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David Lamelas

David Lamelas was born in Argentina in 1946. His parents were immigrants from Galicia in the far north west of Spain and had made the journey to Buenos Aries in the 1930's to start a new life and escape the surveillance and persecution of the Franco regime. The motif of fascism underscores the history of the family as various military dictatorships held sway in Argentina alongside Peronist rule and brief periods of democracy. One senses that at an early age Lamelas would have been aware of the importance of assimilation, and the expanded horizons that travel could offer.

Lamelas studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aries, and exhibited whilst still a student. His work evolving rapidly from freestanding sculpture into more architectural interventions that had spatial and time elements integral to the work. In 1966, at the age of 20 he was invited for the National Prize 66, which was organised by the Centre for Visual Arts in Buenos Aries. The piece Conexion de tres espacios (Connection of three spaces) linked three galleries at the Intituto Di Tella together with an architectural sculptural intervention which could not be experienced in the round but necessitated a continuity of perception in the viewer whilst walking through the interlinking spaces. His work had become a demanding, dynamic, fresh interaction with the object relations of the gallery space that housed it.

The following year he was chosen to represent Argentina at the 1967 Sao Paola Biennale and in 1968 at the Venice Biennale, where he showed Office of Information about the Vietnam War at three Levels: the Visual Image, Text and Audio. The piece marks his inclusion of non-traditional media and durational elements within his work. The Office is essentially an installation consisting of a desk, chair and telex machine. The Office received constant updates via telex, on the war in Vietnam from the Italian news agency ANSA. These updates were read aloud to the public in six languages and simultaneously taped. After which, the recordings could then be accessed by the public via headphones. The constant flow of information about the Vietnam war highlighted the inadequacy of the facts to fully convey the brutal reality of war. It is significant that Lamelas's filmmaking developed out of his engagement as an artist, who used sculpture and mixed media within a gallery context. Many of the concerns of his earlier work emerge in his films as editing and framing structures which become templates that are repeated throughout his work. The templates are the armature on which meaning is organised and constructed.

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Office of Information about the Vietnam War at Tree Levels: The Visual Image, text and audio, Mixed Media, dimensions variable, 1968 (Insallation view LXXXIV Bienanale di Veniza,1968)
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