1

At times I imagine a place where death is unknown, not because people don’t die but because the fact of dying remains concealed to the majority. This even makes me believe that there is some kind of intervention in cases of fatal accidents, to make the witnesses disappear together with the victims. I guess in such a place there is no chance of mystery. It must be a world void of imagination.  A society without myths or gods. A country without love or passions. Without art.

A society without art – after all -- would be sanitized and discreet. People would go to work and would attend the most naïve entertainment in an organized manner. They would orderly comply with all the rituals, even that of mating without love. Pleasure would be reduced to a utilitarian routine.

The only ideals would be order, discipline and service. The power of authority would be based on the idea of eternity: if everything is eternal, if all are eternal, then order and authority would also be eternal; there would be no beginning or end.

It would be a repressive and perfect country. Or perhaps it would suffice to call it perfect, which would already imply a level of near absolute repression in its refinement. A perfect society is a perfectly repressive society. It is the other face of Utopia, the anti-utopian society par excellence.

2

Certain type of literature makes me go back insistently to this fantasy. Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, and nearly everything I have been able to read by Kafka. I find in each one of these texts the level of alienating exacerbation an excess of rationality may lead to, in a world in which order and sterility are coupled with repression and dehumanization. Somehow (and especially in Kafka), order and reason appear as instruments of alienation and repression. Furthermore, such order and reason are narrated with truly sickening lucidity and objectivity.  

I would add a text I have read more recently, the story Esta noche… vienen rojos y azules, by Pedro F. Miret. To some extent based on the ambiguity between amusement and terrifying reality, Miret’s text describes with cold precision, a war game gradually evolving toward the dead end of violence. At the end the possibility of death remains in suspense. But it is a death, that even in such circumstances, is tinged with a halo of hygiene, owing to the lack of emotion. Weapons (which only appear at the end of the story) give the possibility of death a mechanical and metallic touch, while the individuals carrying them do not seem involved in their functioning either morally or emotionally. It would seem as if weapons could function on their own, as part of a mechanism of perfect sanitation.

I always tend to find that such neatness is rather perverse. In literature, the link between neatness and perversion is narrated or suggested as a sort of moral or emotional mutilation. Also certain type of art (I specifically think of Minimal Art) which emphasizes cleanliness and neatness seems to suggest something alien to morals and emotions.

Minimal Art seems to resist any other narration than the tautological, as if each work would state its existence in an unshakable and redundant present, as if it were alien to history. Ergo, alien to judgment. This self-sufficiency (with a touch of amorality) is very different to the self-sufficiency of the art of the first vanguards. It goes far beyond “art for art’s sake”. In any case, it would suggest this type of enunciation: “object for the object’s sake”, “thing for the thing’s sake” and “vision for vision’s sake”.

3

In the examples I have drawn from literature it is very easy to find neatness as a sub-theme, as a narrated element, independently from the fact that it is also expressed as an aesthetically appreciable quality in the text itself. Literature offers the possibility of appreciating in a more evident manner the dual character of certain elements, which are expressed both in a subjective and an objective level. This fact, which may be taken as an expression of the self-referential capacity of the text (of any text, as Bajtin would say) is also noticeable, with particular strength, in the case of painting, and particularly in abstract painting. 

Cleanliness, purity of form, the reduction of expressiveness, concentration in the inorganic, have become elements of the discourse of certain type of abstraction. Undoubtedly they are also part of the discourse that appears to be generated by the abstract work itself. In general, they seem to be more linked to the ideological than to the formal aspect of the work. Thus, they are more verifiable at the level of the discourse than in the work’s material reality and closer to utopia than to abstraction.

A body of work such as that of Fernando García Correa, which exhibits such utopia of geometric abstraction (hygiene as an aesthetic illusion), however, implies nonetheless a critical appraisal of cleanliness, order and structural preeminence. Irony would underlie the fact that this work would bring about such reading, bringing to the fore that apparently formal and undoubtedly ideological condition, even contrary to what could be the author’s intention. I am referring to the irony always implicit in suggesting that a work of art is a structure capable of self-criticism, and even a utopia capable of thwarting itself.   

