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Ego x Geo

Project Type

Performance Art & Photography

Ego x Geo is an artistic project based on floral arrangements in the Ikebana / Jiyuka style, symbolically the sacrifice of the individual "ego," in favor of harmony with nature and all living beings, the "geo" or cosmos.

About how I started this practice: My curiosity about the world of flowers began in my childhood. Although it wasn't a constant habit at home, my earliest memory is the image of tiny white flowers my mother separated from roses after returning home following the birth of my brother Pablo, who is just over a year older than me... which means this vivid memory of the small flowers on a Formica table, which caught my attention so much, (they seemed like miniature trees to me), is a memory from my first year of life, which I still remember to this day. Although I find it difficult to remember many things from childhood, I can feel and see my knees walking to school in elementary school, still in shorts, my knees and my leather boots to correct a flat foot problem, walking to school (almost a km) and while, with very cold hands and ears, I would occasionally tap a branch to indicate that it should yield and allow me to bend it, so from the beginning I tried to dialogue, keeping in mind that they were living beings. Without any training in the matter, intuitively, I bent the branches to give shape to small floral arrangements that I occasionally took to school or brought home. I made bundles by shredding leaves. I also remember sticking small red flowers from whose plant I extracted a sticky white sap onto larger leaves, as if pretending that these could emerge from them. These memories are from before my 8 years of age. Then my interest turned to ceramics, drawing, and painting, and I think I was very lucky to be able to understand many things in a special way since many art books were in languages I did not understand, so I only read the images, the plastic expression that far from being trivial shaped me with a solid vision, especially about the cultural dimensions of the 20th century up to the 70s. Many years later I discovered the privilege of growing up in Mar del Plata, so far from everything in those days without the Internet, a city in the south of the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina, a city nicknamed the happy one, where always regardless of the time of year, all the houses and parks were full of varied plants and flowers while in the area where I grew up except for two months a year, there was no one, that is, it was an area of chalets facing the sea, for those who arrived in the summer. After making a career in the plastic arts and having extensive experience in the film industry, my exploration in the world of floral art took a more serious turn when I met Professor Neli Malvasi from the Ikenobo School in Buenos Aires. I immediately began taking classes with her within the framework of Ikenobo, which twice a year brought teachers from Japan for master classes. Through her teachings, I began to delve into the meaning that various cultures, especially Asian ones, have given to the act of arranging flowers harmoniously. This act, which transcends the merely aesthetic, was practiced in China thousands of years ago BC and generally had religious purposes. Over 400 years ago, a Japanese monk went to study in China the meaning of these floral arrangements, and upon his return, he founded the Ikenobo school, where the practice becomes a symbolic expression that presents the cosmos itself. But also from Ikenobo special attention is paid to the way plants grow, how leaves seek light, how flowers open, which traces a design in their movement. A design that I understand somehow reveals to us the design of God. I say this because in my artistic vocation, it made a brutal difference, it split all my bases and ideas about aesthetics, which changed radically for me. All the currents in visual language, the "isms" of the 20th century, of course, a Western theme, now had another meaning, it was no longer about a trend or current derived from another, created by some breaking artist. I understood that from now on I would study the design and style of "The Creator," which at least gave the subject a sacred tone. During my study with Professor Malvasi, I spent countless hours practicing floral arrangements in different styles, from the simplest like Moribana, to the most sophisticated like Rika in its versions Shofutai and Shimputay. This learning process not only allowed me to practice the techniques of floral art, but also led me to explore other schools and to deepen my observation of plants and flowers in my everyday environment. The words of Master Ohara, founder of the school that bears his name and that somehow brought Ikebana into the space of the home and daily life, were no less moving to me and reinforced that especially sensitive sense of an art composed of living elements. Also, due to my work as a film director and stage designer, I had the opportunity to travel to countries with lush nature, such as Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Peru, where I was able to further expand my practice, thanks to the infinite diversity of materials I found in each place. Each new experience enriched my understanding and inspired me to continue exploring and creating.

About the Jiyuka style in Ikebana:

After World War II, a descendant of the Ikenobo dynasty (the founding school of Ikebana) created an arrangement over a part of a metal bumper that had been transformed by the atomic bomb. This piece is considered one of the first manifestations of contemporary Ikebana art, which contemplates the possibility of using other objects besides traditional bases and vases. This was one of the most prominent innovations in the world of Ikebana. The Jiyuka style, this evolution in floral art, opened new creative and symbolic possibilities, allowing artists to explore and experiment with a wide range of materials and concepts.

About the development of the Project:

After more than 7 years of study with the Ikenobo school, inspired by this creative freedom and by the underlying philosophy of Ikebana, I decided to take this idea one step further in my project "Ego x Geo." In this project, which is inscribed in the Jiyuka style of Ikebana as contemporary art, I propose a symbolic act of sacrificing the individual ego in favor of harmony with the natural environment and all living beings. By using people as bases instead of traditional vases, the Ego x Geo project merges the ancient tradition of Ikebana with a unique contemporary expression. Each floral arrangement thus becomes a visual and symbolic representation of the connection between the human being and nature, inviting viewers to reflect on their own relationship with the surrounding world. The beauty of flowers, leaves, and branches in an Ikebana, adds to an icon of Western art, the nude body, but this time in a modest position and attitude, attentive only to supporting and highlighting the display and beauty of the arrangements.

Presentation and Commitment:

Since just before the year 2000, I have made numerous presentations of the project in public and private spaces, since this live sacrifice in front of the public is of course of my greatest interest, and the photos that I will present you in the edition of this book are rather documentation of these experiences. Sometimes in art galleries or museums, or public parks, others in gardens or private spaces, I have tried to share this committed act with beauty, harmony, and connection with nature. After so many years and facing the logical difficulties that this type of actions entail when delivering them to society, today I feel that this documentation is important, which constitutes this second book of Ego x Geo, along with some comments on the findings and existential notions that were revealed throughout these practices.

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