Views of the city. Alberto Collazo. 1991

The fantasy that generates the urban world has in the images of Liliana Trotta its point of realization. Buenos Aires is the city of encounters, is a cosmopolitan port that multiplies strong and precise individualities. To the presence of archetypes like the river or Gardel’s image, childhood memories are added, making each box the combination of all these elements, which fuses with a poetic climate.

Liliana Trotta has, in several years of work, participated in many group shows and has received several awards, but it can be said that this is her first solo exhibition in a gallery. In her previous exhibition in a non-traditional space as Don Corleone, the drawing had a strong presence, and in these works we can now observe she defines herself as a colourist. In about a dozen works done in acrylic, treatment of the subject is almost diluted, in some cases superimposed layers attain transparencies that make ethereal images, and images that are similar to comics. It is through the colour management that she reaches climates that go beyond the anecdote.

The painting “Adam y Eve in the Rio de la Plata I”, introduces us in a fantasy world, in which, unlike the biblical myth, evil’s representation is personified in the tiger and not the snake. In the heavenly world, good and evil subsist, as we can see in “Survivors”, work that introduces a different treatment of space, and the vastness of the sky is imposed upon the earth.

In “Llegando a buen puerto”, my grandmother also, the family history is mixed with fantasy, Gardel’s and the lovers’ images combine different times in a common space. The everyday world poetically transforms the achievement of this young porteña1 artist. Reality and fantasy are instruments that make her paintings.

Healer and critique of art. Ana M. Battistozzi (2003)

A couple of decades ago, many artist and theorists of art asked themselves if it was possible figuration after abstraction. Others went beyond: They question if it was possible the painting.

The experience of the last years has demonstrated that not only is possible both things, but also they can transform into formidable tools of combat against all pretention of a static totalitarianism, based on the formal perfection, absolute value of gesture or the concept.

Liliana Trotta has chosen these tools to travel a world articulated by the demolition of the great models, and she works to build her own model with the seduction of colour, pictorial matter and formal discrepancies. These elements gave her a free ride to her fantasies, wondering through her own personal history, and discover symbols that are articulated and opposed against each other.

In her work, Trotta begins to invade her canvas with reds made of magenta and cadmium that exposes themselves in her meticulous elaboration of transparencies and superimposed layers. They are reds that seem to exit the frieze of the Veti house of Pompey, or more precisely the Italian operatic scene with all her vitals flows. They are reds with history; like the one of Liliana Trotta, who discovers her personal intimacy in an arbitrary figuration that places Gardel with Columbus, and a typical orchestra with Guns ‘n Rosses. The territory chosen can be a plaza, a traditional sphere of the popular and/or a banquet where the ritual of communication, that sometimes are preside by family bounds, takes place.

There norms of tradition that the young bride transgresses with her sensuality and overflowing eroticism, served as a strong dish of the family table, are created. In the same zone, the fantasies of evasion slide into exotic horizons that lean into the figure of sailors and the tiger, in an atmosphere of harmony and tensions, just as her treatment of colour.

All these personal symbols end the consummation of another great transgression: the norms of cultured painting corroded by the vivid chromatics of the pallet, of popular foundation that acknowledge the beauty of proportions and force the limits of great taste.

None of this is a tantrum, is the path that Liliana Trotta has chosen to erode the imposed norms: these are anchored in the paint or in her individual world.

Americanism and identity

Expressionist naïveté by Aldo Galli “La Nación” 2003

Liliana Trotta’s figuration has naive features. That is why the figuration is direct and immediate. However, it does not exhaust in the references that characterize the naïve painting, nor is conventional, though a great part of modern art is moving away from the academy and the prejudices.

The images reflect the overflows of the fantasy in a sentimental and intimate way that includes a doses of mischief. If we may say this, her style comes from giving a living reality to the illustrative meaning of the image. If a reality belongs to a fiction, it does not matter a reduction of its credibility: her eminence is looming. Trotta knows how to build a bridge that goes from the inside to the outside and overflies the anecdote in order to settle in the poetry region that is linked with the intelligence.

