Nora Lezano: “I never stopped taking photos or saving things” | His exhibition/performance “desINVENTARIO” is part of the Ephemeral Matter cycle

Nora Lezano: “I never stopped taking photos or saving things” | His exhibition/performance “desINVENTARIO” is part of the Ephemeral Matter cycle
Nora Lezano: “I never stopped taking photos or saving things” | His exhibition/performance “desINVENTARIO” is part of the Ephemeral Matter cycle

Nora Lezano. Photos every day.” The credential – it is not possible to see for what show or recital – stands out on the floor of Hunters (Villaroel 1438) among another thousand credentials, photographs, trinkets with sentimental value, memories of all kinds that accumulate in the apartment and that constitute a kind of intimate-public diary of Lezano herself. Meanwhile, she reads fragments of her authentic intimate diary. And then, a film returns to those memories.

The sample/performance DISINVENTORY integrates the Ephemeral Matter cycle –curated by Emilio García Wehbi- in which Mariana Eva Pérez and Laura Kalaus also participate (with Anti-visit. Ways to enter and exit ESMA), Carla Crespo (with Concert on corpses), Florencia Bergallo, Natalia di Cienzo and Victoria Roland (with All beginnings are false), and Nicolás Licera Vidal and Sofía Kauer (with Desert). A series that will take place on Wednesdays, June 19 and 26, and on Fridays, July 5 and 12 (always at 8 p.m.) in the Magnet room of the Cazadores Foundation (Villaroel 1438). Wehbi’s proposal is to explore the borders between music, dance, performance and theater. As for those summoned, the curatorial text reflects, they are “outstanding personalities of our vernacular culture who travel the liminal path of the living arts, in which literature, music, performance, dance, visual and sound arts converge and intermingle. , with the desire not to be trapped by a precise cataloging system.” And he adds that “it is precisely in that ephemeral freedom where the refucile explodes, which sometimes illuminates forever.”

In the case of Lezano, in addition, he resumes Inventory, a presentation that the photographer had already made at the Performance Biennial and that here multiplies its senses. “DISINVENTORY “It is a farewell to an intense, voracious, fascinating and stormy past at the same time,” the curatorial text anticipates. To a large extent, DISINVENTORY It is a way of telling about the Lezano that was to wonder about the Lezano that will be. And yes, of course there are passages with Charly García (many of them) and with other fundamental national and international rock artists, but there are also instances of family life and a good time on camera with his dog.

Wehbi explains to Page 12 who invited Nora to allow her to “pose herself as an artist who exceeds her historical framework, which is that of photography, because she has a very large material archive, but at the same time she has expressive capacities that go beyond photography.” Wehbi had already curated Lezano’s participation in the 2017 Performance Biennial and they sought to return to that work. “Nora, of course, joined interested precisely with this desire to see how the experience of an artist who focuses her work in the photographic field can be expanded to a visual, sound, kinetic and scenic experience.”

That’s why, DISINVENTORY is to wonder who Lezano is when he doesn’t have a camera on him. The path is that of the memories of a rigorously recorded life, where not only photos and show credentials accumulate, but also answering machine cassettes, family videos, personalized t-shirts, letters from adolescence and more (sometimes these records entail a notable crudeness, as in the case of reproaches – even violent – ​​from ex-partners). The whole is an impressive exercise in the conservation of one’s own past that takes on its ultimate meaning in this integration of Lezano’s intimate universe and public life, in which as a quasi-ritual act the photographer seeks to leave behind her past, her “invisible corset,” to allow yourself to decide who you are, what (person) you will be.

In that sense, there is a gesture that runs through the entire performance and that runs the risk of going unnoticed if attention is concentrated on the screen, in the search for the vain gesture of the famous face: she keeps all her memories in boxes, those same ones. which the viewer had to go through first, and finally turns the framed photographs (and other things) around, so that they face the wall. A simple gesture full of meaning.

From the “Manifesto” that Lezano reads at the end, some powerful lines are extracted (which will not be spoiled here, except for a strong phrase, later), and everything culminates with a beautiful and personal gesture in which Lezano herself will give each attendee a The feature is a CD from your own collection, numbered and catalogued. A CD that Nora perhaps bought, or perhaps came from the artist himself. That it is Nora herself who puts the body into her text and her memory made into objects, gives depth to the gestures. And she talks about it in this interview.

Why were you interested in resuming this performance?

-Emilio García Wehbi, curator of Ephemeral Matter in Cazadores, he invited me to do it again. And the truth is that I was interested in taking it back because on the one hand it was an honor and a challenge to share the cycle with great projects by artists that I admire (I worked with some of them taking photos of previous projects), and on the other I think there was something “karmic” in that of looking back into that past, looking back again, revisiting what was still saved: I take it as an opportunity to continue seeing who I am today.

What has changed since its presentation at the Biennial?

