THE SEDUCTION OF MYSTERY
Jan 31, 2019
Miquel Alzueta, Robert Drees, Fucking Art, Alba Cabrera and MH Art Galleries
The seduction of the unknown, hidden and mysterious, is one of those things that is hard to describe. Many times we do not even know how that feeling begins, why something becomes so attractive or how it becomes a permanent thought. The mystery can be ineffable, because it is not easy to express it with words and, perhaps due to this verbal difficulty, it is more possible to express it through other languages, such as the language of images, the shapes of visual arts.
The appealing proposal from the gallery directed by Miquel Alzueta comes from Barcelona. In its booth, the audience can appreciate the unique poetics of Jordi Alcazar, an artist who “paints without paint”, who "makes meta-painting, or almost", as the journalist José Ángel Montañés pointed out. The overwhelming and conceptual work of Alcazar invites us to question the very nature of painting, its shapes, techniques and messages, at the same time revealing the narrow (and sometimes conflicting) relationship it may have with literature, or rather with the exercise of reading, something that overwhelms the day to day of the artist. His pieces are small books with dark and deep holes, like a kind of precipices: there is no doubt that literature can calm and even heal a restless mind, but it must not be forgotten that it can become a pernicious obsession for those who love it in excess. Living other lives, starring in the stories of "others" and holding our particular disappointments back, is a great temptation that the artist Hugo Alonso knows very well. In his paintings on paper, in which thriller film hints are revealed, it always seems that something crucial is about to happen, or something revealing has just happened; in fact the seductive feeling of curiosity that the gaze hides, very enhanced in these works by the unreality of black and white.
The seduction produced by mystery is also very present in the photographs of the series "The Unknown" by Andrea Torres Balaguer: stylish women whose faces have been veiled by brushstrokes, drips, mineralized paint. The mystery, the fascination, the hidden tale or the pure aesthetic pleasure are traits that have characterized the works of the young photographer since her beginnings. Very different female portraits are those presented by the painter Lídia Masllorens: firsthand close-ups sometimes only enlarged details, represented through an agile, liquid brushwork, but guided in a very conscious way. The Catalan gallery closes with the work of Maria Yelletisch, essentially graphic, conceptual and compiler spirit; and with the personal mythology of the, only in appearance, playful Edgar Plans -also represented by the Marita Segovia gallery.
Undoubtedly enigmatic are the works presented by Robert Drees Gallery (Hannover). From the figurative, provided by the paintings of Pepa Salas, creator of sensual images and the intriguing stories in which the reality of black and white is usually disrupted with the introduction of discordant elements in colour; or the more expressionistic work by Markus Fräger, in which stories the chosen time is given a complex meaning and sublimated by the artist, who masterfully explores the psychology of portraits and the aura of environments.
The mystery comes many times precisely from duality, to unite opposite aspects, as does the South Korean artist Sun Rae Kim in her fantasies in rubber and paper: reflecting at the same time on the outer surface and the inner structure, in her work traditional materials of Korean culture along with others imposed by current industrial times are combined. The two most abstract proposals presented by the German gallery can also seem mysterious: the beautiful and ethereal installations in acrylic glass by Michael Laube; or the most hypnotizing and risky paintings of Jürgen Jansen, in which a final layer of the resin often makes them irresistible.
The artists of Fucking Art present in this edition of Art Madrid an interesting selection of their most recent creations, as the hybrid landscapes by Carlos Regueira, between photography and painting: intriguing from that peculiar solitude, allure from the beauty of the inhospitable. The audience can also find out the new pieces of Alfonso Zubiaga that give continuity to the series "It is not chaos, it is only binary", where the photographer introduces us to the contradictions between the analogue and digital worlds from the depth of lyric nights of strange serenity.
Especially poetic is the work by Atauri: both in her graphic works, where the author reveals a meticulous observation and a deep passion for natural shapes, as in her object-based pieces, where the poetics of repetition are paired with more conceptual issues. The gallery selection closes with the enigmatic works in suspension by Isabel Alonso Vega: smoke, frozen and dissected scrolls inside methacrylate urns that, however, acquire extreme and unexpected beauty. Both for the alternate personality of this gallery, created and managed by the artists themselves, as well as for the nature of their proposals, can well relate to those verses by Neruda that say: "Come on, let's leave / this suffocating river / in which we swim with other fish / from dawn to shifting night / and now in this discovered space / let’s fly to a pure solitude” (translated by Alastair Reid. “The future is space. Memorial de Isla Negra", 1964).
The entire Valencian selection of Alba Cabrera Gallery (Valencia) includes the exotic landscapes travelled (or imagined) by Calo Carratalá: naked interpretations of the landscape from an absolute interiorization and essentiality of the shapes that seem to speak of a sense of internal exile. Also, essential lines and interiorization of nature includes the work of Cristina Alabau, artist of which the gallery exhibits a set of watercolours works and some of her sculptures made in Murano glass. Here the landscape expresses itself through poetic abstraction as an interior territory full of evoking.
Alba Cabrera completes her proposal with the work of José Juan Gimeno and his reflection on urbanism and urban anthropology. We now delve into the urban and social plots that, through the concrete readings of the works, expose a reality (or a fiction) in time as elusive as it is ours, which paradigms are in the continuous transformation.
Finally, MH Art Gallery (Bilbao) presents the latest works by four artists. The public can enter the mysterious spaces created by Mónica Dixon: a counterpoint to the mental and visual noise of everyday life, a place of reflection marked by silence, stillness and the play of light and shadow that reveals presences that hide through the out of focus. In the same way, the characters of the oil paintings by Estefanía Urrutia appear from the silence, from the iridescence that exists in daily life, this daily normality in which so many things happen and go unnoticed but could have great aesthetic or emotional relevance.
The distortion of the urban web reaches great expression in the work by Thilleli Rahmoun, an Algerian artist especially sensitive to the changing concerns, experiences and ways of life of the contemporary city. Luckily, we can always take refuge in the most ancestral mysticism, as the work by the South Korean Joo Eun Bae offers through her spiritual landscapes turned into abstractions, watery and light but at the same time that compact and textural.