Friday, September 8, 5pm-9pm
Guillermo Bublik 157A 1st St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, there was always a tango being played on the radio. Being used in stock phrases and the daily advise from our parents, my friends and I could not escape learning the lyrics of dozens of tangos.
As teenagers, we saw this music as a symbol of older generations, something to run away from. None of us wanted to dance to stories of jilted lovers and unrealized dreams, to the constant mention of the good old days, to the idea that happiness lived in the rear view mirror, never ahead. Not surprisingly, we now feel this music to be essential to our heritage.
In the 1960's Astor Piazzolla, a musical genius, revolutionized tango. Besides incorporating fugues, counterpoint, and other elements of Western classical music, he merged in the language of contemporary jazz. Furthermore, a large number of the lyrics of his pieces were done in collaboration with urban poets who wrote of life in the modern city. This radical departure from tradition produced a deep rift in the community, causing heated discussions between the traditionalists and the partisans of what was then dubbed the “new tango”. The conflict was so intense that Piazzolla was beaten a few times by crazed old guard goons.
One of his most famous pieces is titled "Balada para un loco", loosely translated as “Ballad for a loon”. The lyrics follow a lovable eccentric, not seen by sane people, as he walks, runs, and floats over the streets of Buenos Aires.
This tango inspired the works in the series “Las callecitas de Buenos Aires” (Buenos Aires’s little side streets),which has expanded to incorporate “Las Plazas(Parks) de Buenos Aires” “Las Estaciones(Seasons) de Buenos Aires”; “Las Orillas(Waterfronts) de Buenos Aires”; “Los Monumentos(Monuments) of Buenos Aires”, and “Los sueños(dreams) of Buenos Aires”.
These urban markers are an emotional map whose sites evoke key memories: how the sun was reflected off the windows of “Cafe La Paz” on “Avenida Corrientes”, where my friends and I made a single espresso last 4 hours while talking about everything and nothing; the banter of the merchants at the open air market on “ Calle Charcas”; the powerful glow from the marquees on “Calle Lavalle”, the street with 6 or 7 movie theaters on each side for blocks on end.
The abstracted shapes in these series are a distillation of the memories I carry of my beloved Buenos Aires, memories that I would love to share with the public.