Leopoldo Maler, currently head of The Parsons School of Design Affiliation in the Dominican Republic, prefers to work conceptually and purposely refrains from any display of traditional artistic skills. His works serve as symbols that spark what he calls the viewer’s “creative power of contemplation;” one is completely free to apply one’s own experience and understanding to his pieces.
The work before you, entitled Hommage, has a great deal of personal meaning for Maler himself, however. His uncle, a well-known Argentinean writer, is believed to have been killed for the inflammatory content of his political essays. The old Underwood Typewriter that now emits flames in the place of words is of the same style that Maler’s uncle used during his esteemed career.
“Maler is one of the very few artists of the 70s who have tried to make truly imaginative
use of the available technology, and the effects he has conjured up have been some of
the most genuinely magical of the decade”
-Edward Lucie-Smith, Art in the Seventies
Silence, an installation by Leopoldo Maler first exhibited at the Camden Art Center in London in 1971, will be shown at Nohra Haime Gallery. A seminal piece in Maler’s development as he moved from theater staging to art, utilizing forms that would become part of the new art vocabulary: installation, video, performance.
In a darkened room, the viewer encounters a single bed constructed of blue neon. On the bed lies an elderly woman which is projected onto the bed. A live nurse sits knitting in a bedside chair.
Silence: a moment of reflection. It is a psychological process where Maler uses these images to
unchain these processes. It evoques presences and absences. Maler is moved by the human body, horizontal and in repose. All anxiety of everyday life disappears and everything in our reality looses its value. The nurse’s appearance gives a physical dimension next to the filmed image which now become The reality.
Silence is as fresh and haunting in the 21st Century as it was in 1971.
Born in Buenos Aires, Maler studied Social Sciences and Law. He moved to London in 1961 where he started to experiment with his new ideas about mixed media, integrating films into sculptures and installations. In 1977 Maler was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship for the Arts and moved to New York until 1983 when he became the first Dean of the Parson’s School of Design in Santo Domingo. Maler’s work has been exhibited at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Whitechapel, and Hayward Galleries in London among others. He represented Argentina in the 14th Sao Paulo Biennial and in the 1986 Venice Biennale. His works are in important collections worldwide.