Buenos Aires

Daniel Joglar

Dabbah Torrejon

In 1912, Alfred Wegener, the father of the theory of continental drift, presented extensive evidence showing that some two hundred million years ago the world’s continents were all joined into a single supercontinent, which he called Pangaea. As the seafloor spread, Pangaea broke up and the continents began to drift apart, eventually assuming their present positions. Four years ago, Daniel Joglar used the name Pangaea as the title of a work consisting of dozens of colored cardboard layers hung on the walls slightly askew, evoking tectonic plates in constant movement but also expressing the basis of his work in general: subtle displacement.

Joglar works with ordinary office supplies—paper clips, rulers, protractors, pencils, erasers, colored paper, note cards, envelopes—that seem in his hands to magically turn into something else, something radically different. This effect has little to do with aggressively modifying the materials or even with recontextualizing them. What actually happens is almost imperceptible: Arranged on different tables, as motionless as stones on the sand of a Japanese garden, these everyday objects, things we’ve seen a million times, suddenly acquire the majesty of old mountains. Displayed in isolation, positioned with great precision, they become landscapes one would not dare rearrange, perfectly untouched by daily life. The trick is beguiling; it has to do with order but also with chance. “I do not intend to control what happens on the tables; there is an element of fortuitousness that is essential,” Joglar explains.

Joglar’s work is extremely quiet. The objects lie on the tables in repose, as if the artist had put a full stop to the flux of everyday life. His latest show, “Sonidos Distantes” (Distant Sounds), seemed to incorporate sound, or at least the idea of silence as a sound. Somehow the objects in the ensemble recall music, but except for a beautiful guitar on the wall, they evoke it vaguely, without ever strictly referring to it. “Faraway sounds have always intrigued me, much more than the ones nearby,” the artist explains. For it is the distancing, the slight displacement in time or space, that gives Joglar’s artwork that intensification that in a musical tone is known as resonance.

Joglar seems to look at commonplace things as if he were looking at a remote landscape, his eyes half-closed but in constant awe of the textures, colors, and forms that surround him. But in this new exhibition his gaze has zoomed in on precise geographical accidents on that landscape: a couple of brushes, their tips lightly dipped in blue paint; some swirling drawings in ink found in a book; a wineglass turned upside down over two black cardboard circles. It’s a bit like the famous story “A Row of Trees,” by the Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata: A man asks his wife if she has noticed that half the ginkgo trees on the road are bare; how can it be, he ponders, that they had never noticed that before, even though they’d always looked in that direction? Such is the predominant feeling here, as in Joglar’s previous shows: These objects were right in front of our eyes, but we paid no attention. And even now, when looking at them, we cannot wholly recognize them.

María Gainza