Almost 20 years after his death, Alejandro Vainstein (Odessa, 1917-Buenos Aires, 2003) is honored at the Jewish Museum of Buenos Aires. An initiative of the artists Conde Divagante and Pedro Roth and the Jewish Museum of Buenos Aires, the exhibition “Vainstein Visceral” -cared for by Liliana Flugelman Curator and Executive Director of the institution- displays 58 paintings from different periods.
Vainstein arrived very young with his parents in Buenos Aires, forced to emigrate because of the pogroms against the Jews of Czarist Russia. As Julio E. Payró said, his “heroic vocation of painting” was shown early. He began his training at the age of 17 with Esteban Lisa and continued with Emilio Pettoruti, until becoming his assistant and workshop manager until 1959.
Stripped down, the first works have non-figurative elements with some images that offer clues about certain topics addressed, such as childhood. The piece “Kafka” (photo) was part of a set of works in honor of Franz Kafka exhibited in 1968 at the Van Riel gallery, where he exhibited for the last time in 2001. vital, somewhat exasperated”.
The austerity of the first canvases gave way to the different trends that run through his work, mostly to a growing allegorical and gestural painting, passionate and fierce. Intensely, the artist reiterates in his paintings traces of organs, viscera, skulls, and other parts of the human body in varying degrees of mistreatment. The figure of the monkey appears, strikingly, again and again. Gives to think, about the exact meaning that Vainsten gave them. Stark images prevail reflecting great crimes and tragedies of the last century such as the Holocaust and famines, social tears and individual loneliness but also a certain corrosive humor. His disciple Count Rampage, who attended Vainstein’s workshop for years and published the catalog of the exhibition, maintains that he sees the work of the great teacher and his friend “as a guardian of man’s social thought.”