I believe it is worthwhile to draw attention to the dramatic component that Fernando adds to his painting, because to conceive abstraction as a system which can be dramatized also implies to conceive it as a system which can be faked. It amounts to bestowing a narrative, even literary attribute to the abstract work. It would be a narration whose references are abstraction per se and the values that are automatically related to abstraction. If abstraction could be understood as the proposal of an absolute in painting --in the context of the avant-garde— currently I believe it is increasingly possible that we understand it as a sham. Each abstract piece is then conceived and consumed more as the possibility of abstraction than as the possibility of painting.

Fernando García Correa could then be using self-reference to turn painting against itself. He would do this while still taking advantage of the possibilities offered by each abstract painting, viewed as a reflection of itself (reflection of the pictorial, the abstract and an aesthetical comment). On the spur of the moment, I tend to identify this dramatic element in the rupture of a monotonous rhythm, one of the resources most frequently used by Fernando. Such a rupture generates a physically perceptible fragmentation effect. Sometimes he even creates “holes” in a piece’s fabric. In general, all the randomness that García Correa introduces in his paintings becomes a dramatically important element. All the unforeseen, within a piece that at the beginning seemed foreseeable, everything becomes “noise” within a system which seemed – at the beginning -- to base its coherence on the stability of the information supplied. I do not believe it is difficult to understand that information (I dare say “informatics”) in this type of work, is suggested as a kind of skeleton, an almost invisible internal structure which supports the entire visual or “visualizable” body of the image. In such case, our expectation would be to find in such a structure an orderly pattern and not, as García Correa seems to provoke, an area of instability or chaotic synthesis.

However, it is probable that in this unexpected insinuation of chaos should lie in a considerable portion of the aesthetic energy of these works. Aesthetics would then depend on a double role: the achievement of an ideal balance (therapeutical, in the final analysis) and the disruption of such a balance, with its aftermath of instability, commotion, turmoil and frustration of the subject and its consequences of indefinity, -- to the effect that the work of art appears incomplete --, as if conceived precisely in that subtle indetermination, conceived insofar as inconceivable.

Beauty in these works has to do with imperfection, because imperfection has to do with the contradiction between the artistic object and a paradigm. This is a very common feature in contemporary art, which tends to turn every reflection into a self-reflection, referring to a model that does not exist in nature, but in an artistic model.

4

Herbert Read, who does not conceal his attachment to the theories of the Gestalt current, suggests an understanding of beauty as the realization of a “good form”. (1) The good form would be a kind of recipient which is filled with the image. Rather than symbolic it would be functional. And its function would be that of waiting or at least prompting the emergence of the image that will fill it.  Once this happens, the fulfillment of the image would be seen as comfortable. Therefore, beauty would be associated, rather than to commotion, to placation, stability, serenity and calm. However, this leads us anyhow to a later circumstance of the form’s fulfillment or to a kind of “ultra” of the artistic object. And then we can understand that the moment of beauty will occur at a later instance than that of the aesthetic impact (which is the impact of the image with the form), as the moment of love seems to come about (and perhaps, also survive) in a time space subsequent to orgasm. Seen like this, beauty has a tinge of survival and calls forth a thrill that is the celebration of survival. It pays homage to life.

The instant of beauty, as the instant of love, happens in the lapse of the unproductive and the superfluous. It is revealed in the realm of the non-transcendental. I understand that this revelation is nearly inconceivable within the “strategic” area of contemporary art. The superfluous moment and space has no place in an art that is put forward as eminently productive, not to say “productivist”. This seems to be the most evident legacy of the contemporary art vanguards. The search for efficiency was stated already in the art-life model, from which derives the ambition to beautify life, but above all, the wish to grant art a hitherto unknown pragmatism. Perhaps in the search for the pragmatic is found a “modern” way of expression, typical of the “vitality” Herbert Read is so fond of in every artistic expression.

