Nicolás Janowski

Argentina, 1980. Lives and works in Buenos Aires.

Nicolás Janowski

Current exhibition

"Adrift in Blue"
Nicolás Janowski

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Nicolás Janowski

Centolla

2015
Digital print.
Ed. 1/7 + 2 P.A.

105 x 70 cm

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Nicolás Janowski

Laberinto

2015
Digital print.
Ed. 3/7 + 2 P.A.

105 x 70 cm

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Nicolás Janowski

Reducción

2016
Digital print.
Ed. 1/7 + 2 P.A.

70 x 105 cm

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Nicolás Janowski

Pasaje de Drake (still)

2015
Monochannel color video.
Vertical.
Slowed down in shot.
Variable dimensions.
Ed 1/3 + 1 P.A.
02:19 min. Loop.

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Nicolás Janowski

Argentina, 1980. Lives and works in Buenos Aires.

A drift in blue is a project by the Argentinean artist and anthropologist Nicolás Janowski focused on investigating the different imaginaries that have been forged around the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego from the sixteenth century to the present. Divided into five chapters and articulated through a book, a web page and a set of facilities, this project joints: fixed image, video, sound pieces as well as poetry and was made with a team of collaborators. Through this multiplicity of resources and solutions, Janowski reviews different narratives that link the archipelago located in the extreme south of the continent with the imaginary of the end of the world, as a territory geographically distant and marked by severely adverse conditions.

Janowski divides A drift in blue into five chapters, in which different characters or events play a central role. Chapter 1, "The limit" is about the meeting and the first cartographies of the archipelago, such as that made by Captain Francisco de Hoces, in which this insular, maritime and Antarctic territory appears as a mixture of reality and fantasy. The second chapter, "El Oro", addresses its initial period of exploration through the chronicles of characters such as Captain James Cook. These explorations set the stage for the expansion of the European colonial enterprise. "The end", title of chapter 3, is related to these processes through a revision of the evangelizing missions and figures such as Martín Gusinde. The photographic work of Viennese priest and ethnographer Gusinde, between 1918 and 1924, speaks of the processes that transformed native communities of Tierra de Fuego from certain colonial policies. The fourth chapter, "The Flight" focuses on the history of Tierra del Fuego as a suitable site for a high security prison and deals with the figure of the Ukrainian-Argentinean anarchist Simón Radowitzky who, after escaping from the Ushuaia jail, left fight in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side and later, he lived in Mexico until his death. "Los últimos" is the final chapter and presents a current scenario in which extreme conditions prevail together with an increasing instrumental exploitation of natural resources. In their totality, these narratives dialogue and communicate among themselves, conjugating an idea of ​​the end of the world as a place of exploitation, of extremes, as a place that seems to be at all times on the verge of extinction.

For A drift in blue, Janowski uses photography as documents "halfway between reality and fiction". The artist seems to integrate on each of his images different perspectives, knowledge and knowledge about the situations he investigates. The documentary aspect of photography, in this sense, seems to be upset with this perspective that challenges the existence of only one way of understanding reality; a position that resonates with his training as an anthropologist. Janowski is committed to a vision that is not limited to a positivist understanding of culture, associated with direct photography of a documentary nature. Plastically, this kind of indetermination in the meaning of the image is achieved in photography through multiple exposures, use of artificial light and flashes as well as an accentuated use of blue gelatins that increase the level of abstraction. The preponderance of this tone not only seeks to relate to the extreme conditions of the archipelago, but also to locate the Tierra del Fuego space within a specific affective condition, as a melancholic scenario. Hence the game of meanings that the title of the project in English may suggest.

For this exhibition at Almanaque fotográfica, Janowski presents a set of photographs as well as an installation that presents video and documentary material of A drift in blue - a piece that expresses the transmedia character of this project, which covers its different forms of assembly. The printed photographs belong to the different chapters that present imaginaries of the end of the world. In one, for example, you can see an image that can be identified with the Sacred Heart. Belonging to "The End", this photograph records a detail found in the ruins of the Estancia María Behety established by the Salesian Order in 1897. The double exposure of the photograph overturns the religious imaginary in order to present a critique of the processes of colonization imposed by the order on the local selknam and yámana populations.

Daniel Garza Usabiaga. Mexico City, October, 2018