Jorge Eieslon

QUIPUS 24 B2, 1966

the talking knot: quipus

Jorge Eieslon
April 13, 1924 – March 8, 2006

the talking knots...

"A quipu usually consisted of colored spun and plied thread or strings from llama hair. It could also be made of cotton cords. The cords contained numeric and other values encoded by knots in a base ten positional system. Quipus might have just a few or up to 2,000 cords."

assemblage on canvas

"For Eielson the power of the knot, with its expressive codes, is securely had in the complex significances which they imply. The knot, is for him, a graphic sign, fundamentally esthetic-a nucleus of color. Moreover, the knot is the welding point between pre-Columbian culture and his present history, both personal and artistic. Other Latin American artists looked in the codes of the Maya and Aztec civilizations or in other forms of pre-Hispanic art, for a sign that could come to modify their contemporary language while also suggesting the profundity of their historical roots. But only Eielson knew how to find the artistic and anthropologic sediment in quipus and how to transform the ancient Queschua sign into the esthetic and semantic nucleus of its distant modern day language."

QUIPUS 43 AR, 1980

"Eielson is able to articulate the energy and beauty enclosed in knot-used also to vocalize language of his pre-Columbian ancestors- and in 1963 Eielson begins the first of the quipus series, using fabrics of various brilliant colors, knotted and tied on canvas. He arrives, in this way, at a true cultural synthesis, plastic, magical and symbolic while, at the same time, expressing the language of the ancient American ancestors. He is intent on a more visual aspect, operating in strict harmony with one of the fundamental elements of occidental art: the European canvas. The duality of cloth and canvas is recomposed by the artist and it becomes a new esthetic object that coincides with the spatial concept of Fontana. Thus, the duality of cloth-canvas is rendered as the protagonist of the work. The knot, however, matches to every type of civilization and parts from simple utilitarian function to a more sophisticated mythical conception, both magical and sacred. Eielson is conscious of this, and does not pretend to re-elaborate any language, but to highlight a plastic entity and a colorful preview of an almost unexplored archetypical subject."

acrylic paint and canvas on wooden frame
cm. 150(diam.)x13,5

"In the late 1950s, he abandoned avant-garde and resorts to using materials such as earth, sand and clay to sculpt in the canvas surface; at first he uses this technique to depict landscapes but gradually moves towards human figures represented through clothing of various kinds. In 1963 he started his first quipu, reinventing this ancient Andean device with fabrics of brilliant colors, knotted and tied on canvas. Eielson's quipus were exhibited in the 1964 Venice Biennale to wide acclaim. In the mid 1970s, he traveled to Peru where he devoted himself to the study of pre-Columbian art; during this period, the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture) published most of his poetry under the title Poesía escrita.

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