Whether out of its political implications, rhetorical emphasis, playfulness and drama, because its technological complexity or its meta-discursive loquacity, art in our days closes all the gaps that could be left to express and to give the preeminent role to beauty as a lapse. In this kind of art, the paths to aesthetics are multiple and probably have a more constant renovation. Hence, enjoyment and commotion, as effects of the aesthetic, can no longer be simply summarized or alluded to by using a concept of beauty still uncontaminated by metaphysics.   

The above digression seems important to understand the distance between painting as accomplished by Fernando García Correa and a certain type of art which at present continues to conceive “life” as a space that has to be stormed. And as all art generates its equivalent in appraisal, it is understandable that there should also be a “strategic” critique, for which probably a work such as Fernando’s may be irrelevant or simply useless. Even in the context of such critique, all or a great portion of the current pictorial production would be innocuous owing to its inefficacy. 

In this regard there is a phrase by Cuauhtémoc Medina, in a text about Yishai Jusidman´s work that I find interesting: “I confess that I do not find sense in painting when the complexity of its experience is not integrated to its meaning, and that if such thing were not possible I would prefer not to see any more those senile hanging objects”. (2) The end of the phrase, as much as the general tone, is quite illustrative of the bad temper with which part of the contemporary critique confronts painting. It would be difficult, however, not to agree with the first part of the phrase. The requirement that a work should incorporate the complexity of its experience could be extended to other practices, such as installation, performance, photography, and video and to all the eclectic results that emerge from their multiple crossings.  In fact, I believe that a vast area of the meaning of a work of art has to do unavoidably with “the complexity of its experience” and not with the revelation of an object strategically placed outside (or in the fringes) of that experience. But Medina’s phrase seems to attach more importance to the complexity than to the experience; he intends the work to underline such complexity. On the other hand, I am suggesting that we are in an era in which it is difficult to conceive an art that does not project itself more as experience than as an object, that does not turn its emergence into a question of experience more than into a question of appearance, and that does not turn the fact of programming and shaping its reception and decoding into a part of such an experience. 

I believe this explains why most of contemporary art implies a process and the fact that, in the context of such process, we can make a less static reading of painting, even in abstract painting.  For that reason a text like that of Tobias Ostrander – Fernando García Correa. Líneas de Tiempo, 2002 – is appreciated for it reveals and takes advantage of that predisposition of a pictorial work to be projected as a process and as the experience of such a process. Indeed, that is one of the most exhaustive – and dynamic -- reading made of Fernando's work, for it detects and exposes some clues, regarding the processes, but also the structures and, inevitably, the meanings. Those clues are summarized, on one hand, in the concepts of patterns and flows, and on the other hand, in those of topographies and fabrics. The first two refer to the constructive parts of these paintings, because those structures are reiterated in García Correa’s work since the year 2000 up to now. The patterns refer to a series of structural models that Fernando shapes with lines or sequences of parallel lines, curves and straight lines. These sequences create the effect of flows or fluids. They generate a sensation of motion, of continuity, as if they were waves (any type of wave) that spring up from some imaginary point, outside of the painting. In any one painting several patterns may coincide or intersect corresponding to superposed layers of painting, in such a way that several compositions can be detected, with varying lineal forms and different colors, one on top of the other. Besides the effect of spatial depth, a suggestion of temporality is reinforced which may be understood in two ways: the impermanence of the sequence, basically associated to the notion of rhythm, and the impermanence implicit in the overlapping of layers that we may associate with the notion of instant, since each one of those paintings summarizes different juxtaposed constructive moments. To a great extent, this terminology remits to a crossing of the spatial and the temporary, with a degree of abstraction that I find similar to that of musical language.

