THE PAINTER AND HIS SHADOWS . RAFAEL CIPPOLINI
Pure light and pure darkness are two voids that are the same thing.
Only under a determinate light – and light is determined by
darkness – and thus under an obscured light, can
we perceive something.
G. W. F. Hegel, as quoted by Víctor Stoichita
One of the most attractive vices of many modern artists was to employ a dating system as an anticipatory factor (I think of James Ensor, Giorgio de Chirico, and it would be easy to multiply the examples). They used to archaisise their paintings by dating them before the day, month and year in which they were even thought about. Adulteration, poetic licence? Does one exclude the other? Let us convert the gesture into premise and take it a bit further. Could it not be the case of an observation in kind, of a displaced inquiry on the arbitrariness of the correspondences between figure and time?
For instance, what is a fixed image if not time in rest?
Let us invert the question. Before the paralysed tranquillity of historical fixation, generations of artists have dedicated themselves to projecting variables. Variations. Recurrences of details. Tensions. Patient – and often virtuous – discrepancies. Not with the aim of feeding the glossary of forms, but to detect (and to invite us to walk through) announced but unexplored paths. Max Gómez Canle, the artist who is our object here, is without a doubt a contemporary and distinguished member of this clan of innovators.
More than a rhetoric of the variable, what he seems to propose us is a propaedeutics. A closed image fatally implies an accidental number of methods and reading instruments that contain – and restrict – its potency. Goméz Canle’s action dos not act upon these instruments, but in the making of the image itself.
In this exhibition, three kinds of non-excluding resources are employed: primo,
an interference factor – which we observe in the morphology of shadows and in the geometric aquatic reflections-; secondo, a superimposition factor–present in the cloud triptych -; and terzo, the last factor, perhaps more wide-ranging than the former, which we can provisionally call collating materials, including works as disparate as a study on Babel Towers painted in the 16th century (a whole century of Babel Towers), a three-dimensional cone that alters the two-dimensionality of the paper, and finally an investigation about the different degrees of darkness of the black colour (like the Eskimos who perceive different degrees of whiteness, Gómez Canle tests the interaction between obscurity’s different levels of density).
In short: with the sum of propositions of each of these factors – the ones presented in this exhibition and those he has been proposing since the beginning of the last decade -, our artist constructs a world, that is, a style. His propaedeutic allusion is nothing else: in the intimacy of his method, each image is not merely a whim, but a visual encyclopaedia that scrutinises an inexhaustible tradition.