In the documentary film Monk With Camera, Tonne Goodman of Vogue illustrates the possible conflict of creating art while discussing photographer Nicky Vreeland:
“You don’t produce art without some kind of ego gratification. It sneaks in there somehow. Either it breaks you, it torments you or it fulfills you. But it is an acknowledgment of the ego.”
And so it is with many forms of art, it’s implicit that an understanding of the vision of the artist should be a product of the person consuming the art’s imagination. For example, Bob Dylan will not communicate to the public the precise reason or backstory of a song. He’s often said that it’s up to the person listening to relate and discern their own story. But for someone like me who’s palette for a painting, or in this case, tape art, is unsophisticated, being able to decode and try to relate to the artist’s vision is challenging. Often, when discussing an artist’s craft, I’m left deficient, wanting more than a shy and imperceptible nod. Ego is on display for many artists through the creation of a piece of art. But what of the process? Perhaps by describing in sometimes vivid detail, the story, the vision, is too difficult or personal. And so details are left out, unsaid. The artifact is the piece.
Enter Hernan Gigena.
Hernan is a tape artist and jewelry designer from Argentina. If you go to one of his shows, you might find that he appears behind you while you’re gazing at one of his works. “What do you see in this piece?”
And therein is what separates Hernan from other artists. One has the chance to describe what they see and then to hear the backstory. Hernan recently shared the inspiration for a piece after the death of a loved one. Here was one man’s way of conveying his feelings at the time, which he christened: “a celebration”. And I got it. At that point it was so clear. What was a colorful canvas on a wall, suddenly came to light as an opulent and intricate piece of art where I felt the story. I felt the relative’s vibrant warmth. I got a glimpse into a memory of a life. And in order to induce that reaction, that emotional connection, the artist’s ego HAD to be on full display, in fact, it was essential for appreciation of the art. It was moving without being saccharine or twee. Hernan’s art is for everyone, but perhaps it’s most appreciated by those seeking an understanding of their own perceptions. It was for me.
Tame Impala on the track: