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Conceptual artist Federico Peralta-Ramos concocts a new religion encompassing twenty-three commandments. All of them are ancillary to the main one: “ser gánico” [to act according to how you feel]; in other words, “hacer siempre lo que uno tiene ganas” [to always do what one feels like doing]. The Mandamientos gánicos [Feel-like-it Commandments] refer to daily things, creation, and spirituality.
Federico Manuel Peralta-Ramos (1939–92) was a paradigmatic artist of the 1960s generation, chiefly in the nexus between art and life. From his production, what is outstanding involves the precariousness of matter in painting, the installation Nosotros afuera [We, the Outsiders] shown at Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, in 1965, and a broad idea of conceptual art that stems from writing. In 1968, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He used the scholarship funds for a lavish dinner at Hotel Alvear and the acquisition of some artworks; this provoked an internal bickering with the North American institution. Then he wrote the Mandamientos Gánicos [Feel-like-it Commandments]. Since 1969, Peralta-Ramos appears and carries out performances in TV shows. In 1970, he records what he names his non-figurative songs: “Soy un pedazo de atmósfera” [“I am a little piece of atmosphere”] and “Tengo algo adentro que se llama el coso” [I have something in my innermost called the thingumajig”].In 1972, Peralta-Ramos unveiled his art at the CAyC (Centro de Arte y Comunicación) [Art and Communication Center] in order to state his concept “the object is the subject”.
The commandments of Peralta Ramos’ “new religion” imply an aesthetic program of how to take life as an artwork, starting from one’s will and desire. An anti-dogmatic position of full-blasted freedom that evolves according to the 1960s vitality, spirituality, and non-violence stances, very well expressed in his contradictory “Commandments,” since all these are ancillary to feeling up to doing something, that is, to “wishes,” to the subject’s will understood as liberal bourgeois. It is an art-life program that can be linked to Situationists’ postulates.
This document lets us better understand his seminal concept according to which the “object is the subject,” and this concerns the mid-1960s idea of dematerialization of art.