home, digital photography printed on mirror, 80x120cm, 2013
Untitled I, collage, 12x23cm, 1998
A collective of artists in a world where contemporary art only focuses on the individual is as exotic as an endangered species.
Why insist on joint production when success is individual?
Simply because they have discovered that the virtues of the other complement them and the eyes of others add wealth to their own.
Because they cannot avoid growing in differences by being part of each other.
Just as we know that it will rain when we smell the wet dust or we know that the soil is rough when we see it dry, in the same way, SUDACA recovers using all the senses for artistic production.
Whether in Chile, Uruguay or Argentina, there is something between them that exceeds the human limits of time and space: they are perceived, thought, heard, looked at and from each of these points are connected by telepathy.
Cecilia Medina, December 2016
Santiago Estellano’s work refers to various topics through different techniques, based on photography and merging with his knowledge on digital animation.
In his series Estudio en Rojo (2013), he uses five pictures to refer, in his own words, to fractal structures moving to infinity, creating bonds and outcomes that join and cross roads. From this perspective, and using the terms coined by French mathematician B. Mandelbrot in 1975 from the latin fractus─ it refers to broken and fractured paths in the search for infinity.
However, these fractal structures, taken from nature, with big and small thorns and also referring to barb wire, represent more than a similarity between each of the pictures, such as a similarity in aspect and statistical distribution that the fractal element assigns to them.
These pictures serve as magnifying glasses that increase or decrease the same object, by moving closer or moving away, they allow us to see that the complexity of the weave is really repeated. And this quasi-mathematical argument shows unintelligibility and a complexity commonly attributed to pure sciences, but that are present in our psychological nature.
This approach – not recommended for enemies of logic – ends up disappearing through the stepping stone created by Estellano in his concepts and pictures.
The meandering and complex roads refer to human essence, to the essence of life and to the essence of human spirit. Life’s voyage, often full of problems and meandering roads that lead to unknown paths and destinies, is captured and sealed – without tricks – in nature’s daily existence.
The different interpretations of his imaginary are highlighted by the red color and its symbolism – of love, passion, power, wish, vitality, ambition, self-trust, courage, optimism, but also anger, irritability, impatience, non-conformity, violence and war – already used by Cupid or The Devil cleverly summarizing the ambivalence of human nature.
Far from repetitive, the universality discovered in his images uncovers inavertedly higher concepts that human beings usually try to unknowingly ignore or simply endure. Tortuosity, difficulty, temperament, sharpness, roughness, pain and the unknown are present in these sanguine reds of spirit and existence to remind us that our human essence, capable of overcoming suffering, can redeem, find and rejoice itself until it overcomes any obstacle in this never ending path to finally recognize the importance of the journey in detriment of destiny.
Based on this apparent repetition, Santiago Estellano masterfully suggests us, introduces us into and even makes us think about a simple, plain and complex life, open and devoid of taboos, forcing us to experience the eternal dichotomy of stress between good and bad, the sacred and the profane, the known and the unknown.
These dichotomies are mixed up, intertwined and unjustified as if the road were the only thing that existed for us and destiny was nothing but a wish, an unachievable dream shown by our nature to make us walk and wander before vanishes from the land (not Earth). And the only possible destiny seems to be this infinity to which, death itself, bloody and violent refers as redemption and spiritual resurrection on another plane, no longer existential, but spiritual.
Estudio en Rojo by Estellano paradoxically strips ─with an intricate simplicity─ the finite, mortal, confusing and entangled essence of each and all of us.
Hugo Martínez Rapari, January 2014
In INVASION, nature serves as a starting point and as a metaphor, designed as a relationship system with its own set of rules, allowing to overcome social control and to undermine its intentions.
The tension between nature and culture maintains the spectator in a floating state between both paradigms. These worlds coexist while alternating between harmony and violence; they attract and repel each other, they fuse and become differentiated until they burst across the gallery space, which they completely intervene.
The dichotomy proposed by Escudero and Estellano defines the constructive base of their work. They create a series of artifacts that are nourished by the spirit and structure of nature, which they represent and mimic.
The exhibition is composed by systems that solidify this tension: branches covered by synthetic paint, acrylic or vinyl climbing ivies that invade the room in a chaotic manner, projecting shadows until they create a new space.
