Miguel Ángel Ramos Sánchez

2012-2013

Score

Against a background of hazy shadows, dancing lines of light.

First position, contrast.

The lines stand out against the surface, which seems to be negated by an ungraspable distance. In time, chronographically, the lines blur away from this first apprehension: they refuse to deliver up the value of a position, but rather complement each other – as they slip by each other – in order to transform the discrete value of defining the perspective of a body within the indiscretion of arousing a sensation, movement, vibration, trembling, shivering. For Goethe, to tremble is one of the deepest parts of our experience: “The thrill of awe is man's best quality. Although the world may stifle every sense, Enthralled, man deeply senses the Immense.” To define this experience, just as for Adorno’s concept of “resistance”, an interplay of images of counterpoised forces is used, in which one force – open, exposed, crude – empathetically attracts the reaction of another. A painting is always a challenge: enticing or forcing us to move either with it or against it. It affects us with the same potency as an electric shock, a nervous tic that is not an action but a reaction. The tension between stillness and restlessness in these paintings leads to an ungrounding of representation: the greater the presence of the network, the more the stage resists comprehension. Static and silent writing of a body that strongly alludes to a sound, a vibration, a harmony. Contrasting forces arousing synergetic reactions in the other sense. Therein lies its attraction.

We comprehend the entirety of the scene as soon as we note how the colors vibrate, slide, generating a slow commotion or friction, clearly sensed in advance. All the senses tauten, aroused by a silent, static structure, and take up the same rhythm, moved by or against or with or for it, forming a stage for the exchange of sensation and triggering a pleasure associated to contemplation that implicates us in its unfolding.

The visual distinction between harmony and melody might be understood through the metaphorical contrast of lines of latitude and longitude, between syntaxis and parataxis. Parataxis, from tasso, meaning “to cut”, refers to all the parallel positions that a force is able to establish as a possibility. Each detail applied to the work is indispensable, even those not anticipated by the creator: size, external lighting, internal lighting, color, height of the work, placement in context. An exhibition is still more complex than an isolated work, given the greater number of possibilities arising, like a precision, filigree mechanism. A work photographed for a catalogue functions in an analogous manner, but the artist prefers sprawling shows and museum exhibitions, not only because of the banal recognition access to such spaces offers, but because of the recreation they afford to the mechanism of vision, which always occurs through series and exchanges and never through the isolation of an isolated piece, but rather through interplay, counter-call, contamination, echoes, steps, coraline gestures. Vision. When at its best, the context of the museum makes it possible to add to the challenge presented by each artwork the journey taken through the synapses between works that were conceived under different lights, through the biographical backdrop to each, through the various manners in which each attempts to address an irreducible problem: seeing.

In reference to literature, Adorno conceives of the axis of parataxis, in a vertical relationship to what stands in front of us, as a form of day-dreaming based on the collateral, the non-linear, the unexpected, everything that could be there instead of what challenges us at this very moment. The painter desires all of these images, since his work is to leave us with the legacy of his personal struggle, always lost, always awaiting, constantly open. Only he who waits may find the unexpected, Cortázar quotes Heraclitus: “Unless you expect the unexpected you will never find truth, for it is hard to discover and hard to attain.”

In reference to language, parataxis speaks of all those words that in a specific context, such as a sentence, could be substituted by another within the harmonious development of the meaning. Syntaxis refers, meanwhile, to the horizontal relationship between the terms in a single sentence, the sequential – linear – development of meaning that links article, noun, verb, complement and each element involved. Sequential logic opposite/alongside the spatial vision: harmony, from harmos, meaning “fastening”, as the site of the imaginary mending operations that interconnect a reality to proffer it in a coherent manner, bringing together and covering over the cracks above which it would emerge as what it is, a fragile shape thrown out at random and hidden by the very gesture that forms it. The etymology of “ballet”, from Greek ballo, sends us in the same direction. A ballet of shapes thrown in our face that arouse in us unexpected connections from which emerge a way of seeing, an image that turns into a world, bonded to its skin in an indiscernible manner. The paintings of García Correa are the epitome of this hunting strategy for a region. His medium is the paratactic network that cuts and joins in a single process, that slides and vibrates, negating the silence of its position, its own condition, in the search for a new trajectory in harmony with the controlled chaos of the image.

Imagine

Is the imagination necessary? The value of art, far from being immediate, is one of the processes of intermediation that surrounds us with most intensity. It would appear, in fact, that the very concept of necessity could be disclosed on this basis. That said, one of the punishments afflicting those who practice the activity is that art seems an unnecessary activity, one that asks to be called into question, insofar as perplexity is one of the conditions inherent to its implementation. What’s for sure, who knows, as a space where the thought of Francis Picabia in the Café Zurich takes flight and alchemy: “Only useless things are indispensable”, from which we may deduce that art is a way of doing something useless, indispensable. No-one except the artist foresees the space of necessity where an idea can inhabit an image and begin a journey to the other to find the most permanent lodging possible. Art contains a displacement of meaning that accommodates itself, vampire-like, on the outside of the other; in search of a space. Discovering oneself to be an other in this dislodging established by images is one of the consequences of this unhurried operation to find consolation in shapes. Speaking ironically, a friend declared “let’s initiate an artists’ strike, that’ll show them!”, thereby drawing attention to the slowness of art, which is incapable of acting with the swiftness that, in a strike, might create social pressure. If artists downing tools does not trigger social upheaval, the value of their work would be called into question,reduced to something of little significance, representing values of little or no importance, values and perspectives such as the ornamental or the replaceable, and thereby coming to represent an extreme interchangeability – from every perspective – and embodying a simplifying, anecdotal value, as a joke, a gag, deception, trickery, ruse, episodic mockery, falsehood, pretense, appearance, ruse, façade, cheat, trick, swindle, tale, hollow irony, counterfeit coin… I would caution that a reading of the manuals of the avant-garde and in general the theories and poetics established by artists or creators could be read in this light, as a defense against these unwanted “outsides” of artistic discourse, which are always treated as dangerous or with prejudice. These manuals, the basic documents of a bitter period of reflection on the meaning of creative activity, discuss how to justify the absolute value we seek to accord art, and moreover, the value of which the physical manifestations of art – materials and works – become a vehicle, in this absolute quest to create meaning, consensus, convention and social significance.

