Nicolás Said (b. 1995 Buenos Aires, Argentina) currently lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduating in 2016 with a degree in Psychology from the University of Buenos Aires, he enrolled in the Visual Arts course at the National University of Arts. In 2019, he was selected to participate in the ArtistasxArtista artist training programme, ran by Fundación el Mirador. In the same year, he won first prize in the drawing category of the National Small Format Salon, Casa Camacini. Recent group exhibitions include Llaverguoqui (Galería Constitución, 2021), Tegumento (Fundación El Mirador, 2021), Pacífica Mordida (2020, PM Galería), Rocío Englender & Nicolás Said (2020, La Verdi), Peluscencias (2020, Munar), Lo hago por necesidad (2018, CC Matienzo).
RESIDENCY: 4 - 24 JULY 2022
EXHIBITION: 20 AUGUST - 4 SEPTEMBER 2022
Castello San Basilio is delighted to present Stations of the Ingenuous (Estaciones del ingenuo), Nicolás Said’s first solo exhibition in Italy. During his residency at Castello San Basilio, Nicolás Said worked on seven new works on paper exploring the themes of religious and esoteric art, which he melded with autobiographical elements from his personal life. Having studied psychology at the University of Buenos Aires, Said has always been interested in analysing the unconscious world of dreams, another element that is extensively explored in his intricate drawings.
On view in Castello San Basilio’s chapel, the seven works on paper are inspired by the rich history of the castle, in particular by the Basilian monks who inhabited the property during the 7th century. Revisiting the chapel’s paintings of the Via Crucis, also known as Stations of the Cross, Nicolás Said’s works unfold like a palimpsest of personal grief blended with fictional forms and mythical creatures inhabiting unimaginable landscapes. Typically presented in either seven or fourteen images, the Via Crucis paintings served to depict Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion. Referencing history, dreams and the artist’s personal traumas, Said’s imagery unveils a contemporary reinterpretation of the ancient body of work, presenting the altered realities of the artist’s subconscious into which one can venture, and become lost. The subtly unsettling and violent compositions of the interiors are formed by both religious iconography like the altarpiece, juxtaposed to everyday contemporary objects like mirrors and baseball bats. These objects are ever-present in Nicolás Said’s compositions, creating a tension between past and present and fantasy and reality, extending their narrative beyond the physical world, merging myth and grotesquery.
The main character in the drawings, which in the original Via Crucis series is Jesus Christ, is depicted as a half-baby, half-goat creature, born out of a bestial heart. This figure represents vulnerability and naivety, but can also be viewed as the artist’s self-portrait. A cross is depicted in each work on paper. This symbol carries with it the infant’s passions and hardships. Each station, in fact, narrates a different stage of the protagonist’s life: from the moment of his birth to the moment of his death, encountering beauty and cruelty every step of the way.