A hybrid experience between the field of thought and the invasion of organic forms.
Together, they create an artificial botanical environment that reformulates how to free perception within a space governed by the contrast of models as old as humanity itself.
Máximo Jacoby, November 2013
At Cassis, the pebbles, fish,
rocks under a magnifying glass
the salt of the sea and the sky
made me forget about human pretensions
invited me to turn my back
on the chaos of our goings on
showed me an eternity in the little harbor waves
which repeat themselves
without repeating themselves
It may have been the trees in “El Prado”, a neighborhood in Montevideo where Santiago spent his childhood, that, with their intertwined branches engraved an unforgettable image on which the artist builds his world.
The alchemy of memory has transformed these branches, losing their particular features to become a symbol.
Like the circles formed in still water by the last rain drops, this original symbol echoes, overlaps, expands and builds an endless number of mysterious bonds that breathe and beat on the surface of the painting.
In this abstract language, color sometimes brings back faraway figurative references as in “Atardecer sobre el lago”, where the symmetric orange mass is evocative of the reflection of the sun on the water, or as in “Mediodía”, where the black weave suggests tree branches floating in a summer afternoon.
The map, taken as an abstract representation of the bonds that make up our world, is often chosen by Estellano as a way to deploy his symbol and build an image greatly influenced by graphics, an essential part of his artistic training.
Santiago is a creator of powerful and subtle abstractions; a contemporary Tachist.
In short, he is an artist who transforms reality into plastic expressions reflecting the vibrations of the soul.
Alejandra Roux, March 2012
In this exhibition Santiago evokes the trees of “El Prado”, a typical neighborhood in Montevideo where he spent his childhood. This is the artist’s world. Through time, the weave formed by the trees in his memory appears as symbols or strokes that remind us of and refer us to the calligraphy or paintings of the Far East.
His pictures, collages, paintings, and sculptures speak of a deep bond with nature and a longing for his native El Prado, his loved ones, the different situations that took him to live in different cities are at the root of his unattachment to a specific location. A contemporary Tachist, Estellano makes his “intertwined branches” into a symbol of it. “They are bonds, connections and elements in which we are all included. We are branches. We cross each other, come together, grow, we are strong and weak at the same time”.
He points out, “I work based on photographs of branches, where I transform the structure of the branches into a symbol that is repeated throughout my work. I start working with photography using different techniques such as ink transfer, engraving, drawing, acrylic and oil painting. There are many differences between these techniques. You have to study and assess what each work needs”.
They showcase an utter freedom of scheme construction, when color is not frequently used; paintings are almost achromatic and remind us of the informal style and lyric abstraction of previous painters.
Lines are characterized by color touches rather than by drawing. This undoubtedly expresses the artist’s emotional state, doing away with the subject of the work. It seems that the artist intends to express the emotion felt by light passing between the branches of the trees as if it were a unique and once-in-a-lifetime event that has to be attested. He fully achieves this through simple and refined pieces what promote a state of emotional stillness.
It is worth mentioning the color intervention on printed maps that relate the artist to graphics, his artistic stepping stone, and which create a mysterious atmosphere, especially because the printed maps date back to 1929.
In short, these are contemporary abstractions where the artist uses ink, acrylic and oil on different supports: fabric, paper, printed maps, and photographs. We can define this work as work of experimentation and improvement, and we believe that our participation in it is very useful.
“It’s my search for longing, it’s pretending to be kids once again…”
“Art must nourish the spirit! And it’s up to us to achieve it”.
Fragments by: Maria Julia Aparicio and Julio Portela. // 2011
I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay.
In 1998, I graduated from Montgomery College, MD, USA, with a degree in art and digital animation.
In 2001, I awarded a technical degree in Graphic Design by the Universidad del Trabajo del Uruguay.
Since 2008, I have been living in Buenos Aires, where I attended the University of Buenos Aires, CCR and took engraving classes with Clara Ezcurra. In 2011 , I finished the 4 years painting studies by Fundación Guillermo Roux, following the teachings of Alejandra Roux, Anna Rank, Marina Curci and Teresa Durmüller.
Assisted during 2015 and 2016 to art clinic and analysis with Alejandra Roux and Sergio Bazan.
I currently work and live in Buenos Aires, Argentina.