El hombre con el hacha y otras situaciones breves (2014/2017) is a large-scale installation by Argentine-born, New York-based artist Liliana Porter. Originally produced in 2014 and recently re-installed for the 2017 Venice Biennial, this piece has been recently acquired by PAMM. Spread across multiple stages made up of white bases of varying levels, the installation presents numerous vignettes involving figures, toys, broken furniture, and other textured materials and objects. The dramatic range of scales of these elements, from the miniscule to the gigantic, play with perspectives and the viewer’s perceptions in unusual ways. The title of the piece “The man with the axe and other brief situations,” refers to a tiny plastic figurine of a man wielding an axe that is positioned prominently near the front-center of the installation. In the scene, his tiny axe appears to have created a deep cut in the white ground and large pile of broken materials. This “brief situation,” is one of many that appears in the installation, creating a landscape of mini-narrative scenes across this expansive white stage-structure.
Liliana Porter is a pivotal artist within the history of Conceptual Art in Argentina and since the 1960s has been making work in diverse media that deconstruct our understanding of how representation functions. She began as a print-maker and was a founding member of the experimental New York Graphic workshop (1964–70). Expanding around notions of the multiple, her practice has included prints, photographs, assemblages, installations, films, and recently several theater productions. Known for her work with toys and other found-objects taken from popular culture and domestic contexts, Porter’s works engage humor and playful situations