Get to know dear Luis Felipe “Yuyo” Noé, the great Argentinian artist.

Yuyo welcomes us in his wonderful home and atelier in San Telmo. Along the 3 floor building we get lost among the hundreds of art pieces which cover the walls and stairs, and the thousands of books stacked in bookshelves which go from ceiling to floor.

We seat at his dining room table and Yuyo starts to share with us memories and anecdotes, reflections and thoughts from when he was a young artist, his beginnings, his friendship with Alberto Breco, Maccio and De La Vega, and his first exhibition in October in 1959. He remembers how lucky he was during his first steps when he was invited to exhibit in the Museum of Fine Arts four years after his first exhibition.

He goes through his own timeline, the scholarships he won, his only year as an art student with Horacio Butler:

“I didn’t believe in guidelines, so I questioned everything. Youngsters have a way of asking that sometimes can bother adults, and that was the case with me. One day Butler said to me he had nothing else to teach me. But he wasn’t giving me any diploma, he was kicking me off”.

Yuyo talks about his crises and how they have shaped and inspired some of his most edgy pieces of art. He mentions the internal crisis he suffered when he came back from the US, as his art was at the opposite end of what was going on: it was minimal art, while Yuyo represented chaos.

“If I had to say which has been the most significant day in my artistic life I have to say it was October day in 1959, at my first exhibition. That day, Horacio Butler told me: ‘I must congratulate you, because by doing exactly the opposite I taught you, you have developed a work with great results.’ That day I felt I was a painter, my life as an artist was determined”.

He also talks about a recollection of memories, facts, quotes and conversations he has had along these last 50 years. For example, he remembers his long conversations with his great friend and artist De La Vega during their boat journeys to Europe talking about rupture, fragmentation, and opposition, all related to chaos.

With a nostalgic smile he quotes a candid young Yuyo who had the conviction that he could make a revolution through the artistic experience. Today it all seems an illusion.

In 2002, while he was in Paris, Yuyo tripped and fell on the street and injured his right arm. After that incident, he started to paint horizontally and to mix drawing with painting, something that had been latent for many years but for some reason he had never paid attention to until then. He also went back to the experience of installations.

Is there a ritual you maintain through the years? Drinking wine.

“I don’t know what is to be bored.”

What message would you give to the young artists today? Never pay attention to what old people have to say. The best thing an old person can do is not giving any advice to the youngsters.

Argentinian art has a basic problem, which is that is crossed by nostalgia; it’s always looking at what happens abroad. Talking about contemporary art, I think that calling it that way is an imbecility. How will contemporary art be called when is not longer contemporary? There is no awareness of what contemporary art is, of its essence. I would call it ‘cocktail art’.

Some definitions by Yuyo:

-Chaos: Our daily life from before we were born.

-Philosophy: To think  reality beyond itself. Every philosophy is metaphysical despite itself.

-Intellectual: The exercise of turning things inside out to see them from a different viewpoint.

What about beauty? It is a subject I ignore. It is an archetype and in the world of chaos there are no archetypes. I don’t consider pieces by their beauty, I consider them done when I have finished saying something through them.

Yuyo has plenty of new and upcoming projects, books to be published, and ideas for installations. He is contagious with passion to whoever listens to him, he is constantly doing doing and doing. He transmits the value of self observation and crisis as a shaker in thought and sensations, a source of inspiration and stimuli for his work.

He just released his latest book “En Terapia”, launched at MNBA (National Museum of Fine Arts) a few days ago. The book reflects the drawings he produced while on a psychoanalytic therapy he took in 1971. He had stopped painting some years before after great success and intensity. This therapy helped him begin his journey back to painting.

We deeply love and admire this fascinating artist. Thank you, dear Yuyo for your time, your honesty and your incredible energy.