Armas: a question about art that remains open
Maria Elena RamosVisiting this Enrico Armas exhibition is, in a certain way, an invitation to put aside some prejudices. Are we coming to a sculpture, graphic or photography exhibition? Does Armas work figurative sculpture? Does he produce a "poor" sculpturing art? Is he a conceptual sculptor, if that can be said? Is he, finally, "a sculptor"?
Based on the above or without any base, as the artist would certainly seek- we enter a place where the axis is the heterogeneous and multiple character, and where, with no precise references, we can transit freely among some ideas that have fostered the art during the 20th century.
But, what does Enrico want to tell us -except that it is difficult, for him and for everybody, to have any base?
Enrico prints on already printed catalogs. He modifies their design. The previously written words, being the same, are not themselves anymore -they become both supportive and graphical. We can read them only in fragments. Not-reading is already a form of reading.
He rips papers. He superimposes color papers, and hence, he superimposes colors. He transforms them into transparencies.
He converts solid and three-dimensional gloves into plain gloves. The drinking cups become forms that look like triangles. Gloves and cups, real objects of use in the workshop, will be the transformed objects. Artistic shapes, now printed. The art takes possession of the objects -and of the beings- and reinvents them.
Enrico realizes, later, that he repeats certain basic forms. The letter K, the number 1. What do they say? Or, wed better wonder, do they actually say anything? The number 1 could be the small bronze sculpture or the huge color plan. We can also find in the "1" a meaning of beginning. Some meaning. But this could be as well a false clue, the number that orders nothing. The beginning that starts nothing. The shape that, simply as a shape, is delightful.
He opens the geometric shapes, and the square. And the bands -that could have given any idea of an order, of a regularity, of a start (another false clue)- get broken with the randomness at the serigraphy workshop.
The spots float there, briefly reminding of Jackson Pollocks dripping technique, the abstract expressionism and the print of the artists gesture that throws the paint on the canvas, dripping.
Enrico takes pictures. Close up of the stones. Normal angle of the stones. Wide angle of the stones. Panoramic view of the stones. That way he obliges our eye to get closer and to get farther, even if we are sure that we havent varied our distance with every picture. ¿An ecological mural, or just the picture as another medium required by the artist?
The principal figure, if there is any in this presentation, is The Medium. While for the classic artist or in general for an academic art done before this century, the medium, the material, determined the shape and the artists attitude, and if by dominating such medium converted the artist into "a specialist", and if in many cases the medium became a goal itself, in this exhibition the medium is not the one of the specialist, but is multiple because it is scarcely a medium, one, and another, and another one: photo, steel bars or ripped paper; engraved or sculpture, media that serve as Media to tell us something.
The contemporary artist marked by an art that gives the Concept a preponderant place and that says that the media and the materials are only the consequence of what the Concept needs to communicate- usually uses the drawing, the photography, the written word, the number or the object found in the street or in nature, to which through the concept gives artistic character. It would be interesting to wonder whether a sculptor, creator of forms beginning from the material, lover of its textures and sensuality, lover of the object, of the corporeal and its appearances, can, without contradicting himself, act impelled by such conceptual vision. Interestingly enough such a question arises in the case of Enrico Armas, that seems marked by both relationships.
The heterogeneous sculpture, the multiple medium, seems to be the way Enrico decides for: the call of the material and its textures will attract him to create the volumes, the traditional figurative forms, the warmth of the bronze, and the porousness of the cement block, the straight angles of said blocks or the endless path of the wire line that builds three-dimensional shapes, circumvolutions and tangles that will be hung. This call of the material will take him to look for subtleties, complexities and changes for the hand that touches fine and thick wires, it will lead him to produce appearances of spheres or cylinders, the joy of the shape by creating whats heavy, fixed, solid, or what on the contrary is open, light, and lets in the space and what is visible.
However, conceptually, Enrico seems to become moderate, limiting the "danger" of his total surrender to the material, to the sensuality and external appearance of the form. He wont be able to stop too long on the texture of the bronze nor will he become a specialist. He cant pursue until the end the cleanness of the plan in a serigraphy. The imperfection, the non-specialization, is the "optimum state" of such way of creating.
An exhibition like this shows us what is retrospective and what is simultaneous. The complete forms and the doubts. He plays to the securities, the relativities and the false clues. He proposes many open roads and many possible continuations for the future. Is the presentation of a non-lineal, non-predictable process. A permanent question about art and life. In other words, this exhibition resembles Enrico a lot, open to the moment, experimenting, nothing fixed. Afraid of the definitive. A doubting searcher. A changing one.
María Elena Ramos
|Sculptures ¦ Paintings|