Jorge Macchi & Irina Kirchuk
Fleetinsel, Admiralitätstraße 71, 2nd Floor
UNA Stories is a cross-disciplinary and experimental cycle of events; it is an opportunity to share intuitions on the city of Hamburg through different media and perspectives. Sudden and transient, UNA Stories' format relies on the permanence of ideas by lasting only 24 hours. For Story 01 UNA invited Argentina artists Irina Kirchuk and Jorge Macchi to share their series of obsessions and reflect on the city of Hamburg.
Irina and Jorge's work stems from a recurring interest in the inconsequential and the unattended, a collection of objects and images that fill the world with their material obsolescence and a petty functionality. Objects so generous they accept their insignificance to keep the world in stable motion. The relationship of these objects with the living is based on their role as providers and facilitators, they help towards a purpose. They contain, sustain, signal, protect, support, inform, adorn, perform…, until they are discarded. They are part of the urban cycle of use and disuse; after a period of need, they become excess.
These objects are ubiquitous. Unquestioned presences that shape our most immediate landscape: the city and the domestic environments, from household appliances to simple tools, utensils or devices; parts of the systems of architecture, information, entertainment, urban infrastructure, or the home. Industrial, once promising, desirable, but also basic, classic items: for Irina and Jorge, they belong to the marvellous world of “things”. It is in this material realm where they find the possibility for the uncommon or the strange.
Irina and Jorge are always on the alert. They share the rare ability of wandering around town—around life—with a sort of autonomous third eye which finds these objects to be collected with loving care and recruited into their practices: these grant them afterlives of frozen, magical transubstantiation. While keeping their humble materiality, once adopted, their essence has become another.
Submitting to the fact they are detritus, accepted as left overs, as second-bests, these objects’ comeback as art has all the proud cheekiness gained by those who have nothing to loose or the marginal. In Irina’s works, this translates in dignified humour and absurdity, and in Jorge’s, into enigmatic and hypnotic seduction.
Irina and Jorge love camouflage. The objects they present us deceive us by keeping their original looks, by still passing as themselves. It is their neat, excess-free style that allows us to re-apprehend them and get new knowledge out of them, to share the fresh atmospheres they create in their liberating new existence.
Irina and Jorge are driven by order. Working from the city’s excess—of information, of consumption, of noise, of movement, of its own redundancy and repetition—they clean up and reconfigure their findings into new arrangements that border the monastic for their precision and stillness. If for Jorge these reconfigurations emphasise the objects’ austere looks, Irina usually grants them the previously denied joy of a cosmetic rescue.
Irina and Jorge are haunted by symmetry. The new order is found in this arrangement based on correspondence, doubling, mirroring, reciprocity. On dialogue. On the meeting of two parts, or two ends, that even if different, are perfectly linked. Furthermore, symmetry does not only re-signify the data chosen, but grants them power and security: the one that stems from the consciousness that they belong to a system larger than themselves. They are not solitary, lost and godforsaken bits and pieces but, on the contrary, clues into worlds ruled by systems previously unknown. Doors into mystery, fantasy or fun.
Irina and Jorge’s works are glimpses into the city’s psyche. They liberate repressed behaviours, longings, desires. They are theatres of second chances, of nightmarish apparitions, of fixed ideas. Opportunities to deal with unresolved issues, fears, frustrations. Platforms to play the otherworldly. These games emphasise the transitory value of signs, they destroy the idea of functionality as something fixed, of simplicity or mediocrity. Existence without ardor or boredom is only a disguise.
Irina Kirchuk and Jorge Macchi not only share a series of obsessions but their works prove their preoccupation: that all objects either carry a promise or a threat.
Text by Alejandra Aguado