Taking place on permanently uncertain terrain as it does, art demands a continuous effort of self-justification. A seminal state of defense where nothing is permanent or can be foreseen, nor does it yet obtain any justification or justice until the strict moment that it becomes established. Nothing of art before presence. And on this basis, a process of adjustment takes place until the higher level is reached, that of necessity. Is art necessary? If, instead of putting these works on display, we burned them, their uselessness would be made plain. If, in the viewing of this complex tool that is an exhibition – a journey through a shared image, a glimpse of another’s vision – a modification in the values held by a group of people with regard to the possibilities of understanding reality takes place, then the virulence of the attempt possesses a devastating intensity, capable of holding sway over time, capable of influencing distant generations, capable of remaining anchored in the collective memory, making history which means creating time, winning space which means inciting and proposing new forms of adaptation for the endless symbolic game that relates bodies to the world that surrounds them.

Mural Justification

The wager of art, its role as an indispensable tool on the basis of its apparent uselessness and of its proven lack of immediacy, is the greatest strategy for knowledge that could ever be created, as it is not aimed at any field of knowledge in particular, but at the complete, complex, full way we have of understanding all that makes us up.

The artworks of Fernando García Correa are murals erected upon this very problem. I define a mural as an exhibition strategy that surrounds us, addressing a single register of projects with serial gazes. To clarify, “project” and “problem” are the same word, formed respectively from Latin and Greek roots, and meaning literally “thing put forward”, thrown into confrontation, a divinatory technique that attempts to gain a presentiment of an image of order. The painter’s lines are seismographs of this proposition – it would appear he means to negate Picasso’s aphorism – they do not meet but seek a state of permanent mobility. Emerging from the background, they expel it, as lines, they multiply their sequence like sonar or a scanner. I am not resigned to transcribing the poetic definition in the dictionary of the Spanish Academy of “sonar”, an acronym of “Sound Navigation and Ranging”, as it may be applied precisely to the scientific and visual criterion of the work of García Correa: “A device that detects the presence and location of underwater objects using acoustic waves produced by the object itself or by those emitted by the apparatus.” Everything goes, if we take the artifice of the painting as something thrown out to hoist up or dig into a problem of harmony: the strategies of tracking down and locating presences and echoes are the forces summoned by the waves of light, the sinuous movement of the lines, their breakdown into restless harmonies that appear to take Rayographs of the constant collisions with a reality that is yet to be unraveled.

Divination is exactly the right word to describe this dance of (re)actions: the prediction of a space yet to be defined, the predisposition towards its appearance, the preparation of the context for an exchange with the viewer, for a shared presentiment. It does not propose a concrete form of knowledge but rather a method, a step, a bearing. Its style may be called prognosis, that is, it predicts an image trapped in a complex web. A brilliance like that of an echo, reflected light, a glimmer without a body. As a result it is worth knowing that techniques are not only material – though we grant these their due significance – but symbolic too. Thus, the principal technique of García Correa is that of complex presentiment and all the formulas that may be attached to this. The Indo-European root of this word, *plek-, refers to something that is plaited or folded.

We shall refer below to the devices associated with this symbolic basis, such as weaving, basketry, even hairdressing, the formal foundations of geometry. At this point, we want to point out that the paratactic basis of this folding appears in full as one of the artist's compositional strategies: complex and complexity, from the Latin plectô, pertain to the sense that seeks an understanding of reality from a different perspective, capable of integrating, hologram-fashion, the greatest number of propositions about a phenomenon into a minimal structure of evocation. Painting in the highest degree: ambitious, powerful. Aware of an intense wager that does not even consider the suburbs of the false outsides to which we have referred as the sickness afflicting the avant-garde, gratuitousness, ornamentation, etc. Capable of accepting in this complicated and complex weave what cannot be integrated into it, the irreducible background, the ungraspable, the resistant perplexity. Perplexed, from Latin plectô, Indo-European *plek-, meaning something entangled, interwoven or sinuous. García Correa’s compositional theme is also literally the construction of this complex eye that is independent of the body, displayed through the paintings. The Latin plexus: a network of intertwined nerve or vascular filaments. Network on hold. A network that arouses echoes of presence. Sonar.

Sequence

The artist’s strike would appear to place the social value of art in question, though the joke focuses on immediacy: art is not produced by bureaucrats, who know in advance the function they have to fulfill and that their non-attendance would rapidly influence the chain of exchange of social functions – no-one else would be able carry out their work if this function is not fulfilled, in a mechanical manner. The bureaucrat is not expected to have self-awareness with regard to his task, or to its creative potential. At most, efficiency: the best possible fit with the actions carried out in conjunction with others. The defense of art concerns itself in the first place with its utility, for we have already observed above the greatest abyss for creative temptation: that of uselessness. Useless is not the same as ineffective or unnecessary. The stubbornness of art and its representatives leads us to suspect that its value should rise above the tarnished values of ornamentation, decoration, fashion, which we refer to as formal embellishments added to the structure that supports a process. Art is based on the experimental development of structural processes for constructing reality through images.

