Ulises Mazzucca: Spiritual Gymnastics

Ulises Mazzucca (Santa Fe, 1997) has, in recent years, built a universe in graphite, a black-and-white world populated by young people enjoying and suffering a context as pleasant as it is aggressive. With their narrative bent, his works comprise small texts, imaginary or biographical legends, charting what the artist calls ‘an emotional cartography’: the gathering and analysis of the affections and afflictions that go to make up our sentimental education.

Gimnasia espiritual [Spiritual Gymnastics], his first exhibition in a museum, brings together two series made in the past year. In one series, the dances and positions of the characters are reminiscent of instruction in ascetic or yogic practices. The bruised and banged-up skins of the characters and the appearance of ghostly figures recall religious art, revealing a desire for atonement, but above all, demonstrating how our sensible history resurfaces in the form of wounds.

In the other, the velodrome, swimming pool or running track are the settings for the transformation of paddle-tennis bats, boules or bicycles into weapons. The sports chosen – all competitive – create a ruthless, surreal atmosphere, an uncertain, unbalanced ambiance that is, in Mazzucca’s work, also a commentary on the experience of precariousness. His lines advance fluently, multiplying the stories as they go and supplementing the scenes with a plurality of details that bring the drawing closer to the ambition of the novel.

The drawings in this exhibition set out to plot the effects of physical movements on our feelings and, counter-wise, the impact of our thoughts and heartaches on the body. Mazzucca thus reflects in images the narrative of how to withstand grief, joy, excitement, loneliness, vulnerability or competition.

Curated by Lucrecia Palacios

Ulises Mazzucca (Santa Fe, 1997) studied Fine Arts at the National University of Rosario. He has been part of the Torcuato Di Tella University’s Artists Programme, in Buenos Aires in 2017, and the Works Follow-up Clinic taught by Claudia del Río and Carlos Herrera at Plataforma Lavarden, in Rosario in 2015. He is currently artist in residence at the Munar Centre, in La Boca, Buenos Aires. His solo exhibitions include: Lágrima impermeable [Waterproof Tear], Diego Obligado Gallery, Rosario, 2019; En su rodilla un polvo cobrizo [On his Knee a Coppery Powder], at the Isabel Croxatto Gallery, Santiago de Chile, 2019; and Hoy la gloria es tuya [Today the Glory is Yours], Rosario Art Week, 2017. Since 2019, he has given drawing workshops for adult women and teenagers in vulnerable neighbourhoods. He lives and works in Buenos Aires.