By Rodrigo Garcia |
Rosario (Argentina), (EFE).- Bottles, bills, pocket mirrors or stickers, some of them 150 years old. Entering the house of the Argentine artist Julio Rayón, in Rosario, is like traveling back in time through collections that, mixed with his sculptures and drawings, make the house a particular museum.
“I wish I had more walls to be able to put more things,” says this cartoonist, engraver and sculptor from the Cordoba town of Cosquín in 1949, but settled in the city of Leo Messi since he was young.
A lover for decades of “all strange and old things”, such as the drink bottles -all from before 1950- that he has placed around the house, his collection of figurines, as they call chromes in Argentina, is undoubtedly one of the ones that took the longest.
«There are many years chasing albums, and loose figurines. With which something very interesting was established, because I was also able to recover my own childhood, the childhood of my friends and of older people who, incredibly, when they saw the little figures of their childhood, who had lost them in their memory, would even run away. to cry, because they bring back lost memories,” he says.
Made of metal and paper, in black and white or colour, of famous people, animals, technological advances, stamps, flags, erotic themes or, of course, footballers. Rayón has some 1,600 collections of stickers.
“Of primitive figurines, as collectors say, I have French ones from the years 1850-60, and in Argentina the primitive ones appear in approximately 1880,” he specifies about his oldest copies.
And it shows small advertising signs for shops in Rosario, from around 1880, which, as was the case at the beginning of everything, were not made to be stickers, but rather children put them together and glued them because their colors struck them: «The most beautiful figurines The old ones are the ones that have caught my attention the most. And after when I was a child », he affirms.
Rayón remarks that, although he has material from other places, it is that of his country that interests him the most, “because Argentina itself is already incomprehensible.”
Despite the fact that the themes embodied in the stickers are infinite since the tradition arose two centuries ago -with the impulse that the invention of chromolithography brought about-, footballers are usually the center of attention.
“Football albums only appeared in the 1930s. Before, they competed with motorists, cyclists, and before that with bullfighters, who came from Spain (…) and slowly football took over the entire scene,” he says. Rayón, which reveals that the stamps of the early 20th century used to be supplied together with candies or cigarettes.
For example, you can see the faces of figures like Antonio Alberino, who won the first division championships with Boca Juniors in 1930 and 1931, or Pedro Marassi, who played for River in 1931 and only played one game for Boca in 1933.
Or Alfredo Santiago Gaspari, who came to Boca from Chacarita, went through Atlanta and returned to Boca in 1941, or Bernardo Gandulla, also a ‘xeneize’, who also went through Ferro, Vasco Da Gama and Atlanta.
As a curiosity, Rayón preserves the 1951 album “Figuritas Cola”, with motorists or soccer players and a first page dedicated to the then president, Juan Domingo Perón, and the first lady, Eva Perón.
Another example is an album “PO-PO” from the 40s, with the pilots Juan Manuel Fangio, Juan Gálvez and Domingo Marimón on the cover; one of “The Avenger”, with circular stickers, and the one dedicated to “El gordo y el flaco”, with small figurines as a puzzle of scenes from his films.
a life of art
Asked about how he buys his trading cards, Rayón acknowledges that the internet has opened up a world that anyone can access, but he highlights the “flea markets” in big cities, where “something can always appear”, as well as the value of exchanging with friends and contacts.
«When one begins to collect, it is very anxious. He wants everything, everything, everything and he searches, searches, searches. Over time, as in my case, the anxiety passes », he reveals.
Julio, whose wife is the poet Patricia Cuaranta, was director of the Museum of the City of Rosario, creator of the Higher School of Museology, professor of Fine Arts and became, among other positions, Undersecretary of Culture of the Municipality of Rosario.
With his paintings and sculptures, he has participated in countless exhibitions and received many awards, with a no less interesting personal life: during the last dictatorship (1976-1983), he and his partner at the time spent 14 months in prison, where their daughter was born. son.
After being released, they went into exile in Brazil and returned to Argentina in 1979: experiences that marked his life and forever inspired him as an artist.