Objectively, 2003 by: Laura Batkis

Demostration of Objects, Liliana Trotta

She builds her objects with gauze, painted fabrics, and the whole acquis of the school craft. A craft that satirizes national myths (Gardel, Eva Perón) around which popular imaginary was, questioning the emblems that designed our culture, such as «High in the sky», «The Great Argentine Bride» (Laura Batkis member of the Argentine Association of Art Critics).

Gallery Attica July 7, 2003.

The four artists in this exhibition have in common not only their object production, but mainly freedom as the sole principle to produce their works. They are not subject to mandates of international fashions and neither are they pending to belong to the art world that is promoted in the newspapers and art fairs. They work slightly outside the official History of Argentine art. This allows them to get together to talk about art dreams and hopes. Organizing a show is for them a critical reflection space that allows them to exchange views, debate, discuss and have fun. This happy feeling without speculation of the market gave me, I must confess, a great joy. Thus, I think this show means more than an exhibition, is an encounter. A way to reveal that there are other modes of symbolic production where celebration and friendship are possible strategies to continuing living.

The icon and its officiant. Arq. María Isabel Larrañaga.

Eduardo Sivori Museum Director. August 2005

It is known the meaning variations that dolls suffer when they are taken from the world of children and the contextualized in the adult world. Those are modified immediately.

From being detonators of maternal instincts, of protection and care of children, they become, for the elders, disturbing objects. The filmography of mystery has taken an extensive advantage of that quality.

These small images idealized, after our likeness, produce in us deep and misleading feelings. Perhaps nostalgia for what happened, for the happy times we lost, or resentment at the memory of early disappointments, injustice and loneliness. Or maybe it ignites in us that love partly frustrated that we surely experience against this facsimile our own identity, but was not able to mourn with us or return our affection.

The Evita dolls of Liliana Trotta inspire in me similar feelings. And these are even more complex, because Evita reminds us of Evita, and Evita is a myth.

And I return to those feelings of nostalgia for the golden age that much of the Argentine people lived beside her, and for the lost happiness she scattered around in handfuls.

And again I feel resentment against this unfair fate that snatched her from us in her youth, and in my case, when I needed her the most, the moment to get out into the world, the moment of commitment.

And I relive the loneliness, helplessness that many felt when she left, when she was insulted, attacked, and when they wanted to submit her to a second death, the suppression of memory.

However, we can now think freely that Evita was a heroine.

Modestly comforted with the thought that, as all beautiful, brave, fair, heroes, life tends to remove them from the scene early, probably to balance their gifts with a generally mediocre humanity.

Now -for Tirios and Trojans Evita is unquestionably a myth; and as such, as it happens in all societies, the image of the myth has something sacred.

Liliana is here the officiant, the caretaker of the icon.

She dresses again and again with the best clothes that are born from her hands. Those hands that Liliana considers her principal mean of giving affection, of expressing their creativity.

The mythical Evita returns to us, from her doll box that feeling of deep gratitude mixed with frustration at her early departure and her survival. Injustice against her, who she fought until the last second of her life.

Explosive cocktail that she attracted during her short existence, and that we feel as we commemorate her.

It remains only to thank Liliana, that we allow it, through her art, relive the emotions that this paradigmatic woman always wake up in us.

Nanu Zalazar. Art Criticism. October 2006.

Liliana Trotta presents «Evita, the myth continues”, where she takes the figure of Eva Peron and locates her in small boxes or wooden altars. The set shows dolls or saints dressed with luxury, well combed and wearing jewellery, as her “shitless” liked to see Eva.

For Evita, Trotta designed a collection of clothes material taken from the cuts throw away by the garment district of “Once”. From trash to luxury thanks to the art of Trotta, who as a social anthropologist checks between what is thrown away to give the myth a proper attire.

In her painting she develops the theme that she has been working for some time: the popular myths; and that is why Carlos Gardel is located next to Eva Peron, who from the paintings distribute holy pictures from another popular icon such as San Cayetano.

Respectfully Trotta offers a playful vision of people who became myths, and a number of myths which, together, have helped build our identity.