In all these works, the insinuation of figuration depends, not of specific visual elements, but of associations of a more metaphorical character. The ideas on topography and fabrics correspond to those associations. The fabrics result from the overlapping of linear patterns which create a visual effect of webs or textures that I dare to relate (perhaps intuitively and no less metaphorically) with the notion of the text. In any event, we would be speaking of a structure that corresponds also with an elementary vision of texture and to the contemporary vision of the text, as a radial and expansive model or (to use more updated language) as a network.

Topography refers to a more "visualizable" aspect. It is probably the most immediate representational reference in these paintings. In many instances it is noticed through the emergence of cross-sections of a plot of land and also in pleats or reliefs in a surface, reinforcing a special dynamics between the plane and the three-dimensional. Dialogue between plane and space is tantamount to a dialogue between the abstract and the representational, where the representation is an allusion (if not an illusion) that hovers in the painting’s limits.

5

The close relationship between Fernando García Correa’s work and Minimal Art is to be found basically in two directions. One is the immaculate appearance or hygiene as an aesthetic illusion. The other is a representational remnant contained in many minimalist paintings, leading me to understand abstraction as an iconographic illusion. Both directions intercross at a certain point with decoration.

Decoration can also be understood as a strategic area within Fernando’s work. On one hand, it contributes to the slightly paradoxical tone and textual complexity, common in contemporary art; and on the other, allows him to play (but above all, compromise) with beauty and leisure.  Post-modern art also drifts from the realm of the sublime to the realm of the ornamental. Decoration then, within an abstract painting, may be read as a textual micro-structure within the pictorial text, as an element of obstruction, detour and subversion of the alleged unity of the pictorial object, as an erratic element within the artistic text, whose wandering is associated to the dynamic of transactions between what is central and what is marginal. If at any moment I have come to believe that an abstract painting is an inconsequential object, I must rectify now, pointing out that probably one of the consequences of abstraction in the present context of art is decorative.

There are pieces by Sol Le Witt, Bridgey Riley, Frank Stella and Agnes Martin, for example, which suggest that the abstract element is “an abstraction”. And here I am using the term meaning “separation”, “isolation” or “removal”. To be precise, that abstraction results from an act of censorship or displacement.  I would say that abstraction results from the marginalization of iconography, evidence, representation or any type of sign which may allude to a representational effect.

However, abstraction in representational art may happen simply as an isolation of certain specific areas of the significance of a work of art. If we look at some of García Correa’s paintings from the last decade, we will observe that such isolation effect was not yet total, so that the abstract is in the background, even when it is already present in the formal structure of each piece.   

I am thinking of two paintings from 1996 (both untitled), which were shown in Emplazamientos (Carrillo Gil Museum, 1996). The first one shows an object centered in the midst of a wide, dark, nearly black color plane. The spherical object seems to be the upper part of a diving suit or bathyscaph, or a space module, among other things. The background plane and the work with lights and shades give the impression that it is floating in a dark space, which could be under the sea or outside the earth’s atmosphere. Both the abstract plane and the object itself force the audience to arrive at the meaning through comparison, perhaps through a metaphor. They compel to think on what they seem to represent, given that the possibilities of representation are multiple and vague. But they do not allow to overlook or to detach oneself from what is represented.  

The second painting is based on the same resource. The object (displaced here towards the left upper corner) could be a variant of the object described in the first example, but now it shows certain protrusions reminiscent of an explosive mine, a grenade or part of a medieval weapon. There is also work with lights and shades which reinforce the three-dimensional illusion, but the background is ochre and luminous. 

In both cases, despite de importance of the color plane, the representation seems to center in the object, in the figure. The works seem to be the result of an interest in positioning or setting the figure in the plane proposed as a space. Therefore, there is a double illusory effect: the three-dimensionality of the object and the spatiality of the plane. But above all, the important thing is location (the emplacement, as Foucault would call it) to which the object is submitted. Although the main incentive seems to be the identification of the painted artifact, the main objective of the painting seems to be its emplacement. Painting, as an exercise, looks for the experience of positioning certain volumes in monochrome planes, while painting, as a result, prompts a search of referents which allow the identification of those volumes, endow them with ownership, give them a name, ascribe a similarity.

