Víctor Grippo
(Junín, Buenos Aires Prov., 1936 - Buenos Aires, 2002)
Spanish Grupo CAyC
Spanish Arte de Acción
A panorama of the 20th Century
Víctor Grippo
He was born in Junín, Buenos Aires Province, on May 10th 1936. In his native city, he learnt some aspects of the sculptor's art with an Italian blacksmith. He settled in La Plata where he studied chemistry in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry. He soon gave chemistry up in favour of design, studying at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in La Plata, where he attended the decisive courses on Vision given by Héctor Cartier.
He put on his first solo exhibitions in Junín in 1953 and, in 1958, in Tandil newspaper, Nueva Era.
In 1961, he took part in the Grupo SI, a group of young artists in La Plata that followed informalism. In 1966, he held his first solo exhibition in Buenos Aires at Galería Lirolay. That same year, he participated together with Kenneth Kemble, Emilio Renart and Enrique Barilari in Investigación sobre el proceso de la creación (Investigation into the process of creation) exhibition held at Galería Vignes. There, he exhibited Sistema (System) in which he incorporated the scientific paradigm on which many of his later creations were to be based.
Around 1970, he joined the Grupo de los Trece (Group of Thirteen), later the Cayc Group, organised by Jorge Glusberg and which also included Luis F. Benedit, Jacques Bedel, Alfredo Portillos, González Mir, Vicente Marotta and Leopoldo Maler among others. With them, he promoted the various aspects of conceptual art in Argentina. In 1977, the group won the Grand Prix at the XVI São Paulo International Biennial.
Between 1971 and 1977, Grippo produced a series of works called Analogías (Analogies), in which he emphasised the energy contained in natural products such as the potato, cereals and vegetables, as opposed to the cultural world constructed by man. His installations, objects and working methods, materialised with great refinement, lead to the reflection of universal and eternal subjects, such as life, death, Nature and the ability of man to transform himself through his work. The recognition of crafts in his work emphasises the conviction that the craftsman-artist proceeds as an alchemist who is able to transform material into a medium for ideas and poetic metaphors.
Valijita de panadero (Baker's little suitcase) (1977), in which the burned bread shows the devastating consequences of an unrestrained, furious application of energy, follows this same line. The text that accompanies the work, "Baker's little suitcase: Flour + Water + (excessive) Heat", merely ratifies the factor of imbalance: excess, as a symbol of the violence then rife in the country at the worst moment of the military dictatorship. The reference to these events is completed with the presence of the suitcase that alludes to exile.
Major solo exhibitions of his work were organised: Algunos oficios (Some Crafts), presented at Galería Multiple in 1976; V{ictor Grippo - Obras 1965-1987 (Víctor Grippo - Works 1965-1987) held in 1988 at Fundación San Telmo; La comida del artista (The artist's meal) at the Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana in 1991; Mesas de Trabajo y Reflexión (Tables of work and reflection) held in 1994 as part of the V Havana Biennial and, in the same year, Víctor Grippo-Energía-1971-1994 (Víctor Grippo - Energía - 1971 - 1994) held at the Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico City.
In 1995, the largest retrospective of his work was held at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham (Great Britai ) and at the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels (Belgium). In 2001, he held his last solo exhibition in Buenos Aires at Galería Ruth Benzacar, where he again took up his reflections about the realm of work and crafts.
Among his numerous participations in important international exhibitions, he was selected to participate in the XI Documenta in Kassel, Germany, held in 2002.
He died in Buenos Aires on February 20th 2002.