Analogic

“When we refer to the free spirit of “the sixties” -the flower power, the hippies, beat music and the outburst of creativity amid youth- we are in fact referring to the years following the riots of May 1968 in France. The slogan “imagination takes power” took shape years later, more precisely in “the seventies”. Our country too played a part in that display of freedom (at least until 1976), a period when Eduardo Pla realized that his creative instinct was guiding him towards the visual arts. His earlier works already reveal aspects that would later transcend all his production: on one hand, drawing inspiration from the arts -whether literature, cinema, or visual arts in general- and, on the other, a volcanic imagination allowing him to gain access to a vast array of themes, as well as technical supports. Lewis Carroll’s novel, “The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland” (1865) inspired the artist to create a film, “The dreams of Alice” (1972), followed by others, not only for the cinema but also for theatre and television (colour TV was just starting in Argentina). The multidimensional layers of this literary narration, the transformation of the characters, and the simultaneously fascinating and confusing world found in the story would materialize, years later, on the computer screen, where Pla successfully emulated Carroll; not through the word but through the image. Years later, the digital universe would allow him to quote, distort, multiply, reduce (and all other imaginable verbs) both in his and in Alice’s worlds.” (Julio Sánchez)

Digital

“And so Queen Mab, from the bottom of her chariot made of a single pearl, seized a blue veil, ever so faint, akin to the sighs or gazes of blonde and pensive angels. And that veil was the veil of dreams, of sweet dreams, that envelops the world in a rosy hue”. This passage is extracted from The veil of Queen Mab, a short story by Rubén Darío. But, who is this queen? In English folklore, she is a fairy who touches lightly the noses of those asleep and makes them dream. It seems plausible then, to imagine Queen Mab travelling once and again through the invisible circuits of a computer. It is precisely this machine, which we all use but know very little about that got Eduardo Pla to start back in the 1980’s, when he lived in Italy. Once Pla became familiar with the cybernetic universe, he set up his “workshop” on a desk and started fiddling with computers to create his art. If we look at pictures taken a few years ago, we can see the artist surrounded by devices now seen as obsolete (the same will happen with current “state of the art” appliances). In front of the screens (by then peripherals and monochromatic and now tactile) Pla succumbed to the vertigo of new programs that enabled him to create his distinctive universe. Great part of his work is immanent, potential -in terms of Aristotelian metaphysics- it can be printed at the right moment on the most varied supports. His work is born within the intimate space of a computer and usually ends up displayed on the street or in public areas. The story by the Nicaraguan poet tells us how a sculptor, a painter, a musician and a writer are inspired by that ancient English fairy. Pla successfully synthesizes that world, the realm of Queen Mab (Maya for Hinduists and Bonno for Buddists) in the dazzling Aleph of his computer.” (Julio Sánchez)

Expanded

“In art criticism, few expressions have gathered as much attention as the term “expanded field”. Initially referred to in 1979, October magazine, no.8, the term was coined by the American theorist Rosalind Krauss in an already classical article, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field”. What was she referring to? To the nonsense of defining sculpture solely by the specificity of its support: she affirmed that along with the collapse of traditional patterns, new mixtures, gender crossing and ludic combinations, sculpture has become part of a universe or a cultural space, a “periphery of a field in which there are other, differently structured possibilities”. For lack of a specific term to designate these hybrid forms, Krauss proposed “expanded field”, a label still used to address other forms of expression, such as cinema, photography or painting. The array of objects created by Eduardo Pla in this “extended field” chapter is vast.
The formats are malleable, from ephemeral monuments to small-scale objects. In this multi-coloured maelstrom, the spherical shape clearly emerges. One could even add it is the Urbild, or primordial image, that suffuses his work. The sphere is defined as a geometrical body limited by a closed curved surface, which points are equidistant from the centre. This expandable feature of the sphere, which in empirical terms can be found both in a drop of water and celestial bodies like the moon, has its counterpart in the digital format, for any file can be copied, amplified and reproduced, just like the sphere. In the symbolic tradition, the latter holds mystical connotations associated to divinity, be it in the Orient, where it is considered a mandala (a geometrical form that refers to a non-presentable reality), or in the West, where a host of philosophers, such as Eckahrt, Böhme, Leibniz, Nicholas of Cusa, Fichte and Schelling, among others, represent divinity as a sphere. Pascal too defines divinity as a sphere, with a centre located anywhere and its circumference, nowhere. Those are the philosophical reasons as to why the spheres of Eduardo Pla exert such a powerful attraction and yet existing in more mundane motives. Children from around the globe and throughout time have kicked a ball as a primary form of amusement, and the passion that competitive sports elicit, like football for instance, is buried in the collective unconscious. Where, then, does our fascination for the sphere stem from? Chi lo sa?” (Julio Sánchez)