This spherical shape is a leitmotif in the pictorial work of Fernando García during this time period. It is present in many small format paintings, even in one polyptych, in which the effect of emplacement is combined with displacement, due to the way in which the successive leaves are laid out.  They are six pieces, 60 x 60 cm each. The spherical shape (in this case, by the way, it also suggests the shape of a football) has a different size in each of the paintings, arranged consecutively, from larger to smaller. The polyptych creates then the illusion of movement, both longitudinally as in depth (once again the relationship between the plane and the space) and the general effect is that of flight.

There are other works in which representation is also present, but they seem to respond to a different logic. Even when they could also be considered as emplacement exercises, work with space is more emphatic and more radical in the perception games it proposes. 

Division del Norte is one of the most attractive pieces in that group. It is the one that better illustrates this radical treatment of space, emphasizing aspects like unfolding, reflection, symmetry and duality. The painting was made on wood, and Fernando took advantage of the color of the support, "purifying it" by applying varnish. This work with the background color reinforces the sensation that we are facing an artificial space. And with this, the painting betrays its purpose of simulation, representation and even fiction. To which the added grid contributes when granting the entire composition the aspect of a blueprint projected on another. 

 

División del Norte is a diptych. Each one of the leaves has a different tonality. In both there is a spherical figure displaced to one side. The division between both is the axis toward which the figures are displaced, creating a marked specular effect. The figure to the right is completely spherical, while the one to the left is flattened, as if distorted. The difference between both alludes to different visualization contexts. More than representing two different objects, what García Correa has proposed is that we accept this diptych as the representation of different conditions of perception for the same object. But we can also deduce here a statement of the type "here we have a figure and the space in which it exists; and here we have its reflection, its echo or image". Hence, this work could also be read as the concurrence of two universes or of two different realities (or of a reality and its ghost). 

This is one of the most complex compositions by García Correa in this time period and it involves conceptual elements that still persist in his current work. Both this diptych and Endotópico-isotópico (1996) are based on the rupture of a visual continuum, the fragmentation of the painting’s unit (probably that is the purpose of the diptych format), the emphasis in distortion and reversion which are masked in the reflection, and the introduction of error as a dynamic and decisive element in the painting’s perception. 

None of these works are alien to a hedonist aspect. Especially in the paintings on wood, there is kind of a lust in the treatment of the surface and in the prominence granted to the support. When enhancing the wood streaks, Fernando also transformed the texture of the support into an element that is enunciative and into a highly dynamic graphic component within the composition. The entire graphic context in which the figure is placed also points to representation, but most interestingly, it generates a redundancy, because it seems that the painting is only representing its support to make the support represent its representation. 

6

The first difficulty I find when I try to describe Fernando García Correa’s work are the titles, because in recent years the bulk of his work has been titled with numbers. In every case, those figures correspond to the paintings dimensions. Additional information on the place that a piece should occupy within a series may also be found. The series is generally determined by the formats of the paintings and not necessarily by a specific formal structure. In any event, I would dare to say that such structure, if present, is determined by format.

What is striking about this way of entitling the pieces is the fact of alluding to a cataloging procedure.  It would seem that the titles are conceived, not to identify the subject matter of each painting, but to facilitate its placement within the set of works. Therefore, each piece seems to be imagined from the beginning as an element of a series, and each series as a component of a larger set. What García Correa seems to suggest is a type of classification as if the goal of the paintings were not their exhibition in a gallery, but their conservation in an archive, or ultimately, in a collection.

