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Paisajes rurales

By Fermín Fevre

Looking upwards 

Marcela Pittner’s paintings make us look upwards, towards the domes of Buenos Aires, with their 
cherubs and weather-vanes; their crosses and their belfries. Day skies and nights skies show out in
them, too. Hers is not the usual way of looking at things: we are trapped in the troublesome density of the city and plunged into its labyrinths of flatness.
Art tries to present us with another reality: a more diaphanous and exalted one, in this case; a look
that rises above the oppressive blocks of urban architecture, which are, in their turn, an extension of
those in ourselves. It is in this thematic concern of this artist that we find an existential metaphor
complete in itself. Looking upwards means overcoming everyday contingency and searching for
higher horizons.
This artist makes use of traditional pictorial means -which she is well acquainted with- and sets up
perspectives, forever changing and original, to create an expressive form that goes beyond any
literal realism whatsoever. She does not forsake representation: she transcends it; and yet, she does not alter a normal perception of reality, one without compulsion or distortion.
That is the reason why there is always a real challenge in her creations, for she makes use of what can be seen, according to the way it might be seen. Thus, she does not alter the essential nature of
of the object which is viewed, but the way to gain an access to that nature.
The painted object becomes a pretext to “mobilize” the subject, forcing him to adopt perspectives
different from the usual ones. Her paintings become, then, an investigation into herself, and into
all of us; while, at the same time, we find in the representation an allegory that goes beyond individual perception up to a wider superior level.
Her way of representing objects is not realistic but symbolic: it is through the material object she
is looking at that certain values and virtues emerge –values and virtues related to the image of a nation that used to be great; that aspired to high aims in all areas; a country that has fallen prey to non-transcendental survival. Where are the beliefs that built up Argentine grandeur? Where are they gone? Is there anything left of them other than their sheer substantiality?
Calm and serene in appearance, these paintings hide the agitation of a national drama that affects us all, and translate its tragic situation into pictorial terms. Art is always a transformation of reality which, in Nietzsche’s foreseeing words, makes itself felt in an eternal coming back, either as tragedy or as comedy.
Looking upwards demands real effort; yet, that has been, at all times, the aspiration of great art in its ultimate requirement to get to what is beautiful, and good, and true. As André Malraux put it “art
can help us become aware of our own greatness, the one we are ignorant of”. In that sense, art can triumph over disenchantment and nihilism, because it moves towards the expanding of horizons, as
do these paintings by Marcela Pittner: both physically and metaphorically, she will have us looking upwards.
Fermín Fevre
Buenos Aires, march 2004