by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Andres is a painter, and artist of considerable reputation within the scope of contemporary masters in Argentina. Any excuse should be fairly acceptable when heading in that direction. Buenos Aires is a magnet for spirits transcending curiosity. Forget Tango, Buenos Aires is much more. For example: Andrés Waissman.
Portrait of Andres Waissman by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Once in tango-town, I unleashed my pretentions and headed for Waissman’s atelier in Palermo, formerly suburban quartier of the capital city much beloved, and often evoked, by Jorge Luis Borges in prose and verse. Mostly cobblestone streets shaded by overgrown platan trees make up the grid. For a brief moment I felt just as I recall walking the streets of Boulogne or Toulouse. It’s an obvious remark. Anyone would agree that Buenos Aires is perhaps so Eropean that could only be found thus far from Europe. Waissman’s hideout can be easily found by following the iron horse scars on the middle of the road. The trolley no longer lingers in the corners waiting for that last passenger. In fact it was eradicated shortly after Waissman’s birth some 55 years ago. However, the tracks still in place, leading perspectives across town as silent remainders of a time which inspired Andrew Lloyd Weber to write his celebrated *Evita*.
It rains in Buenos Aires. I’m at the front door Waissman´s atelier staring at a street number scribbled on a piece of paper: “Godoy Cruz 2127”. I believe I have finally made it. I knock at the centenarian oak door and a few moments later a young man in his early thirties responds. His name is also Andres and he’s one of at least two assistants in whom Waissman relays to keep track of his work, visitors and exhibits.
The centenarian oak door leads to a narrow hallway. Halfway through another door communicates to what seems to be the space the master reserves for his pupils. Waissman’s atelier is also a workshop for a few students who come once or twice a week. I take a pick through the door and I see a good-looking lady on her thirties staring at a white canvas.
The next-door leads to a patio, ceramic tails on the floor much in the Mediterranean style of other patios I walked into in Valencia, Barcelona or Montevideo. The patio was a hundred years back, the gathering place, the playroom, the family yard. All other doors in the house would lead to that open space. The young Andres lead the way through one of those inviting gateways. On the other side I found myself in a large room, a living-room: a loft. Stretched canvases, one leaning against the other, have been prepared and are waiting for the artist instructions to start dancing around and claiming the red brick walls. On the walls a few samples of Waissman’s art: Mythological creatures, Ships, Multitudes… Those three are perhaps the best examples of his work. I also happen to like his early figurative impressions. However, not many of those early examples remain available. Waissman is a contemporary artist, and he seems to exist in an everlasting present from which he explores past, and future. The mythological creatures on acrylic, black and white of large proportions are there to support my argument. They come from a very distant place, just as the transhumant multitudes of immigrant being displace from one end of the canvas to the other, from one corner of the world to the next.
I finally meet the other Andres, the one I came to see. For the next week or so we will experiment, talk, argue passionately and befriend each other to allow the camera to capture a few moments of intimacy in the life an Argentine painter named. Andres Waissman. The results can be appreciated on the half hour documentary film recently aired through WPBT Channel 2 in Miami, Florida. “Waissman” is also available from Amazon.com. Andrés Waissman also has his own site in the cyberspace, both in English and Spanish. For those interested in visiting the virtual atelier, the address is: www.andreswaissman.com