 2007.
Catalog C.C.E.B.A. (Centro Cultural De España en Buenos Aires).
What is the stuff that memory is made of? Have we retained no more than an incomprehensible glance of fragmentary memories, of those situations that moved us violently and that adults, as involuntary witnesses of some kind, hold up as proof of a primitive capability for judgment?
As if amusing herself with one of those old chemistry sets for kids, Agustina Nuñez conducts experiments, provokes adverse reactions, liquifies sensations and solidifies strangeness on the basis of a periodic table of elements that seem to be out of scale, but react upon qualified zones of our memory, metabolizing hidden pleasures or disintegrating prints that we thought to be indelible.
Agustina Nuñez liberates deceivingly innocent lines into space, thin, lazy lines that take over a wall’s surface by storm, converting it into a kind of thick, opaque and sometimes dark fluid, very similar to the imperfect texture of the shapeless memories we harbor from our most primitive age.
Andres Schmisser, Bs. As, 2008.