Ornament is a crime if it is a passing embellishment that conceals the less graceful lines of the structures that support and develop reality. Since it is not the fundamental value of such a structure, it is also interchangeable, being added once the structure is fully developed, in the manner of a handkerchief draped over a cancerous growth, to paraphrase Samuel Beckett’s definition of style. Art is the cancer, a metastatic structure that always goes beyond itself and as such is hard to locate, changing at rapid speed, exploring and contaminating ever-new zones of the organism that harbors it. Cancer is a nervous sign, ubiquitous, too fertile and voracious to be contained, and one that seeks to escape its seed in uselessness to conquer the highest prize in society’s chain of the construction of meaning: to become indispensable.

Does this necessary value mean that we cannot live without art? This is the first outcome of a positive answer to the question “is art necessary?” An indefinite artists’ strike would undermine the basis of the arguments that sustain our institutions of meaning, not only linguistic ones but all those absorbed in the first words of this essay, which still hang in the air.

All the tools that underlie our ability to imagine the world would be rendered useless without the assistance of art and, therefore, of artists. The value of the work of art must first of all lie in being worthy of this name, as it is thrown – by the will of an artist and its injection in / reception by others – into a context where it becomes significant. At this moment, the coil is as precise as it is illustrative. Signified, from signum facere, etymologically suggests creating or forming or constructing or manufacturing or making a sign. Signified is the past participle of an action that has left something interjected before us, in a chain of meaning with a name, a sign. There is no art, or communication, or meaning, or essentially anything at all in the human imagination where there are no signs. Nothing human, at least.

Our world is populated by acts that can be distinguished from each other, that declare a direction and that we discern by naming them as signs. As an indication of the value of this seminal act of constituting the world and its archive of images, the renunciation of signs, at its most intense, is a renunciation of the human, an abandonment of the full condition of being a creature in every dimension: interior, psychological, social and of knowledge, something difficult to enunciate for any human being, because it would have to be done from inside the system, alluding to an exterior that is impossible to imagine. This latter can only be found as something evoked in theories of mystic origins, or in diverse cultural traditions, as the most distant evocation of distancing from the human world, or a connection with a divinity where, given the latter’s literal omnipresence, there is no room for any mere human sign. It is impossible to imagine ourselves without signs because they are all we are. Signs like ashes in search of sense.

Swarming Allusion

Never alone, since the signs we base ourselves on or which base us are always produced through an interplay of evocations. A sign in its most naked definition is something that sends us elsewhere, it is a projection, a tropological impulse. The allusiveness of the image become sign is infinite, a coil of magic references. Each thing is something else and is transformed into the next. Each thing, instead of being something silent that confronts the gaze, fades out of itself in search of a meaning to follow. This procedure is central to the imagery of García Correa. Each work swarms and delivers succession in the construction of a logic of poetic evocation through the restlessness of the positions on the surface, and of the surface itself. The poetic logic of this interplay is masterfully expressed by Lezama Lima in his Analect of the Watch: “Each object swarms and delivers succession. The pitcher sweats its stagnant water, and from this static putrefaction where the insects sit and wait, the flower dips its head in the water to cool its forehead. To the marvel of the interpositions and images that are established between these successive jumps, this empty distance revealed in the metaphor remains.” The object, made restless by the artistic manoeuver, taken out of itself, placed at its limit in the thousand ways that art has to alienate the expected, instrumental, functional meaning of things, begins to display an excess of meaning, an unexpected value that is not yet anticipated.

We do not understand the paintings at first and nor do we ever come to fully understand them. They are opposed to this ordered meaning that would turn them into a simple equation or an expected function, domesticated for use. We shall never understand art because its final meaning is resistant: it resists being reduced to the tight corset of an explanation or commentary.

Art explains itself – that is, it unfolds itself – as an engine, direction, meaning, the search for a space of reality to illuminate. We do not understand art, but we do pursue it. It represents a process of extreme trust, following a sign when we don’t know where it leads. In the words of San Juan de la Cruz: “In order to arrive at what you know not, you must take the way you know not.” The search for the unexpected is an image, felt as something outside of itself. Each image, taken without meaning, would not project us towards expectation, but rather towards deception. This movement is summoned around the etymological root sekw, which gives us seguir (follow], generating a sequential imagination. We have referred to the first style of these paintings as the generation of a restlessness through lines that deny their immediate purpose: they do not form a body, but slip past each other until they shake themselves apart in vibrations. They neither deliver nor give away a position in contrast to another, but rather multiply and slip until they are transformed into silent kinetic images, something that projects them with greater power.