-In their structure they are the same (sample of objects and photos, reading my diaries, a video and an action). But at the Performance Biennial (2019) it was called “INVENTORY” and there I tore up letters, photos, birthday cards, agendas, cassettes, school bulletins and notebooks, drawings, faculty notes, diplomas from courses I had taken as a teenager, clothes and everything stored that I no longer needed.

Now it’s called “disinventory”, and I’m not going to break anything (laughs). Rather, I repair. It is a confessional, exhibitionist, emotional and also reflective work.. And the nice thing is that as part of the performance, at the end I will give each spectator a CD from my collection. I give away my music.

What was it like, what did it mean for you to review this entire record of these years of your life?

Just as I never stopped taking photos, I never stopped saving things (laughs). Obviously I have an obsession with recording and saving. You can call me “a hoarder.” And if. But although it seems to be a kind of inventory of nostalgia, for me it is still work material. The sample and the video are just a snippet of the amount of records kept that show my privacy (diaries, notebooks, answering machine messages, cell phone messages, emails, thousands of photos, drawings, letters from ex-boyfriends, from friends, parents, agendas, clothes) I have a terrible memory, so this accumulation always helps me bring it back. Everything helps me go deeper into myself, to remember who I am. DISINVENTORY It is going back to the past but with a new look, with a different body. Like in the story, that Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs to return home, I did the same with these things. They brought me back to me.

-The volume of your record is a little surprising: the number of credentials, accreditations, little things of all kinds that you had saved, why did you keep all that? What connection do you have (or did you have) with these objects?

-As a good music fan, I hoarded what I could of everything that linked me to the musicians (picks, set lists, credentials). See if I’m going to throw away the pick that Paul Stanley (Kiss singer) gave me in Works While I took photos of him from the trench dodging spit! Or the t-shirt that Gustavo Cerati gave me while filming “Puente”! Or Fito Páez’s autograph the time I skipped school and ran into him on Florida Street! This saving thing runs in the family. Shortly after I was born I was stripped and my dad kept that little hair in an envelope for years and years and when I turned 40 he “gifted” it to me. I didn’t know he had it. And my mother, among other things, saved some of my primary school folders, newsletters, communication notebooks, letters to the Three Wise Men… What connection do I have with these things? For me they are treasures.

You say that all of this is “work material”, that suggests that you always conceived yourself as more than just a photographer, is that true? How did you look at your own work?

-I never considered myself just a photographer. I use photography, I use writing, I use drawings, videos, everything within my reach to express or record what interests me. Maybe that’s why I sometimes deny when they pigeonhole me saying: “the rock photographer.” I understand that my photos of musicians are the best known of my work. I basically I pursue and capture my experience: I like music, I get into the world of music to photograph everything; I like to connect with people, I dedicate myself to portraying; I love dogs, I photograph dogs for a Foundation; I like to write, I keep a record of notes about my life. AND That’s where everything intersects, work and life.

Beyond the photos and memorabilia, you reveal some very powerful audios, which are the answering machine messages from jilted exes, why did you include them?

-I was not interested in showing only kindness, I decided to work with the private archive, and well, these spiteful people are part of it. They are part of my story, of my real life, like the audio of my friend who sings “happy birthday” to me, or one from my mother or the one from the guy at the record store who tells me that the CD I ordered from him has arrived.

-Why do you feel like you have to say goodbye to your past?

-I don’t live tied to the past. These saved things remind me of situations, moments, they give me insight, as happens with photos. But I don’t live based on anything. And it is not saying goodbye to the past, that is to say bye to a version of myself.

For decades you were at the center of music, now you give away your CDs and say that you find peace in silence (even if you say that you never knew how to enjoy). What is that process like?

-Just because I gave away the CDs doesn’t mean I don’t listen to more music. For years I listened to music all day, I went to concerts every week, I went from bowling to bowling, a lot of noise at all times. Now I enjoy silence more, I need this, and I respect myself in that desire. But be careful The silence I need would not have to do so much with listening to less music, but rather with silencing my head.. That will be the greatest challenge, the great work of art. And as for enjoyment, I think it has to do with being present and aware. I had a lot of fun, but I enjoyed little.

In the performance you symbolically undress, it is very strong how you expose yourself, how does that hit you?

-I’m not worried about taking those risks. While each life is unique, stories can belong to everyone. I am telling my experience. And I like to make a ritual of this metamorphosis.

-At the end you say “being Nora, without being Lezano”, the whole perfo involves asking who you are now, but for that, you also ask yourself or point out who you were… do you have any possible answer to any of those questions?

-(long laughter) Of course! The underlying question is who I am beyond the name, the profession and the public figure. “Noooora Lezaaaano, the rock photographer.” I need to separate myself from that Nora. In some sense deINVENTORY also works as a closing of a stage, the farewell to a fascinating, unconscious, anesthetized, fast past, but also the celebration of a life: unique, mysterious, daring and MINE.

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