2020 Pilotenkueche

These are the works created as a part of Pilotenkueche international artist residency in Leipzig.

This series consists of paintings on canvases and works on paper.

The shapes and colours float in space, treating the space of the paintings a a sort of weightless environment. They could be read as views from above where each element in the picture is a sort of an actor reenacting a play or a sports game with complex choreography and interaction. Or, it can be seen as if from the side, as a tableau of either a landscape or a nature-morte or, even, as a technical drawing of a composition of a particular space and time, with the spectator passing through and witnessing a state of being.

The canvases are presented unmounted, hanging off the walls by the nails. The raw fabric of the canvas presents a fertile ground on which the forms and symbols can be “cultivated”, bare, honest. The canvases left unframed to further the weightlessness and transience that permeates the whole series.

I use unmixed paint and raw canvas, preferring to keep the brushstrokes and pencil marks visible and clearly separated from each other as well. Each shape or stroke takes on a character of its own, a sort of honesty and earnestness. Vivid. Raw. Exuberant or contemplative. Each has a character and is a character in the ensemble. As well, they could be “read” as characters, as a sort of distorted alphabet, a part of a visual language composed not only of graphemes but also colours and patterns and materials with which the said “grapheme” was produced.

The meaning is light, “air brushed”, superficial, there and not there, just on the cusp of graspability. It is open in more ways than one. Open to interpretation. Open in terms of space and sparseness. Open in terms of translucency and lightness of the canvas material itself.

The theme of the works has to do with the ideas of value, which I interpret as ephemerality. The most precious objects are ephemeral. Yet, encased in the painting, these become objects of value, valuable in their own right and also as representation of particular breed of treasured fleeting moments that are beyond monetary value but instead are universal and accessible. Which does not prevent them from being extremely rare and valuable.

The inspirations of the works were several ideas. First, the idea of luxury and “good moments” of which I particularly thought of Matisse’s Luxury, Calm and Pleasure. This painting famously signalled the arrival of fauvism. It is itself based on Beadulere’s poem Invitation to Voyage in which the poet invites and imaginary lover to a trip in a certain space that is unclear whether is real or imaginary, but either way speaks of nostalgia for something perfect, something that could never be. Cocoon-ish and perfect, womb-like in its safety and luxury despite being quite simple. In it, treasures such as antiques and gold and equated with the “gold and hyacinth" of a sunset.

Second, the use of writing and letters as an artistic device, akin to Twombly and Basquait. The marks are just about making sense and then they don’t but the viewer is still trying to read them despite themselves. As an optical illusion. A reflex. In a way, it’s metaphor for the act of “reading the picture” where there is a particular meaning, or story, to be extracted from and accurate interpretation of the message encoded.