Roberto Scafidi

Buenos Aires, Argentina

My path into geometric abstraction was not an a priori decision. It did not start with an ideological or conceptual inquiry; it began in a more intuitive way. The work led me by the hand in a dance where a dialogue between me and what was appearing on the canvas or wood simply happened. Slowly but surely, my work changed.

Up to about 1993, my work was quite different—representational, but not realistic. Then I returned to Argentina from Paris where I had a scholarship to study at the Cité Internationale des Arts. I found my father had a terminal disease, and the previous humor of my work became more bitter. Then, without much thinking about it, I became engaged in a search for silence and order and a movement away from mimesis. I needed introspection, silence, and light. I sought a more spiritual path, and this need, more than any formalist concerns, was responsible for the change in my work. I felt that a search for order helped me to slow things down, to find silence among all the noise. In a way I worked more like a hermit—by choice, yes, but also because of material and spiritual poverty.

I work without prior sketching by improvising directly on the canvas—carving spaces, searching for the light and color that each painting suggests to me until an image begins to appear. This image suggests a direction, a content, in an embryonic way the possibility of a name for the work and a road for its development. I’m not much interested in optical effects—Op Art does not touch me very deeply with all its abstract trompe l’oeil, even though I respect its serious artists very much. I am more fond of poetry than science. Light, color, rhythm, counterpoint, and silent, intimate music are what I long to bring with my works. Maybe some day I’ll be lucky enough to succeed.

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