Puerto Dackar

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Artwork material

mixed media

Artwork dimensions

height: 34.5cm
width: 36.5cm
depth: 13cm

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Accession method

Donated by Alfredo Blas Castagna 1995

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Puerto Dackar is a small three dimensional assemblage; it is largely constructed from fragments of used, weathered wood that have been nailed together and to which Blas Castagna has added other found objects, including a shell and pieces of manufactured metal.

This work is meant to be viewed from all sides, although the front and back contrast with one another in their exploration of geometric forms. The geometric patterns of the front: triangles, circles and rectangles, are inherent to the three-dimensional objects of which this side is composed. The forms on the back of the work, however, are man-made, painted by the artist on to the flat, wooden surface. The front is organic and speaks of the rhythms of nature, while the back, with its archaic symbols, suggests a deeper time frame and humankind's attempts to order and understand the world.

Historical memory, time, travel and the sea are constant themes in Blas Castagna's work. Puerto Dackar marks an important moment in Blas Castagna's career when, in 1959, he travelled to Europe for the first time, by boat. On his way to Sicily, where his family originated, the boat stopped over at Dakar, the coastal capital of Senegal in West Africa. Blas Castagna's brief exploration of Dakar's port area made a deep impression and inspired this work in which he draws on his South American constructivist roots to create an almost classical, architectural composition.

Joanne Harwood

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