Not paintings, but sequences. Second, also from the root sekw, means what follows a first position. Its value is kinetic, seconding a movement, finding itself outside of itself, turned into another. Sequester, again from the same root, indicates the forced disposition of a movement, that can turn into endless possibilities, towards a single position; the violent direction of the sign. The activity of searching resides in this same origin: seguir [follow], perseguir [pursue], proseguir [proceed], sequel, even execute has the same root, in the sense of pursuing to a logical conclusion. García Correa’s images go yet deeper into the restlessness of constructing themselves as sequences. Not only – as we shall explain below – insofar as each image is to be understood in the global context of its biographical development, since there is no image that could exhaust representation, but rather each of them spills into the next and explains the one before as a process thrown forward, which pushes the meaning of the search not to the bottom but into the background, the background against which it slides, each image breaks up fractally into its own interior and is composed of micro-spaces, repeated mirrors, micro-echoes and sentences that sketch out the system of composition as an enormous patchwork, a dispositional non-finite, a map created from non-encounters, a plane ungrounded by the next one, which pulls on it.

A sequence is extracted from each position, from each presence the consequent movement. Drawing or designing, we can sense the hand of the artist: each line calls upon the one to come, which contains the one before it, and recalls each and every one of them. Mural of resonances, because it is made not for the eye, but for the development of the body in its movement, in pursuit of the restlessness of a surface undone in sequence.

Consequence: Material Imagination

The artist needs to think materially, encouraged by forms, in their pursuit. The logic of the ladder rung. What supports us is indispensable, until we overcome it: at that point it is abandoned and left to others as a legacy. If the faculty of the imagination is inherent to the human being, if in the deepest corners of our solitary existence we are always surrounded by images, dreamt up by them, then we have invented a category of action – art – where the imagination is produced experimentally. That is, in an experiential fashion, relying on materials manipulated in order to observe their procedures, to sharpen the senses in their autonomy, to lead them, to feel overwhelmed by their orders, to hear the surprise of the unexpected that resides in them, to stimulate new behaviors. The artist sets out images in front of him, induced by the symbolic exchange with the chosen materials.

We caress matter and the buzzing it makes displays new forms of organization for our ideas. The artist demands his experience through this erotic exchange with everything that surrounds him, which becomes material for experience, for the experiment and – taking up the same Greek root peria – for peril. Each artist differs generically from all others insofar as the material of the world he chooses for his search does likewise; in the experimental orders he sets out in front of him to be able to imagine with them, on them, before them, from their deepest exchange. The draughtsman selects a marked and discrete number of signs, slender and contrasting lines, while the painter plays with the contrast between gesture and color, texture, simulated space. The sculptor chooses from all the possible signs and from all the possible materials those that offer a specific capability of speculation on compactness and volume. The architect calls upon space, the dancer the gesture, the city planner public space, the politician human relations and their symbolic exchanges. Each commits himself to a spectrum of signs in order to go deeper into the projected imagination their potential behaviors might offer, and to re-project in turn a new weave of connections. The politician must imagine a utopia, the planner a city, and the filmmaker, immersed in composing space and time, a film.

A painting is the condition offered by the possibilities of an image. It meets the first condition we have highlighted, not a simple phenomenon but a power, something that throws itself in an unexpected direction. Such is the case of García Correa, in the sense of maps of an unexpected image, of a half-glimpsed territory. The networks, maps of connections, points and knots still move on the outside, the external space negatively marked out by the edge of representation. The margin of the painting is the beginning of an indispensable vibration in a work: the possibility of reverberating in the world, of explaining it, unfolding it, of eliciting from the imagination manifested on a surface the endless pleasurable adventures that are to be had from entering, submerging oneself in the beautiful complexity of all there is.

Intuition

The first defense of art, as we have seen, is made in response to the notion of uselessness. Something useless would be something unnecessary to the process of constant struggle we engage in with our surroundings, or something in a state of transition before another better and more efficient way of adapting ourselves to it. This is to understand our surroundings as all that enters communication in the process we are examining: from the external condition of objects, which in artworks acquire material and presence, to the external housing in others, which at its maximum may be proposed as the abstraction of the human condition, or the narrowest condition of society, to the signs of the immediate surroundings, consisting of an intimacy that would be oblivious to any kind of outside, as a point of minimum concentration, stronghold of the most fragile substances of identification: the self, the I, the creator, intuition. Creator, work, society, as gross reductions of the set of effects affected by the structural action of art, are the terms of this realm or surroundings that puts each of these elements into tension. Territorial stress tests, each of the fixed points is corrupted by the others. By way of an example, the one that seems most concentrated in intensity: intuition.

The Latin intuitio, -onis is composed of a directional particular in-, indicating a profoundly inward direction, and an action, intueri, to gaze, stare, that displays a temptation of referring, unmediated by reason, to the very essence of reality, to capture in an unmediated dialogue the very flux of the world and, as a result and by extension – as Scholasticism would have it – an unimpeded dialogue with the very figure of God. An analysis of this impossibility would return us to the path of thought concerning the value of the imagination. Any process of which we can discretely mark out some part is a determined, definite, delimited, decided process. In all these terms, the prefix de- possesses a results-oriented value, that is, it makes the action depend on another, prior action. In every case, those actions are ones of termination, finality, limitation, cutting, conclusion, finalization, ending. The gaze is a medium for defining the world, perhaps one of the most complete in quantitative terms, given the degree of information about our surroundings it provides us with. Yet it is not the most complex, given that our perception of reality is always synaesthetic, a combination of all the sensations present at a specific time and place. There is nothing in the renunciation of all signs other than the powerful expression of a desire connected to an image, the need for a more intense communication with the exterior, where the limits of the self, the private and intuitive, expand to form the most enormous image we have created for ourselves of totality, of the ungraspable and numinous essence enclosed in the divine. The self, as a discrete proposition, corresponds to the whole, to God. To construct the image to end all images, rather than the one that defines us, describes that mediocre portion of knowledge that we are.

