Collected Tales is a series of hand-crafted wooden magazines by the Argentine artist Sebastián Gordín. Twenty three of the approximately forty existing Gordín magazines are being shown this October in Cecilia Brunson Projects, Bermondsey. Only on one previous occasion have such a large number of magazines been shown together and this is the first time a significant number have been seen in the UK.
Gordín is one of the central figures that rose to prominence in the post- dictatorship Argentina of the late 1990s. Rejecting the growing intellectual- isation of Argentine artistic practice, Gordín’s work evades overtly political and conceptual tendencies to be characterised by playful and experimental exploration of life and aesthetics often through the use of traditional or everyday materials.
A central focus of Gordín’s practice has been crafting fine wooden magazines inspired by pulp fiction of the 1920s. He uses exquisite woods to fabricate cover illustrations of meticulous marquetry. With painstaking technique and ultra-gloss finish the works demand to be picked up, touched and coveted, in complete contrast with the throwaway originals. And the mythical and macabre events he interlays in the scenes are intended to resuscitate the subconscious at the same time as they seduce the senses:
“My feeling is that these magazines bring to the fore a certain acuity we unlearn in life, or at least certain things that have been obscured by our daily routine, almost like one of those ‘penny-drop’ recognitions that suddenly reappear from ones own unconscious memory. The job of the artist is to dig out of our memory the things society prevents us from still seeing, unearthing those memories buried in daily life. That’s the moment when art can transform routine into beauty.”