Cotelito: I Return Like a Garden After the Winter

A vine sprouts from the walls and envelops the space in the company of friendly creatures. A new, strange but sweet landscape welcomes us into a weird, natural environment. Cotelito has responded to these unprecedented times with an extraterrestrial tale infused with an atmosphere of joy and playfulness.

The artist’s visual thinking presents a conception of art as a means of embracing the impossible. Just a year ago, Cotelito held an exhibition called Lo que vendrá [What is to Come], which included a series of paintings that imagined a future of small, surreal and metaphysical scenes. A repertory of biomorphic figures posed against backgrounds of solitary horizons. In spite of their charming colour and synthetic feel, the images also shared a sense of melancholy. Drop shapes merged with pearls, or a star anis shaped monster, and his characters – which were not very expressive – elicited our empathy. At the time, talking about the future was an exercise of the imagination. This winter, reality imposed itself abruptly and we were forced to deal with a newly alienated world. We saw so many images of nature taking back its spaces – animals wandering free through areas devoid of humans, silent landscapes lacking the usual urban noise – that it appeared as though fantasy was merging with reality. For the re- opening of the Museo Moderno, we invited the artist to make a mural for the café and bookshop space.

Cotelito takes on the role of medium, returning to some of the characters from that exhibition to create a story in which the institution is the protagonist: he imagines what the museum dreamed this last winter. Represented by the plant, the museum’s thinking expands organically to embrace the different artworks in the galleries, while alien creatures appear to have dropped by for a visit. Some are spinning around, others look at the artworks, their tender visages encouraging us to think of visiting the museum as a relaxing experience. Similarly to the ways in which children interact with the world, the artist places the emphasis on spontaneity to string together different perceptions and stimuli, all equally valid.

Cotelito’s artwork thus becomes the first step on the path to well-being, a place where dreams sit innocently side by side with reality. He sees drawing and painting as forms of continuous thought. From the sketches right through to the final mural we can observe the essence of his practice: a belief in an accessible poetic. Spreading across the plane like a creeper, the painting takes over the space, casting shade in the corners to create a garden of grace and elegance.

Cotelito (CABA, 1983) studied Visual Art at the Universidad Nacional de las Artes and took the Artists Programme at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. He has held solo exhibitions at different galleries across the city including Moria Galería (2018) ; Piedras Galería (2017); Galería Atocha, Mundo Dios (2016); Naranja Verde (2014); Rayo Lazer (2014) and the Centro Cultural Recoleta (2010). He won the Stimulus prize at the Salón Nacional de Rosario in 2019 and First Prize in the 12th National Competition for the Visual Arts run by the UADE in 2017. Collective exhibitions in which his work has featured include Geometría Pueblo Nuevo [New People Geometry], Piedras Galería (2018); La sonrisa del alma sin dientes [My Toothless Smile], Alimentación General (2018); Limonale, Künstlerhaus Vorwerk-stift, Germany (2018); Cuánto dura un minuto [The Length of a Minute], Museo del Libro y la Lengua (2015); Bienal de arte Joven de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires [City of Buenos Aires Young Art Biennial 2015], and Curriculum 0, Galería Ruth Benzacar (2008). Since 2010 he has given workshops in experimental drawing in several different spaces for contemporary art. He lives and works in Buenos Aires.