We have remarked that the image always starts from a structured definition of its possibilities, and begins by attacking its lack of necessity. The maximum possibility – one we shall later recover in its echo – is that of transcending every border, even the one imposed by its own presence. Art differs from other minor forms – ornamental ones, to give just one of the categories that define them – in the fact that it always seeks to be radical, to arouse the maximum constructive tension in each and every one of the materials involved in the multiple and complex process of permanent adaptation to a consciousness and its surroundings.

Let us recall once again, as an addition to this paragraph, that consciousness forms the surroundings to itself, it nestles in itself as an image, it determines and limits itself, beyond this permanently unfulfilled desire to separate itself from the world – as a self – and merge itself erotically with it, in death or mystical passion.

What happens, then, with our artists’ strike? How does society depend on their labors? “What remains, the poets found”, recites Hölderlin at the end of Andeken, “Remembrance”. The foundation of our relationship with the other is based on the generation of images. Poetics, then, is the demiurge, the creation or drive of the universe, something that would also entail a fateful conclusion: destruction of the image entails the destruction of the world. It is even found as something latent, which is very interesting for our purpose with regard to the iconoclastic conflict. The image is a power of intermediation between disconnected zones of reality, which are mobilized and have their limits affirmed by being placed outside of themselves, an obligatory delirium for taking charge of the burden and consequences of production, poiesis, the image.

Nothing Viral

Nothing prior to the image. Then, as if in a viral vibration, the zones begin to be discerned; the objects, who looks at them or who projects them, who receives them and who collects them: resonate. These zones are the guarantee of a movement in the world through the most complex tools of intermediation we have available to us, the most interesting too, in the end, if we turn to the hard etymology of the word: in-ter-esse, the prefix in- indicating direction, the particle –ter meaning contrast, which leads the dictionary of the Spanish Academy to translate it as “to be of import” – with the resultant ambivalence between movement of goods and value – together with the verb esse, to be. The interest aroused by an image comes from its ability to be of importance to us, to transport us inside its game, incorporate us into a worldview, creating the world as seen from this perspective. The import an image has for us lies in its ability to sequester us, to have us pursue it, to understand its indications, to understand it as a mute provocation, as a summons to something not yet present, not seen but half-glimpsed. The image creates a world, an interesting world insofar as we correspond to it, insofar as we become other for it and other within in. Creators experience the illusion of believing themselves to be protagonists of a process in which the image rapidly acquires an enormous energy capable of decentering any axis. The artist is nothing but the first spectator, astonished at the appearance of an icon that tears itself apart with viral, cancerous speed.

No artist can fail to be deeply surprised by their own work: otherwise, they would be nothing but a bureaucrat. The objects arranged by the artist begin to import information, both about what is not present and about what might appear after them. In the former case, the artist, in search of a signifier, creates a sign, a voluntary and voluble arrangement that is both fragile and coherent, out of materials and presences. Regardless of the materiality of its presence, art does not understand materials since each and every one of the forms of the world are susceptible to combination in order to instigate an act of communication. All artists recreate a different field of signs, those of which they have become aficionados. Not only those placed in generic groups, but each individual inscription made in the world of art comprises the wholesale incorporation of the personally-chosen signs into the language of the tribe. An idea or a speck of pigment suspended in a thickener, a gesture, a movement, a smile or a memory, compared to the heaviness of the stone or the protean nature of water.

Everything is material waiting to be threaded on to the dream of art. Artists are those who create their own axes, where specific decisions are inflected. They choose to become enamored of certain materials, following the urge to specialize. They choose to dedicate their experience to the communicative development of small missives on canvas or on paper, in which they annotate gestures using fluid materials that will solidify, water that will become stone. They will be known as painters or poets or architects according to the decisions they take, the level of dialogue they care to establish with the problems resulting from taking a decision, from directing their perceptions towards a particular specialism, binding together their ideas, concentrating their observation on a specific swathe of reality, so that on this basis, if they succeed in ungrounding it, the rest of reality will make sense.

To conquer a broad vision of reality, inventing it if we are to be fair, through the detriment of the choices we have proposed (supposed) as individual. Detriment here means disappearance through deterioration. When we establish a position with regard to a painting, it is only for it to beungroundedin an operation of meaning that leads it into a new dimension. As the Eastern proverb puts it “when the wise man points at the moon, the ignorant man looks at his finger”. The role of the artist is to arrange data in order to indicate a position so that it is converted into a sign, a formula subject to specific laws, recognizable and distinct in accordance with the classic definition of the sign, pointing at, suggesting, evoking another space. Ignorance would demand we refuse to play the game, as with this formula of denial employed by many when faced with contemporary art. “I don’t understand it”, “it’s just patches of color”, “anyone could do it (my child can do better than this)”. Formulas of ignorance, from the Latin ignorare, not to know or lack of understanding of the sign as such, only as a phenomenon (brilliance) without meaning. What is fascinating in such declarations is the glimpse they afford of a world before signs, a collection of patches of color without anything to tie them together, a sign without interpretation, a presence without possibility, disjointed chaos, a delegation of our capacity for knowledge – full ignorance, emptiness, abyss. No sign is capable of this, though if we concentrate on their power of communication or evocation of something other, and discovering that behind every strategy of communication an extreme fragility is hiding, we might find that images – to paraphrase Beckett – are patches in silence. They patch over a universe that is beyond our comprehension, to which we only have access as an unworldly frontier – not made mundane by the image – where the self would disappear into a morass of infinite movement.