The title then is there to mark, not to describe, each work. To understand such marking process implies to understand each work in its relationship with the rest. The fact that such a relationship may be formal or thematic is something I will return to later on. What is important is that in principle such a relationship is an abstract one. Hence, mathematical. The titles force us to understand the notions of set and series in their algebraic implications. But also, if each work responds to a number, then it is also responding to a position within the group, to a position in connection with the other elements (or units, we could say). There is a co-dependency relationship that could be seen from the perspective of the syntactic, but that for a moment we may imagine as purely physical, spatial or geometric. 

 

As to information, these titles seem to also fulfill the function of technical specifications. With this, Fernando García Correa blends the function of the curator and the artist. But the most significant thing here is the couple of questions that arise: What do these titles underline as the more relevant aspect of the works? And how are the works identified (more than named) by their titles? I would say that what is being underlined is the objective quality of each painting, an objectivity that is measurable, establishing measurement as a priority reference. Taking this reasoning to an ironically absurd extreme, we could imagine that the common place " What is this work about? " may be replaced by the question "What size is it? ", which, incidentally, would be very convenient for gallery owners, collectors and critics, if it weren’t because of the difficulty of learning each number by heart. 

 

I insist on the difficulty, because I cannot avoid perceiving these numeric titles as distancing (almost as objects) elements. These numbers pave the way for an objective and hardly emotional approach to each work. Even when read later on, they also “cool” the affective relationship between the spectator and the work. There is something attractive, however, in the numbers because they are also there to stimulate deciphering. And with that, they acquire the ludic nuance of riddles. 

 

I elaborate on the characteristics of these titles, since in this essay I have been insisting in the textual quality of the paintings. From such viewpoint, it is indispensable to observe the effect of the titles as textual references with which a scope of possible meanings is opened -- and later on closed -- for each painting. I believe then that these numbers that make up the titles are linguistic references and even rhetorical complements of the paintings. 

 

  

 

The conditions in which Fernando García Correa’s work is aesthetically achieved allow speaking of a kind of beauty that is not totally dependant on Gestalt. In fact, what I have been insinuating is that their power is born of the contradiction between a gestalt expectation (associated to the paradigm of geometric abstraction) and the failure to meet such expectation (given the rupture of the said paradigm). Now then, when I mention this rupture effect or explosion in the form I refer to areas, sometimes minimal, inside the structure of the painting, to the interruption of a sequence of lines, to the expansion of a sequence of curves, to the differentiation of different lines that we tend to perceive as of the same thickness and which in fact are not, to certain vibrations that seem to come from the pulse, or the slight tremor of the hand. It is gesture taken to an almost microscopic level in which we can read clues, traces that contain hints barely perceived in the painting, which, however, many times define the vital quality of the pictorial sign. 

 

Vitality, understood in this context, is a trait as ambiguous as beauty. Thus, it is also expressed in contradiction. Here I have been linking it with the organic of the pictorial matter, with the dynamic of the sign’s perception, with the visual and psychological instability of the formal structure. But it can also be associated with the capacity for evocation that many paintings have, with their almost representational character, inasmuch as synthesis of the landscape and three-dimensional, with that coexistence of the informative and the organic, of the mathematical and the emotional, of the textual and the gestual. 

 

Ultimately, vitality is expressed as a link between the artistic object and the world, conditioned by the need and the possibility of the object of being associated and opening up a new  (and surely original) perception of the world. Above all, a perception of the world that is neither excluding nor circumstantial, entangled in such (fleeting) circumstance of time and space; the context in which the relationship between the artistic object and certain subject(s) takes place at a given moment.  

 

To justify the object for the object’s sake would be an inconclusive pretense of not associating to the justification of the world for the object’s sake; a world that the object inaugurates in the subject’s experience. So, the self-sufficiency of a work of art will always be less evident than the self-sufficiency of the universe that the work of art generates. It will be an illusory universe, indeed, as long as it only exists in that triangular relationship that includes the artistic object and the subject who perceives it, and as long as that relationship only reaches its definitive fulfillment in the ambiguous and intangible territory of imagery. 

