Author: Loretta Ramirez
Argentine artist, David Lamelas, is an example of how one might harness nostalgia into a productive force that provides—for both the artist and society—insights into our present situation. Lamelas accomplishes such insights by the constant restaging of his works, from his early career during the 1960s in his birth city of Buenos Aires to his still-active projects. With each restaging, Lamelas seems acutely sensitive of new spaces and new audiences, whose viewing necessarily alters the potential messages of the pieces. These pieces span a wide spectrum from object-based Pop to Light-and-Space installations, and from film to conceptual environments; yet, a consistency weaves throughout—a continuous idea that art should never stagnate. I suggest that this consistency exists because Lamelas views his art as possessing a life of its own in which meaning accumulates and shifts over time. As with any life, change necessarily occurs—not only from within but from without. Interactions with each new audience or generation revise perceptions, both the self-defined and socially-derived. Lamelas’s art projects, though revived through public nostalgia for his work, transcend time, thus challenging perceptions that nostalgia hinders newness. In this essay, I aim to explore to what extent the concept of time manifests in Lamelas’s pieces as concurrently a celebration of nostalgia and a challenge to stagnancy. To support my claim that Lamelas’s revisits foster awareness of the constant potential of newness, I will primarily focus on the reinstallations of Lamelas’s pieces the Office of Information about the Vietnam War at Three Levels: The Visual Image, Text, and Audio (1968), Time as Activity: Düsseldorf (1969), and Situation of Time (1967). Further, I reference Lamelas’s own words, largely taken from a March 2016 informal interview with California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) graduate students, including myself, as part of his preparation for the forthcoming exhibit of his art at the CSULB University Art Museum, sponsored by the J. Paul Getty Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative.
How to Cite: Ramirez, L. (2016) “David Lamelas: Restaging Past Art to Foster Reinvention”, Dandelion: Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network. 7(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ddl.337