Conduce, reduce, induce, deduce

All thought, all human action carries deep within itself a germ of its own self-destruction. Not of reduction, but of enlargement to the level of absurdity, insofar as this is the final limit of all logic, of all acts. In any of its myriad formulations, all of them conclusive, enlarging or deepening a thought means displaying its extreme fragility, its murky foundations, its tremendous weakness established through a necessarily hypocritical screen. Representations, fabric, reality correspond to each other in a pleasant story, but as soon as we enact a violent separation of their normality, when we make an effort to separate them, everything becomes swallowed up in a furiously negative horizon: representation merges with emptiness, plot becomes a wasteland and reality drifts off deliriously in any one of its illusory, unreal tales, dreams or madness.

The image as an abyss of meaning and not as guarantor of the world. Violence is one of the founding pivots of knowledge. As such, therefore, we encounter it in the form of a rumor upon which any kind of adventure of rational thought or feeling is constructed, any adventure that sets man, world and image on the same playing board. Let us carry out this maximal exercise on the basis of this painting. Hypocritical enlargement to the point of absurdity, abstraction is the basis upon which this correlation is constructed between a screen that gathers a series of figures and the world that surrounds it.

The canvas or support is a reduced world, a stage set at a particular height and with specific conditions of construction that respond to the ergonomics of the painting that is expected to be placed on it and in front of it a series of dream states will take place in response to the visual lure it holds out. The painting corresponds to the distance from which someone observes it, even in the reduced format through which we get to know most works of art that reside in our memories, the photograph. This catalogue confronts us with reduced images that point at the real presences where an ergonomic essence, a symbolic exchange is concentrated: gaze, dream, image. To reduce is the central argument of the abstract aspect of the work. Only a small number of elements result in a series of connections that would evoke the infinite roundness of the world.

Abstract

The painting is a closed, experimental universe where a series of reactions and chains of sensation are triggered in a controlled fashion and transferred to the world, testing their efficiency when it comes to explaining and finding as yet unforeseen contacts in the erotic chain of the real. If the context surrounds the painting, the ultimate temptation of the power of abstraction is to suggest that the painting surrounds reality, explaining it, that is, deploying it as a concatenated series of intensities, while explaining its interconnections to us, that is, walking over it, creating lines, that is, drawing it. If the painting seems to be a reflection of what surrounds it, then the surroundings are depicted on the painting. The absurd temptation of the painting could be summed up as follows: everything in the painting is an abstraction, like a data capture achieved through the power of reality, which aims to explain the content overlooked in the process with maximum virulence.

Everything is abstraction, nothing escapes this basic process of knowledge, for only the eye of a God that were capable of placing all that is and ever was in front of it could comprehend reality without engaging in this constant exercise in impoverishment. Abstraction means separating out by force, hence the philosophical temptation to interpret it as meaning a mode of knowledge through isolating the components of a process, in a similar fashion to how analysis operates through cuts, separations, caesuras. Everything is a selection process taken to an extreme of the infinite characteristics of all that surrounds us, to reach the conclusion that a final, slender process, such as a line, is capable of representing, of forming an image, and of interpreting therefrom, a multiple series of yet unforeseen events. Everything is abstract, then, the images we see, those we imagine, those we observe, are just a part of the unbounded vitality to which they correspond. We live, know, think and act through abstractions of all that surrounds us, even of ourselves, as self-image. Nothing escapes this web.

Our absurd theory indicates the contrary. Nothing is abstract. That is, the image that is most absolutely detached from reality returns us with an extraordinary cohesive power to every possible association the image might evoke. The eye is always thirsty for connections. Abstract can never be contrasted to figurative, as a naïve definition would have it, for there is nothing figurative or facsimile in any representation that does not entail a degree of violent preparation of the materials that present themselves to perception. A line is a wild reflection placed upon a landscape, a face, an object. It is a fractal impossibility, an efficient violence, a hypocritical mask of illusion upon which the whole ceremony of representation we call art is built. A set of lines presupposes establishing a reductive position extended towards a mobile process, which implies further events, diagrammatic bodies, upon which are designed, also in diagram form, a series of connections that, in abstract, we could call distances. In a geometrical representation a description like this would seem strange, insofar as the imaginative abilities required to return from the words to the images are demanding, though it is important to point out that this definition of lines, field or series of lines and distances would be perfectly applicable to any facsimile, “figurative” or “representative” work, such as a painting by Rafael.

The paintings of García Correa carry out an abstraction of the bodies of the classic fabric of representation in order to display the imaginary weft on which they are laid out. A radiography of a Renaissance painting in which the violence of thought offers the violent and crude interplay of forces in free movement. No painting is capable of disconnecting from the facsimile power of representation. A facsimile is something that does or acts “like”, a mimetic representation that tries to copy the forms of reality. Two parallel series: reality and the image. Two series that are nothing but an illusion endlessly reflected in opposed mirrors. No image fails to evoke a real order, for reality is infinitely richer in variation than any calculated order or disorder constructed in materials upon a surface. Any effort we make to match this isolationist basis of the abstract will always evoke an external position, a possible order, a half-glimpsed order. Whether we throw the paint onto the canvas, whether we blow it, whether we rub at it or leave it as much as possible to chance, a whole series of ergonomic forces – ergon – will act on it: gravity, the body, the weave of the support, the chemical and mechanical make up of the materials, taking it back to similar situations in which these unforeseen orders appear: a wall, a patch, oil on a rock, lichen, reflected light, to speak only of the orders of natural things. The eye is a machine for ordering things, it perceives and understands insofar as it discovers the order and hierarchy in a series of events, interpreting and understanding them. Terror is the sensation that finds no measure to accommodate it, as is the case with the sublime. Fear is the sensation that the image does not correspond to, or exceeds, any order or schema. We would tremble before reality if it appeared to us disentangled from the images that function as crutches for us to move around in it. Perspective, the calculation of distances, arrangement and positions in relation to a point, is a perfect schema of control enabling us to move without experiencing vertigo. Vertigo is felt when there is more than one axis of rotation and revolution of reality before us. We reject what we do not understand, but only difficulty functions as a stimulus towards gaining knowledge of what we have not yet experienced. This occurs upon fully understanding the image in a painting, which does not draw the world, but in which the world is drawn; where there is no context that surrounds it, but which appears to emerge silently from the support and abstractly surround the concrete reality of the universe.

