By JOHN BARRYMORE December 28, 2023
Trinidad Metz Brea is a Buenos Aires based sculptor and muralist. Recently, she had work in the Valerie booth at Pinta art fair. Her show FERALES, curated by Sofia Dourron, is currently up at AURA Gallery. We reached out to learn more about her practice.
What's it like working with Valerie’s Gallery?
Pinta is my first time working with VALERIE. It's actually the first project the gallery has done since they officially or publicly merged with Aura, with whom I have a solo show going on now in Argentina. It's also my first time exhibiting work internationally, so I'm really excited about the opportunity, the people I've met in the process, and the great reception I've had.
When did you start making reliefs?
I started getting into 3D in 2019, but really explored that whole universe more when the pandemic hit and we were confined in our houses for months in Buenos Aires. My first relief, called “genesis.exe”, I made in 2021 and have since expanded that series.
I'm interested in the intersection between traditional techniques and new technologies as a reflection of our time, but also as a means to generate a dialogue between categories that are often perceived as opposite. Showing that binomials such as virtual and physical, organic/synthetic, f/m (Female/Male), animal/human, tradition or craft/innovation, not only coexist, but are permeable and thus allow us to imagine post-gender and post-human ways of survival in a damaged planet.
Do you agree with the statement: figures in art are like lyrics in music?
That's an interesting way of looking at it, maybe sometimes it could be, but in both there's also the possibility for improvisation, chance, and a way to evoke or speak through abstraction as well.
In my work, I'm interested in figures not only as individual entities that represent quimera identities; a mixture of anthropomorphic, plant, animal, and cyborg, where I explore this idea of spectrum. But also as I see them as connected networks, and that may also be the case for lyrics now that I think about it. I’m interested in the webs and collective/intraspecies ways which are formed to resist and exist in damaged environments. Through fantasy and personal mythologies or fables I imagine alternative futures of ecofilia where life also sprouts and finds ways to thrive.
Are you a fan of Louise Bourgeois?
I am, definitely. She is a big influence. I admire the sensibility of her work, how she explores themes that were taboo as a female artist. I see a tenderness in her body of work, even in hard, gruesome forms and subjects, that's very engaging.
I draw from many sources and references, forming a living and mutant archive composed of artists, films and theory of authors such as Paul B. Preciado, Judith Butler, Rosi Braidotti, Severo Sarduy. I read and investigate gender and feminist studies, posthumanism, anti-speciesism, and art history. But I am also very into geeky stuff like video games, anime, manga, science fiction, nature, astrology, and science and I think that is also very present in my work.
I see you, Valerie, Redrado, Messi, etc. Is Argentina having a moment?
I definitely think so, but maybe I'm biased. I feel like, on top of winning the world cup and Messi and more culturally significant figures that have managed to make an imprint internationally, there's an effervescence and passion that comes from Argentina, and Argentinian artists. And more so in times of struggle, where artists are able to tap into something very profound. Like in '68 with 'Tucumán Arde', an intervention in the city of Tucumán done by various artists to denounce the situation and hardships people were experiencing in the province in the context of a military dictatorship in the country. Or with 'El Siluetazo' in '83, where silhouettes of missing people were used to protest and make visible that absence of the people killed and taken by the de facto government. Art is always a means to manifest the social, ecological, political struggles, and make meaningful impacts and contributions.
How do you feel about AI?
I feel that in my practice there is a sensible linking and kind of cyborg relationship with my machines at the time of printing. I always say they are temperamental creatures and have names for all 5 of them. I have come to be attuned to their sounds and already know when something is or is [not] going to go wrong in the print. As far as the use of AI, I don't use it in generating images or [as] a tool in my process, but I don't discard the possibility for it in the future either.
I find the issue with the entities of the future very intriguing, what this will engender in terms of v.r. (Virtual Reality), a.i. (Artificial Intelligence), and robotics is still an open question. The fear of sentient machines, our own inevitable obsolescence, and doom is part of the future anxieties linked to the constant evolution of technology, which sometimes seems to change too quickly to grasp. I feel like we have to be critical and aware of these things, because as we learned with the idea of the open web, which in the 90s was thought to be an utopical concept and platform that would connect the world, that these things can be tools of liberation [and] just as easily of control. But I didn't mean to end this in a somber note though, so I'll say there is potential for the good and I hope it goes that route. WM
John Barrymore is an artist and writer based in Miami.view all articles from this author