 

Whenever I have heard that a work of art is a unique and unrepeatable object, I have thought that rather what is unrepeatable is each fragment making up the continuum of the artistic object’s existence, an existence that is renewed every time the artistic object is “consumed”. In this regard, the artistic object, even when it can’t be reproduced (or rather, the result of the application of some reproductive technique), will always be fit for reproduction (or rather, for a rebirth) of its living conditions.   

 

Having understood this, we will be able to have a more optimistic position than Walter Benjamin, as to the possibility of the loss of the "aura" in reproductive arts. Even these, in each copy and in the lifespan of every copy (perception, enjoyment and consumption) reconstruct the aura. This will be so, independently from the fact that this perception ignores or not the existence of other similar copies. It is true that the awareness of the uniqueness of the object adds another burden to what Benjamin called "cult" value of the artistic object, but it is also true that the “cult” has found the way to re-adapt to the reproductive conditions of contemporary art. Likewise, the unity of the aesthetic experience is much more unwavering that the unicity of the object and it doesn't seem to depend absolutely on it. The repercussion that it has on the spectator or the user of the art, this awareness, -- or at least --, this intuition of the aesthetic experience’s uniqueness is probably the most vital element (to use Read´s expression), and also the most comforting.  

 

I am speaking of the comfort that is also found in the reinventive capacity, attributable to the artistic object, re-invention of a world for the object and re-invention of new meanings for the subject's world. Apart from all the emotional aspects which may be involved, it is something received with gratitude, because it reproduces somehow (and therefore turns more accessible, less inhuman) the cycles of life and death in which the subject is involved, which are also part of the structure of significance of his/her own world.  

 

  

 

The duality between a world where death is unknown and another where it is known may be equivalent to some of the numerous dualities that have been applied to the history of art. I mean that at least it may incite us to understand two different ways to assimilate life to culture, and vitality to art. In particular, it reminds me of the enthusiasm with which Nietzsche assumed the duality between the Apollonian and the Dionysian culture. Although I surmise plenty of idealism in the way that Nietzsche had of looking at classic cultures (as originals), at least it served me to have a better insight as to the circumstance of classic art as a moment of conscience and recognition of the finitude and a reaction before the feeling of frustration that such an awareness of finitude could have provoked. I am not surprised that Read concludes his defense of beauty and vitality by referring to Nietzsche, even if to point out the inadequacies of his analysis. [3] 

 

In any event, my approach to these categories attempts to take advantage of certain fissures opened by contemporary art and by those seeping from others expressions of beauty and vitality. I believe that certain type of abstract painting (of which there are many derivations in Fernando García Correa's work) contributed to some of these fissures. In this regard, I find more useful to introduce what we may call a "theory of error", because I believe that this type of art puts into practice a notion of beauty as an error, and because its vitality also seems to reside in the sudden appearance of the drift. It is an art that "errs" and “drifts", or rather one that subtly places (although not less provocatively) error and drift in the path of any interpretation. 

 

Although my sympathy for some of Nietzsche's ideas is at the origin of this proposal, I believe that my comment would be better understood in relation with the concept of deconstructionism, as developed by Derrida. So, I have allowed myself to drift from the Nietzschean approach of representation as an error (within the false homogeneity of an imagination) to the assumption of the text as an error (within the assumed unit and homogeneity of a discourse). In fact, in this play between error and drift I find myself assuming Derrida´s rhetoric; that cheerful elasticity to which one is submitted by the language of philosophy and (to continue in the same tone) by the philosophy of language.  

 

In Nietzsche’s idea of the world as an error (that is to say, "as representation") there is much of the frustrating contradiction between what is conceivable and what is representable, with which Lyotard would characterize the effect of the sublime. In the context of deconstructionism, such contradiction is diluted as a part of the economy and politics of the sign. In the most recent art, representation is contextually defined preferably in political terms, so that the negotiating capacity of the text ends up by compensating, and even diminishing, its emotional impact. In fact, the emotional impact is only a secondary effect in the aesthetic fact, probably a consequence of something more elusive, although more evident: the commotion of the self or of the self-awareness. The subsidiary character of emotion becomes much more evident in contemporary art, which organizes the aesthetic fact around the zest of reading and the eroticism of interpreting, although under those conditions, the questioning of the self seems to remain beyond all the deliberateness and functionality of the artistic object. 