Why, then

Why reading, why writing objectivizes experience. Far from being useless, it would appear as inevitable as a curse. The one who has chosen to become enamored of a series of procedures and forms, accompanied by a series of rituals, is a painter. The foremost of these is hypocrisy, in its original, etymological, rather than pejorative sense. The prefix hypo-, “under,” indicates the mode in which we approach something that constantly escapes us – reality – that is, in a hidden or masked manner. The verb krinein, “to decide, judge”, completes the arc of the sign: to respond, interpret or judge by means of masks. Such is the basis of all representation, for only in hiddenness can what is unknown to us show itself. This is the structure of the half-glimpsed. We can see – witness – what is before us, its treatment as a sign, a call, its meaning and sense, and as such it is taken up with everything that is not present and that is aroused by a different vision of presence, when what we have is transformed into a source of direction, energy, an enigma, a symbol, a surprise – or any other semantic sentence we might propose – it is because it is held out towards another part of representation, waiting.

Hypocrisy both conceals and displays the intention of heading elsewhere, hence its pejorative connotation. Hypocrisy also has the value of interpreting a dream, or an oracle, the hypokrites is the principal actor in the Greek tragedies, who must  hypokrinomai – make an answer on the stage. The actor interprets a dream, as a response to something he does not know. The paintings of Fernando García Correa bear witness to this ritual function in an exact manner. Restless lines creating maps that orient us with regard to what is to come. Nets thrown to trap, to respond to portions of reality we don’t yet even imagine. Hypocrisy that conceals in order to show with the greatest tension, in an enantiodromic action, that which appears hidden: through the restless network of measurement, measurements that are not yet apparent, merely announced presences, a buzzing in response to the shaking apart in vibrations of the dance of lines, networks, forms, knots, spindles. It is worth giving one further indicator of this direction, from the foundation of the pictorial. The etymological root of “color” lies in the proto-Indo-European radical *kel-, to hide, which also gives us “conceal”. Lines concealed in color, taken to a structural extreme to create networks that hide as they appear, thrown onto a disappearing background, negated in darkness.

As a curious signal of method, each of the indications we have proposed in connection to the complete and complex model centered on the poetic act of painting may be exchanged in perspective, in order to be able to see the ritual, for example, from a personal point of view, from that of the artist, from the outside that corresponds to the materials or from the outside that corresponds to others, within social rituals. The attraction and repulsion of all the paths set out function in the manner of a magnetic field, but in their illusory aspect they exist only as efficient stories. They are made illusory by the fact of depending on a condition as weak and fragile as that of interior and exterior, but we have seen how the illusory aspect of the sign is what carries it from its petty and foolish, naked presence to the illusion of its participation with other things in the development of the plexus of comprehensive relationships we call world.

When the sign is focused on this connection with something absent it is known as a symbol, and this condition, this interconnection is so important to the development of human communication that more than one school of thought, notably Cassirer’s Marburg School, or the hermeneutics of Gadamer, cite it is one of the most distinctive features of being human.

The problem lies in throwing out or drawing a line, because therein everything is at stake. In the world of signs-symbols nothing is ingenuous: rather, everything that is created is incorporated into a line of ancestry. The danger of art is not its uselessness, but that it degenerates to a still lower status than that of non-existence: insignificance. Something insignificant is something not recognized as a sign established by an individual or a community: material deserted by its own triviality, without meaning. Nada Brahma, sound is God, according to the Hindu aesthetic maxim: in the beginning is the word – or the action, for Goethe. The beginning of activity is the impulse to create, whence the anguish of all creators in the face of the decisions prior to the beginning. Fear. Of the blank page or canvas, the darkened screen. Fear of the incomplete support, insofar as it must accommodate a limited range of possibility, even if the support itself is already the realization of the initial possibility. The choice of the painter has been to define the world through a selection based on the practice of a limited number of variables: gesture, color, space, psychological or other kinds of illusion of perspective, evocation of an outside, of a window, a mirror, negation… The catalogue of stylographies is vast, so much so that each of the decisions we take in this regard already possesses an infinite background of reference. To repeat: there is nothing ingenuous. Ingenuous, from Latin in- and genus, generis, place of origin, stock, lineage. Ingenuous means free from the marks of a tradition. Like everything that is set out on the basis of the image, we find ourselves before another mirror: ingenuity is an illusion. From the point of view of painting, the possibilities of material and formal variation on a flat surface have been developed to every possible extreme by a long history of trial and – above all – error. Art nourishes itself on the errors of other systems of knowledge when it comes to defining with precision the meaning of a concrete image. When I place my hand on the canvas there is a long tradition that assists me in tracing a line, a circle, or an ordered series of sensations, and which I must set aside in order to achieve the degree of independence and ingenuity necessary to create ex nihilo something that would otherwise presuppose a paralyzing level of responsibility.