Party and Celebration. By Soledad Obeid – March-April 2009

On the road of life, from childhood to adulthood, the journey made by a man (and woman), almost like in hopscotch, from Earth to Heaven or Hell, where each station is an enigma, an intrigue, an unknown. Liliana Trotta’s work represents the passing of an identified existence with the archetypes that shape their iconography. The loss and recovery of identity, linked to local endangered animals represented in the jaguar, the yaguareté, the yacaré and the heron linked to native peoples. The Game, as a representation of life, common to all cultures, reminiscent of childhood, of primitive times: Hopscotch, Roulette, the spin, the horse toy, Dolls. The Symbols which are signs of identity: the local animals, yacaré, jaguar. Iconic characters of history, arts, music, showbiz: Evita, Gardel, Lola Mora, La Pacha Mama. The celebration: marriage, the union of two people, family reunions, festivals, carnivals, festivities as the bond between life and art. Trotta Liliana in her paintings works with materials such as acrylic and oils using a free and flat stroke, with little material, which slides along the whole canvas. Close to the primitive painting, the stroke and colour are the protagonists, the figures, generally flat, are arranged on circular bases as tables, decks, wheels, that exalt, giving them a hierarchy above other elements that accompany them, like animals or objects. The purple backgrounds shelter the characters that are celebrating life, happy and expectant. The lack of linear perspective places them in a space between the real and the imaginary, thus forming a symbolic world, outside a measurable time. The artist also uses, aside from paint, other items that she incorporates to the works such as objects that are redefined, and bring other concepts to work. It is the case of rewritten and burned letters of the box of Lola Mora; or the cards painted over ribbons that move in paintings of weddings or small toys incorporated to the canvas. The use of collage incorporating tarlatan (open fibre fabric used to extend the ink engraved plates) for the confection of the dress and the girl’s headdress with daisy attire that evokes the childhood of the artist in a carnival disguised as a flower. In the boxes she uses two methodologies. One, the manufacture of dressed dolls that she installs in the cavities of the boxes, making them manually, and that are accompanied by alluding small objects, especially made by the artist, as holy cards or cards, or the objet trouvé way, objects found that redefine without modifying its appearance. These box have a religious icons or niches format that hold sculptures of dressed figures of saints, here are not religious figures but myths or popular figures, evoking the popular and craft art. In the second case, boxes are on flat surfaces, creating painted images that have incorporated sequins and incrustation of plastic stones of different formats, producing a gleam and highlights the way of the religious icons but with their own local pagan iconography. In these collages, she also uses tarlatan following the same image of the girl disguised as a daisy. These references of popular art where the meticulous work, with different elements and different formats of objects, are intertwined beliefs with myths of their own iconography but at the same time with Latin American mentality, where the identity is formed through the present, past and future. The celebration is the way Liliana Trotta has found to display all the senses of the party that in her case is «the art, the celebration of human life».

Signs, signs and symbols. Liliana Trotta and dither felt by Miguel Ángel Rodríguez

The universe of forms expressed by Liliana Trotta touches you. Compositions of diaphanous sounds, vibrating colours and silent spaces create environments that allow the creation of the myths and cultural practices. These spaces, verifiable in paintings, printed dungarees, objects, drawings and installations, entangle icons embedded in the popular memory. The resultant induces empathy with the work, transporting the sensibility to higher levels of aesthetic understanding. The ethos “rioplatense” is shown amplified, brash, and free of veils and prohibitions. Latin American culture expresses its live and wild multiplicity.

Without forcing situations and moving away ambiguities, the present set of works is solid and free from cracks: autonomous. Collages, “objets trouvés” and techniques that use plates and oils indicate the research of diverse materials, connecting the artistic and recreational experiences.

With ductility and work, intuition is settling, structuring open planes that were closed before, scenarios given to freedom and flight.

Backs, cats, mirrors, snakes and lizards instituted worlds where signals, signs and symbols intertwine a variety of paths that are unified in well composed proposals.

