Artsy Online Exclusive: "Introduction to Gustavo Díaz" April-May 2020

To see the full exhbition go to: https://www.artsy.net/show/cecilia-de-torres-ltd-introduction-to-gustavo-diaz

The line forms the basis for the work of Gustavo Díaz (Argentina, 1969). Horizontal lines produced on his computer screen are the point of departure for Díaz’s complex but fascinating compositions; he then proceeds to manipulate these lines in elaborate configurations inspired by laws and concepts developed by mathematicians and scientists. After creating the works onscreen, he transfers them to paper. With the aid of a plotter, Díaz marks points that he connects by hand, tracing precise lines with an ultra-fine-point pen. The procedure is so exact that he has to use several pens, because the line becomes thicker as the point wears out, thus altering the final result.
The computer monitor offers Díaz a new symbolic space with bidirectional access. It opens a path from the concrete world to the monitor and also offers a path from the monitor to the concrete world. This reciprocal quality has a potential for constant feedback, as well as complementarity. Díaz cites a work by Hiroshi Ishii of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in which Ishii proposes a new and exciting challenge: to reflect on the relationship with information in terms of new concepts and visions, as a new threshold or a new horizon. For Díaz, science and mathematics open up a world of possibilities applicable to art.
Díaz’s explorations of scientific theories have also formed the basis for his series about chaos theory and René Thom’s catastrophe theory. Another series is a tribute to the chemist Ilya Prigogine, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on dissipative structures, complex systems, and irreversibility.
According to Díaz, it is reductionist to try to explain something as complex as an artistic sign. Of the works presented here, he explains, the series "Paradigma de la línea" (Principles of the Line) presents viewers with the challenge of a conceptual assembly. Díaz has introduced the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) into these artistic exercises, and for Deleuze, the artist is above all someone who creates new ways of seeing and perceiving. Deleuze also holds that art is in itself the creation of movement and not of representations—a pulsing of force and desire.
As Díaz explains, “On the one hand, we have Plato and his ‘ideal line,’ which enables us to run the gamut of the deterministic form, that is—if such an anachronism is possible—to move from the ‘visible’ to the ‘intelligible or thinkable.’” In other words, to move from a certain darkness to the certainty of Platonic light. “But on the other hand, we have Deleuze, with his logic of experience, with the ‘sensation of the line’ that modifies Plato’s essentially deterministic proposition and introduces the line’s ‘being present—the line ‘is’ only ‘being a line,’ constituting a new paradigm.” In these drawings, Díaz reconstructs a perimeter, a limiting function that at once conditions and structures the system’s internal dynamics, which are largely centripetal or centrifugal, contained and inverted.
The drawings entitled "Principio de incertidumbre" (Principles of Uncertainty) begin by suggesting an analogy to the uncertainty principle formulated by Werner Heisenberg (1901–1976), which was of crucial importance for the advancement of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg’s principle introduces probability; one could say it suggests, indirectly, that what is “observed” is modified by the “being that observes.” In an e-mail to the author, Díaz wrote, “In these drawings, I only preserve small signs of the perimeter from the previous series, along the lines of ‘stable remains’; breaking through the boundaries in this way suggests greater centrifugal energy in the system and a rise in instability (greater entropy).”
The series "Fourier peina bucles extraños" (Fourier Combs Strange Curls) alludes to a kind of Xenonian aporia. The French mathematician Joseph Fourier (1768–1830), whose ideas included an attempt to explain complex wave movements as a series of simple, regular wave movements, was also known for the theory of heat diffusion.
The concept of the strange loop formulated by the U.S. academic, mathematician, and physicist Douglas Hofstadter (b. 1945), whose research focuses on the nature of thought, consciousness, and creativity, can be understood as something inside a system that proceeds to leap outside and act upon itself as though it were outside. The distinction between “exterior” and “interior” disappears, as it does in the topological structure known as the Klein Bottle.
The title "Fourier peina bucles extraños" suggests a critical look at the attempt to use reductionist readings to explain certain complex behaviors, noting as well that the complex system turns on itself (strange curl or loop), creating a structural innovation. In addition, the drawings in this series are an attempt to systematically depict complex sonorities that more closely resemble white noise—with the random mobility of its frequencies—than tempered sounds.

About the Artist:
GUSTAVO DÍAZ
b. 1969, Buenos Aires, Argentina – lives in Houston, Texas

Drawing on such esoteric concepts as Ilya Prigogine's chaos theory, non-Euclidian geometry, and the behavior of hyper-complex systems, Gustavo Díaz uses diverse media to create artworks that reflect his education in art, music, and science. Before deciding to dedicate himself fully to art making, Díaz studied at the Escuela Técnica Otto Krause and at the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial in his native Argentina. This background, as well as his continued studies in mathematics, philosophy, and other fields, inform the intricate lines and complex structures of his drawings, acrylic sculptures, and reliefs.

In 2001, Díaz received the Banco Ciudad Foundation Prize from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, and in 2002 he co-founded NOUS, a Center of Art and Design dedicated to interdisciplinary scientific research. In 2013, the artist's work was featured at ExpoChicago, where he was named Artforum's “Critics' Pick.” Two years later, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston included Díaz's work in an exhibition entitled Cosmic Dialogues: Selections from the Latin American Collection, which focused on artistic explorations of space and light. The show was curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez, MFAH Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICAA).

Díaz's work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Fine Arts Museum System of San Francisco (Legion of Honor, de Young Museum, & Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts), San Francisco, CA; the Noble Energy Collection, Houston, TX; The Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology, Houston, TX; Proyecto A Collection, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Balanz Capital Collection, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Gustavo Díaz

b. 1969, Buenos Aires, Argentina – lives in Houston, Texas

Drawing on such esoteric concepts as Ilya Prigogine's chaos theory, non-Euclidian geometry, and the behavior of hyper-complex systems, Gustavo Díaz uses diverse media to create artworks that reflect his education in art, music, and science.  Before deciding to dedicate himself fully to art making, Díaz studied at the Escuela Técnica Otto Krause and at the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial in his native Argentina.  This background, as well as his continued studies in mathematics, philosophy, and other fields, inform the intricate lines and complex structures of his drawings, acrylic sculptures, and reliefs.

In 2001, Díaz received the Banco Ciudad Foundation Prize from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, and in 2002 he co-founded NOUS, a Center of Art and Design dedicated to interdisciplinary scientific research.  In 2013, the artist's work was featured at ExpoChicago, where he was named Artforum's “Critics' Pick.”  Two years later, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston included Díaz's work in an exhibition entitled Cosmic Dialogues: Selections from the Latin American Collection, which focused on artistic explorations of space and light.  The show was curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez, MFAH Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICAA).

Díaz's work has been shown in both group and solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX; the Museo Valenciano de la Ilustración y la Modernidad in Valencia, Spain; as well as other exhibition spaces throughout the United States and Argentina.

Please click for CV