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Grotesque gaucho is not the same as gaucho grotesque. Grotesque gaucho is quite an art . And no one bigger than Florencio de los Angeles Molina Campos when it comes to reflecting it.
I have a little but special link to Molina Campos. My great-grandfather, the first tane arrived in these lands bringing my surname, worked in the printing press that printed the Espadrilles calendars. Tens of thousands were made. They were famous back in the early 20th century. They were invariably illustrated by works by Molina Campos. Works that gave the people access to art for decades. And they approached, for the first time, the people of the city and the countryside .
She was self-taught. Son of a family of landowners and military. And in the fields of his family he found art. He exhibited at the Rural Society and when President De Alvear saw his drawings, he appointed him to the head of the Nicolas Avellaneda National College class.
Perhaps it is from his affinity with people, that he expressed gauchesca life like no one. And I say he expressed for the expressive, precisely, of his works. From the colourful, to the figures. Normally in brutal, blood actions, of the use of force. Both on horses and gauchos. He was undoubtedly a very cunning and sharp observer of reality. Men and horses that are in the likeness of each other. Eyes, noses, feet and big dentures. Tanned hands. Everything like escaping the bodies.
But it wasn't stereotyped gauchos that he painted. It wasn't a gauchesque mockery, the village. Not to the brutality of the jacket. They were realistic scenes, in Grotesque style. He portrayed life itself. The tasks and customs of the country people. People. Always people. Working, having fun. The very essence of country life, dotted, many times, with the humor that the cartoon adds. His work breathed life through the pores. Joy. Party. Until carnival. Faces that, more than faces, are masks.
From nothing, he was one of the greats of Argentine art. So big, he advised Walt Disney himself on several of his films.
Florencio Molina Campos went to painting what Martín Fierro to literature.
Publication Date: 16/11/2019
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