The table is set

Zebra Exhibition, Astor Space. Mar del Plata 1991

The complex relationships between nature and culture are resolved, among other places, at the table.

“From nature to your table,” an advertiser might say, and in between are the arrangement of plates and cutlery, and the design of the tablecloths. A scene viewed from above of a table yet to be served. In that small territory, there is a whole social ritual that points to belongings, origins, and habits.

For the food to reach the plate, it has to go through the process of culture, through the kitchen. And through the kitchen of painting, precisely, Daniel Besoytaorube (1959) reflects on these relationships and surprisingly introduces sections of a zebra.

No gaze can escape imagining that the zebra is a painted, almost designed, animal. In this sense, the painter takes – and reproduces on a video tape – fragments from Peter Greeneway’s film ZOO, in which he repeatedly returns to the painting (Vermeer), symmetry – the entire film is constructed with symmetrical frames – black and white as a utopia of plastic purity, and the zebra as an obsessive image (“an extravagant hybrid like a centaur,” “a black animal with white stripes or white with black stripes?”), among other obsessions, such as the mutilation and violence that death and the process of decomposition exert on lifeless bodies.

Based on the correlation between the artist’s aesthetic play and the “natural” painting presented by the zebra, D.B. disrupts the everydayness of his images with the mutilation of this rare animal. This work – in a delicate and surprising manner – incorporates into the daily ritual of lunches and dinners an element that is usually hidden from the table: the prior violence that humans exert on nature. And this appears alongside the staging of the first constitutive and specific problem of art, which is the arrangement of objects on the plane.

Fabián Lebenglik