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    Javier Téllez y su juego de la ironía / Zuleiva Vivas
    El Nacional (Caracas, Venezuela). -- Nov. 30
    Newspaper article – Reviews
    Vivas, Zuleiva."Javier Téllez y su juego de la ironía." El Nacional (Caracas, Venezuela), November 30

In this article on the installation of La Nave de los locos [Ship of Lunatics] (Caracas: Sala Mendoza, 1997) by Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez, curator Zuleiva Vivas bases her analysis of the “game” concept in his work using the ideas of Aristotle, Kant, and Froebel. Vivas comments on some of the works he made before this show (like La extracción de la piedra de la locura (Extraction of the Stone of Madness), in which this ludic aesthetic is also present, in addition to [a sense of] irony, and a critique of specific societal problems. The author individually analyzes each of the pieces, which organized in different sections make up the exhibition La nave de los locos.


In the Middle Ages, the insane would be placed on ships and set adrift [Narrenschiff]. In the show La nave de los locos, Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez treats the subject matter of mental illness as both a social problem and a creative element (it is present in the title and is also one of the fundamental leit motifs in his work); this article by Zuleiva Vivas is of interest because it analyzes the “game” concept [Spiel] that is important in his work. For Téllez, games in art should be approached with the same seriousness as children internalize them; an idea he has reiterated in various interviews. Vivas highlights the ludic and ironical charge in Téllez’s work, distinguishing between thought games and aesthetic games, in relation to their conceptual and artistic content.


Another valuable aspect of this article comes from its observations on possible meanings (symbolic and/or ludic) of both the individual works (video-sculptures) in the show and the dialogue among its elements or objects. Standouts among these are the association between a rooster and opera singer María Callas; the toothless self portrait of the artist and a hyena; of an auction and the goose that laid the golden egg, etcetera. This is a press article, intended for outreach, but critical, while serving as an orientation for the exhibition visiting public.


[For other texts on the work of the artist, see the ICAA digital archive: “Del mausoleo al juego en cuatro imágenes” [From the Mausoleum to the Game in Four Images] by Rubén Gallo (doc. no. 1155086); “La extracción de la piedra de la locura: Una instalación de Javier Téllez” [The Extraction of the Stone of Madness: An installation by Javier Téllez] by Carmen Hernández (doc. no. 1154986); and “Javier Téllez” by Katherine Chacón (doc. no. 1155070). In addition to the interviews, see “Trobar clus: De cómo despistar al expectador” [Trobar clus: how to deceive the viewer] by Ruth Auerbach (doc. no. 1154795) as well as “Mi arte es un virus que vive en las grietas” [My art is a virus that lives in the cracks] by Manuel Lebon (doc. no. 1154938). See this text by Javier Téllez himself, titled “Del arte con los objetos” [On Art With Objects] (doc. no. 1155054)].

Maria Elena Huizi
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Reproduced with the permission of Zuleiva Vivas, Caracas, Venezuela