The speeches are clear and there are no doubts. The metaphors express their say. The senses show constant explorations, demonstrating awareness and clarity of directions. The irony, sour and blunt, sharpens the eye, dissolving conventions and pacts.

Liliana Trotta unfolds her image once again. We check out life, we become sense and the aesthetic retakes the ethic road.

Harmony of symbol.


Margarita: From Manhattan to Almagro by Osvaldo Mastromauro, 2011

The seemingly primitive and direct image of Liliana Trotta Margarita embodies in Margarita, a pretend that mix her curiosity of creatures that surround her in her neighbourhood, with her ideal enthroned in Betty Boop. In this combined heroin visions of the Buenos Aires waterfront (she was born and raised in Olivos) are intertwined with fantasies of stardom. Her extreme naïveté is reflected in her friends, who reappear again in again in comic formats, and what could be here a small tragedy, Liliana transforms it into a kind of “criolla” farce of puberty. Composed objects, drawings, boxes, prints (both printed dungarees and dry point), her work is displayed in various formats and techniques that the book demands, and that she deploys with singular skill in the attached sample.

A territory full colours, the appropriation of materials found, frames and exotic backgrounds hovering behind its figurines, being revealed its intention/invention: by questioning implicitly the pseudo emblems that shaped our visual education. Trotta reinvents herself from a place – not comfortable precisely- of genuine dealing with the popular imagination, and reinsertion into the visual calends that make up the narrow ideology of some recognized sites, which often uncertainty becomes certainty.

This transculturation is nothing more but a model that the ruling classes wanted to impose on the lower income classes, and academic estates validated and transmitted as the desirable image, named the “esprit de finesse”, while the popular and its image were relegated to the plane of the coarse and crude. Nor one thing nor the other, in all honesty: the artist can spare the false dilemma, and go straight to the point, as its committed job requires. It’s what Liliana achieved as a settled officiant that hides this official story, while her characters wander telling us its truth. Here was art: a translation of the established to the new, a transgression of the approved substance, promoter of new visions and emotions that the artist does not seek to provoke, but achieve.

With unusual freshness, direct treatment, affection translated from the celluloid to real life, and reverse traffic, the artist from Almagro, her new home for years, transposes this imaginary arc through the game and the redefinition of the image, flat mediator perspective, with skewed irony, which adds to its undoubted intrinsic values the critical and condescending tenderness.

The woman who knew how to be a girl by Armando Sapia June 2013

She is a woman. A woman who becomes every time tinier to her own gaze lost in the amplitude of the beach. A woman that against the light rain that runs over her own body stands as a mechanical ritual newly learned, a handful of dry sand that then without resistance she let it slip from her hand.

A little girl with dark hair in which she has now become is not amused by the intuition that maybe those grains of sand which she feels slide with vertigo devoid of sand and distance could be each of your own hours.

She listens that far away, from where the beach vanishes, as in a litany are repeating her name. She does not answer, because now lying on her back she rediscovers in the clouds of that sky that begins to open, the images that her own hands drew: she sees that poor stray tiger with the raised tail that always amused her (and scared her a little); she sees a tattooed waist of a woman whose face is looming on the mirror that her hand holds; she sees that eternal gesture of the Cheshire Cat of the greatest popular singer; she contemplates that small body without peace, embalmed and robbed that she sought a thousand ways to drees in order to never suffer the cold. She recognizes herself in the choice of unprejudiced colours which covered those drawings and for then … Then what? “Pido gancho, el que me toca es un…”2 It’s a what?

Confused and embarrassed, she thinks it’s not polite to try to interrupt with questions the authoritarian monologue from the sea. She understands that in that new world without answers must hurry but does not understand why. That she should arrive before it gets too late but does not remember where. Perhaps the solution is found in the little steamer that she saw Carlos draw many times and always willing to go on an adventure. Will be the last to cross the gangplank, stripped of the body and without baggage. You will not need tickets nor documents.

She finally feels the vibration of her muscles that the boat set sail, starting to move and from its mouth a sigh of relief escapes against the discovery of the only certainty inside of the possibility.

