Night is enough

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable”.

S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Daniel Besoytaorube is presenting La noche es suficiente at Museo MAR, an exhibition constituted by four large format paintings. It is a minimalist production that due to the size of its workings provides for a dialogue with the monumental features of the exhibition space.

As spectators, we first feel estranged because of the scale, which dwarfes us and includes us in an apparently superhuman situation.

The four paintings work together and invite us to the fictional universe of the artist. It is a world governed by the power of the painting’s language (the color planes, the drawing, its textures and visual matter), but it also reflects his intellectural universe and his particular worldview.

Just like Jackson Pollock’s paintings express the movements and actions that created them, Besoytaorube’s four large paintings capture the heterodox composition process: they were painted in less than two months outdoors during a bleak winter in Mar del Plata and they bring in all kinds of contingencies and accidents.

The cloths have not been framed, they have not been “domesticated”, but they have been hung in a rustic way, showing their uneven edges, folds and imperfections. This decision reinforces the “battlefield” character the artist added to them during the creation process.

But we should not be misled. That hardiness or formal savagery hides a subtle fabric of quotes and references, more or less visible, materialized in different registers.

Sometimes the history of art is a secret quote that shines like an indecipherable enigma. Bearing that in mind as the key for interpretation, the artist creates his works as a palimpsest in which each layer refers to those art periods that are meaningful to him.

However, in his production Besoytaorube always activates a slight displacement that radically disrupts those quotes to transform them into metaphors about the present.

Thus, El Repunte [The Upturn] (a huge 4 m x 5 m painting) brings together and overlaps various visual layers, such as a design by Kate Spade (who committed suicide when Daniel started paiting this series) made up of color stripes, or the chalkboards created by Edgardo Vigo and Joseph Beuys. A specially relevant and constant factor in La noche es suficiente is the materiality of the cloth. It is a sailcloth like the one used in a local sunken fishing vessel (after which the painting was named) that shows the effects caused by weathering: the concrete is placed as the real restored on stage.

Through the eyes of Besoytaorube, Mar del Plata becomes a critical area in which nature, the landscape and the ocean are colonized by the city and the economy, and abound as social wrecks and natural disasters.

Opus 131, Attaca (a painting with the same dimensions as the previous one) was conceived having in mind T. S. Eliot’s view on the work of another creator, L. V. Beethoven. Now Daniel adds his view as a third creator that makes observations and gives directions.

For T. S. Eliot, Beethoven’s “String Quartet, op. 131” (which was composed to be played without pauses, overcoming time until getting to a chaotic moment, oceanic, where sense vanishes) offers the chance to reflect upon the paradox of finitude and the myth of the eternal return, according to which there is a constant repetition of the past that makes the idea of a future a mere illusion. Besoytaorube breaks down this quartet and translates it into strokes on the sailcloth. It then becomes a chaotic quote due to the closeness of the ocean, its power and fear.

Is it possible to envisage death? Can art name that aporia?

1,70 m is an acrylic on canvas of 5 m x 8 m (the title makes reference to the high tide registered on the day the artist finished the painting). Its layers of color and strokes loaded with visual matter provide the opportunity to name the tragedy and the difficulty of reflecting upon it. A dozen names of philosophers who were lost in an absurd way (Bacon, Barthes, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Camus) strengthen that paradox which, like a fotenote of the concentric circles that overwhelm the canvas, refutes certainty about fate.

The last work of the exhibition is a piece of fabric of an irregular shape 7 m high that was used as a mainsail cover. In this case, the artist works without some of the resources used in his other paintings, such as texts and numbers, and he focuses on geometric and minimalist gestures. The title is key for its interpretation: 4:48. It is a postumous tribute to Sarah Kane, a British writer who committed suicide when she was 27 years old after writing 4.48 Psychosis, a play that makes reference to the time of the day at which the highest number of voluntary deaths take place in the UK. Using the title of this “silent play” stripped of textuality as a starting point, Besoytaorube resorts to the futility that succeeds that message without recipient called suicide. Where words cease, images sink. With them, life collapses as well.


Andrés Duprat
Buenos Aires, septiembre de 2018