Art critic Michael Peppiatt’s experiment En el Taller de Giacometti (In the workshop of Giacometti) offers us a pertinent path to take in the ‘Disciplinary Society’ project by the Peruvian photographer Cesar Delgado Wixan who resides in France. In this, his most recent work, the artist seeks to give visibility to the most intimate moments of the penitential experience. During 2014 and 2015 he photographed, two of the most emblematic prisons: Santa Ana (Avignon, France) and San Jorge (Lima, Peru). Today, these places no longer function as prisons as they have become contemporary archaeological ruins, in spaces sensitive to the current photo production.
Delgado Wixan’s work seems to obey a primary impetus of documentary, which never ceases to be true. However his eyes go farther beyond, revealing a visual dynamic insofar as the various forms of expression made by inmates inside their cells. As Peppiat thoroughly details along the passages of his essay, En el Taller de Giacometti which the artist occupied for almost 4 decades, the workshop becomes a work of art in itself, awash with objects and materials, on whose walls pictures, sketches, paintings, murals and inscriptions are embodied, and more profoundly, linked to the most intimate feelings of the sculptor. Consequently Delgado Wixan’s photographs reveal that small yet immense world that prisoners create inside the four walls that they inhabit, thereby providing a huge weight as diverse associations and connections. The cell is the nuclear axis out of whose solitude the prisoners develop highly personal forms of expression and communication, either via premonitory intentions (reminiscent of rock art) or simply for aesthetic enjoyment.
The memory is also suggested in Disciplinary Society. Delgado Wixan images give us the chance to evoke those "diminutive" worlds, appealing to a memory, that is perhaps of another, but nevertheless possible. Peppiat plays off against that narrated in his well-known essay, where he shares one of his experiences in the summer of 1978:
It was during Alberto Giacometti’s retrospective in the Maeght Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Visiting the exhibition, I found myself in front of a few pieces of walls belonging to the workshop of Giacometti, covered with strokes made by the artist […]. I had the impression of entering a large open tomb, erected to the memory of a deceased from Pharaonic times.
In Disciplinary Society there is no Wall and not even a Pharaoh; however, photography prevails together with the testimony of the individual.
Exhibition held at Alliance Francaise (Lima).
Text published in catalogue.