In the dock, stunned and useless eyes chasing the black evanescence of the smoke in the horizon, remaining the other (now without its other) tightening elusive bodies.

«Myths and the game» Works Liliana Trotta. Soledad Obeid 2014

Through images that leave marks in history, symbols pointing thoughts, signs of aging that make the work of Liliana Trotta a sample of colour and shape of Argentine myths.

The stories that with time and imagination become myths, giving them more value and amplifying their reality. The oral tradition that through narratives exalt the actions of the characters, which symbolically show aspects of the human condition.

One of these aspects is the game, which in Liliana Trotta is represented in all the visual elements of her work. «The game appears as the self-movement does not tend to an end or goal, but to a movement as a movement … the self-representation of the living being.» Margarita is her alter ego, the girl who passes through life, playing and looking for the meaning of things, with her real and imaginary companions.

Liliana Trotta works the iconographies well known to everyone as Evita and Gardel, incorporating elements by placing them on an everyday place, taking them out of the event of bronze and of magnificent figures. Their shapes become more human and proximate, beyond being represented with all its attributes, but the way of treating them des-structurally, even fondly, closest to us without the hoary patina of a past time. The game is the component for this to happen, the incorporation of its own community, “speaking not only with its own language but with the one established its community in the most intimate part of itself».

The shapes and colours transform the myths in delights and celebration, the festivity is community … «is the representation of the community in itself in its fullest form. The festivity is always a festivity for all», and Liliana Trotta makes us a participant in it, the celebration marks the transcendent moments of her life and of the community.

Liliana Trotta’s work presents the simultaneity of past and present, an overcoming of time, through her Evitas, Gardeles and Margaritas, in objects, paintings and engravings portraying the popular imagery.

Soledad Obeid.September 2014

The law of the heart. Raul Santana. March 2015

Liliana Trotta did not find an appeal for her figures solemn or prestigious subjects: those visions governed by neatly meticulousness and luxury, which always emerge from the thoughtful and unfortunate notion of «good taste». Inhabited by a strong Latin American baroque feeling, which also has significant communicative vessels with popular art, the artist, appealing to a «primitive» aesthetics – where reality goes beyond what is represented, confronts us with a constant invitation to the game, in which presences, memories, animals, plants, mirrors and ghosts, governed by the law of the heart are overlapped. In this regard, the images of Trotta, leads me to recall that statement of Jean Dubuffet – the art-brut’s father- when he said: «a picture is not built like a house based on the coordinates of the architects but with their backs to the result, groping out backwards! Words that could be conjugated by the order of Ernesto Deira – at the beginning of the neo-figurative adventure- when he claimed for artistic making the «innocence and virginity». Having in view the work of Trotta allows us to appreciate those words that resonate as a constant in each of her images.

Nonetheless, the formal transformations that over nearly three decades manifest the work of the artist displaying paintings, drawings, prints, objects and installations – made with the most heterogeneous materials- their visions are consistently directed to the same point: direct her gaze to everything that surrounds her, with the certainty that that everyday reality, non-exotic, glorious nor emphatic, are found the enigmas and clues, that will extract raw material and summon the visual transfiguration that re-discover their unpredictable ways. Putting into work vigil, inspiration and dreams, Trotta proposes an imaginary where, if at times seems as a clear celebration of Argentine myths of Evita and Gardel, in others she echoes those ambiguous climates in which the figure is revealed to be offset in those atmospheres where it seems to question about its existence. Such is the case of the innocent Margarita, recurring character – who is perhaps a double of the artist – in her magnificent sequences.

Steeped in with festivities and secret commemorations, the saga of Liliana Trotta, sets an unmistakable territory that immersed in an aura of timelessness whom you decide to walk in it. Meanwhile we must thank the enjoyment and the privilege of being able to help with the emergence of this work, the display of an exceptional subjectivity, which in these moments of clearing, it proposes us a dazzling dialogue with our historical heritage and our symbolic heritage.

1 Porteña is a Spanish Word that means from Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. It does not have an English translation.
2 Argentine expression usually used by children that means that if anyone touches me then that person would become what I say.