With our new issue of Art Magazine we inaugurate a new stage in Sybaris Collection. Following the sybarite spirit (a person with refined tastes who has access to exclusive services and products), the porpoise of Sybaris is redefine yes, the concept of luxury but mainly, the one of the pleasure.

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To document as defined by the Cambridge dictionary is the act “to record the details of an event or a process”. How is this connected to arts? At first sight, the question may sound evident. The natural answer would be, writing the records of an artwork, which to me sound like making catalogues. Yet, after Walter Benjamin’s work The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction published in 1936, the question follows other directions. As a brief reminder, with the rise of photography, Benjamin anticipated fundamental questions to think around an Artwork in the modern world regarding their properties, historicity and uniqueness, which are still in debate today. Those issues came across me recently, when I had to present an exhibition through the photography’s of pieces we had installed before in other walls. What are the properties of an artwork, (if any…)? How does a piece changes from wall to wall? What happens when an artwork is seen through its records? This issue is dedicated to think around those questions and its purpose is to share what we have discovered recently about it. It also includes our Art Reveal of this year 2019, Miora Rajaonary, a photographer, whose work is deeply engaged with documentary photography in Africa. Art.doc: The art of documenting; the document of an artwork; and an artist that documents, to close a year, that for the record, was great!


Regina de Con Cossio


IN 1962 AN ART COLLECTOR BOUGHT YVES KLEIN a work that only he and the artist knew: when he finished reading the paper that contained the work, the collector broke it and set it on fire. Klein, meanwhile, threw half of the gold coins he had received in return to the Seine River. The work of art materialized for a few moments, vanished in seconds. And of it only one record remained.

From that moment, various museums exhibited this work in different ways. One of them placed blank boxes. Another, put in place a written explanation that detailed the work. In 2017 the MUAC of Mexico City showed a photographic series that documented the moment and, its curator, Cuauhtémoc Medina, mentioned that with that gesture Klein inaugurated art that is no longer based on an object but on an idea.

When we visit a museum or a gallery of contemporary art, many of the times we face photographs, videos or other documents that, apparently, only record a work of art. But in recent years contemporary art has taught us that the piece is not exclusively what is in the museum, but also the research behind it, its work process and, of course, its documentation.

Recording a work of art does not refer exclusively to documenting an event. By printing an event on an image or finding its resonance in a voice, the work of art takes on new forms. The content is transformed in proportion with the form does. On the other hand, the viewer is involved in a two-movement process. At first, he observes a series of records that transport him to an artistic practice. And be seduced by it. Upon returning, those same records acquire a different value.

However, the artwork has not ended there. The record is integrated into the memory of the viewer, in the sense of Kierkegaard: memory is repetition, some of the past is presented again in the present. Without repetition we could not recognize anything. Memory surrounds the present as a ghost of the past, a double what it was, happening again in a present expanded. Thus, the viewer will not know what new form the artwork will acquire in his future, because it has already become part of his unconscious.


by Abel Cervantes
Photos by Rogelio Reynoso,
Sybaris Collection Archive

GABRIELA SALAZAR was born in New York in 1981. Her work examines the relationship “between human-mad spaces and structures and the unpredictable or invisible forces (the shifting of land, the pressures of gravity, the passing and layering of time) that act upon them”. She has been an artist-in-residence in numerous programs including AIR, Abrons Art Center (2018), Open Sessions, The Drawing Center (2017), MacDowell (2009), and Yale-Norfolk School of Art (2002). In 2019 she collaborated with Sybaris Collection in an exhibition at Casa Nakasone, the new architectural piece by Escobedo- Soliz in Mexico City.

In her work, Salazar examines the modes and measures of knowledge that are transmitted,visibly and invisibly, via structure and stuff.

She approaches the built environment, her personal history, and material, as frameworks for site‑responsive installations, drawings, and sculpture that engage the relational and associative possibilities inherent in medium, architecture, the body, selfhood, and place. Throughout her practice runs a fascination with the phenomenology of site; the ways architecture is (mis)repurposed towards contemporary needs and uses; rule-making (and bending) as a strategy for uncovering idealizations and uncertainty in experience and expectations; and the large-and-small consequences of intentionality, ambition, limit, and failure.

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