 

Under such conditions, much of the drama with which the alleged falseness of representation has been traditionally understood is lost. To understand the text as an error, or the error as a text, allows to elegantly evade the problem of "truth" in representation. Perhaps I should have set the word problem – more than the word truth - between quotation marks. Because in fact, truth has ceased to be the problem, is no longer a problem and has stopped being problematic.  

 

In this art that I have termed "strategic", the deconstructive is better found in the surfaces, as rhetorical texture. And it is unavoidably found in the content, as topic and as a reference of the artistic. Many works that present themselves as deconstructive are finally exposed as works on deconstructionism, as works that seek to be narrated also as deconstructible. Using those terms to refer to Fernando García Correa's work, abstract (and in principle, lacking much eloquence), implies a disposition to delve under the surfaces, to take a detour or to drift from the topic’s seemingly stable support toward an area of instability that has been created in the structure. It also requires certain inclination to understand the structure as a text, or as analogous to the text, because the point where a possible aesthetics of error coincides with the deconstructionist theory is precisely the one where the text is discovered as an error within the text (or the defect as a text within the text). In this work, deconstruction would never be a purpose of the text, but a latent possibility in the text. And such latency gives a particular vibration to the text – and also - a special vitality. 

 

Deconstructionism is experienced as a failure of the pretense of autonomy and originality of the text itself. And each error is a fissure through which the artistic text escapes of itself. Error, considered as a flaw, is also the effect of errancy; effect of the floating character of significance. The error is also trapped in the economy of the opposition between the owned and the unowned, between the internal and the external. In this sense, as in others, error is metaphoric, even when the rhetoric of these works seems to exclude metaphor. Even when their structure seems to exclude rhetoric. But I believe the dynamics of these paintings lies to some extent in a metaphoric functioning, perhaps to be found outside or at the boundaries of the structure. Perhaps unforeseen, non-rhetorical, inasmuch as it is not superimposed but rather buried in the text, or even beyond the text itself. 

 

 

 

Although it would be more modest to limit my statements to the analysis of Fernando García Correa´s work, the truth is that some times these propositions acquire a level of generalization that surpasses a particular work. In this assay I have analyzed the relationship of painting with theoretical and philosophical referents that I believe are indispensable to examine any expression of contemporary art. It is evident that the current conditions of art compel to revise the stands from which specific genres are analyzed such as abstract painting, so closely bound to a tradition, and in consequence, so seemingly resistant to be included within the strategic area of contemporary art. Even when the fact of staying within the limits of painting and within the limits of abstraction allows Fernando García Correa’s work to be accepted as solidly rooted in a tradition, the truth is that it contains certain elements of  uproot and errancy common to a large portion of current art. Those elements - that I have not doubted in qualifying as deconstructionist - force the work to be self-critical, regarding its own tradition and history. And set that reference in a place that displaces the importance of aesthetic references habitually associated with abstract painting.  

Juan Antonio Molina

[1] Herbert Read, Imagen e idea. La función del arte en el desarrollo de la conciencia humana. México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1972.

[2] Cuauhtémoc Medina, “La dictadura del espectador (pornografía, circo, cartografía y otros narcisos)”, in Yishai Jusidman, Investigaciones pictóricas. 1989-1994. Cuernavaca, Instituto de Cultura de Morelos, 1995, p. 28.

[3] Vitality, as beauty, is self-sufficient as aesthetical principle. This is something that Nietzsche overlooked and because of this, his interpretation of the Greek genius, otherwise magnificent and suggestive, lacks balance and truth. Herbert Read, op. cit., p. 70.