Open Circle

I draw a circle and with it, the infinite possibilities it contains. In Malevich’s 1918 painting White on White he translated the canvas as a space of open possibility, split open by a decision after the manner of Lucio Fontana. A seminal appearance of the possible, of what is not determined by its presence but by the reading it provokes, with all the syntactic play of signs and symbols in the words related to “calling” based on the Latin vocare: invoke, provoke, evoke, convoke, where we can savor the directions indicated by the suffixes: to call inwards, to call on something else, to place in front by means of the call or to make available a shared space with others. All of this with the first line. To this are added, with infinite speed, all the lines of the tradition, together with all the lines of definition that have determined that this line should be exactly like so.

The concrete presence begins an endless dialogue, almost maddening if we were to take it to the extreme, with all that begins to be drawn as a result. The circle begins to branch out, and these branches tie into the world, like a virus that in theory we could follow – that is, observe with the gaze from a distance – and it would reveal to us the slender frame that is this illusion we call reality. This is the authentic inversion of the fabric or counter-image in the carpet referred to in the novella by Henry James, the space of the hidden connections woven by a decision.

Abstraction. End.

All human movement carries deep within itself a germ of its own self-destruction. For sound, silence; for light, shadow; for possibility, the infinite or the non-existent. Any action may be reduced to insignificance or expanded to the point of absurdity, the final endpoint of all logic. Each painting amplifies an image in its myriad positions, each point goes wild with the possibility of what surrounds it, attracts it, makes it restless. Each point contains the germ of its movement, each point is a line and each line a plane. They breathe as they shrink and grow, even outside the frame, as a challenge of possibility that stains the silent life that surrounds each space sacrificed to possibility, to dream. The painting, a sonar-image of possibility, makes the exhibition hall resonate, and from the depths of memory, every space that could be imagine. Each point is a sphere, turning on an axis, each sphere destroys itself inside, engages in an erotic and chemical movement of elective affinities that clearly reveals the intimate, ultimate glue of matter, its physical coherence, the intuitive structure of the collage that condenses the innermost part of the world. Extreme fragility and maximum cohesion, matter that is light that is sound that becomes line once more. Liquid foundation, strength of its weakness, hypocritical screen, spectacular. Representation, fabric, reality correspond to each other, but when we separate them out everything becomes swallowed up in a furiously negative horizon: representation in emptiness, plot becomes a wasteland and reality drifts off in any one of its illusions, unreality, dreams, madness and/or image.

And network

A painting, then, is a borrowed and never an imposed vision. An invitation to share a space for looking, accepted, functional, that produces an intense interpersonal story or dialogue. Images create a hypocrisy, a masked but sincere representation, which allows a glimpse of the intimate substance of a way of thought, of a way of caressing the world to leave indications on a surface. It builds a world that is cast out in order to be shared. The artist’s proposal is always fragile until it is accepted by the other, by countless others, beyond time. The more dialogue an image is subject to, the greater is its power to act on this complex mycelium that, for thought and for the life conjoined to it, is the sphere image that surrounds us, that pierces us, of which we consist. Perhaps this sphere surrounds us like the environment that surrounds the painting, a frame, the support for an image and the final receptacle of its poisoned capacity to fascinate.

The image is an invitation. Like “dialogue”, an over-used word. Never has so much been said about dialogue as in our days, torn apart by the random, cancerous multiplication of the communications media. Never before has so little been said using so many different media and in such massive quantities, because it is not the exposure, or over-exposure, of the systems of mass dialogue that gives rise to content, or even a sign. Rather, the sign retreats before the overdramatized noise that refuses to wait for a silent space in which to accommodate itself. Painting is a field that is reborn out of this humble, silent, static, elusive, ambiguous condition. This is its strength. Correa’s points, the lines of strength, wait, know to wait for interpretation. Patient, serene, treasuring time, densifying the sign, which otherwise in being superimposed becomes indifferent, indolent, unnecessary, expendable, interchangeable. Mere adornment. The intimacy, almost whispering, suggested by this painting, summons dialogue, brings about the expectation of an image, the sensation associated with it, with an expansion, a world of connections and stories that are produced in the ignition of the gaze of the other. The image is an invitation to the intimacy of a dialogue held over the erotic flux of everything, of the rest. It invites us to put ourselves in the place of the other – of the painter – who has imagined a sequence of perceptions that are drawn, tied to an erotic and chemical order of correspondences. Which we call reality, world, universe, environment, sphere. The place of the other dreamt by the artist, mirrored in the work, anticipated in the support, is always a perspective in which an accomplice, a spectator implicated by the imaginary glimpse, should place themselves. Like in the woodcut by Dürer, seated at a distance from a reticule – grid, ordo, order – that sets us face-to-face with the world, entangled in it.

The artist is aware of the space in which he stands or sits to see. Aware of the materials in which he seeks to glimpse a state of matter, without exhausting his strength. A glimpse, a rapid opening and shutting of the eye, a striking image, minimal, almost dreamlike fascination of reality. Presence confronted with the sign, the sensation, the chair he sits in, reality always fleeing before order. The glimpse captures and is the central tool of the pictorial world: half-closing the eyes frames the world, tunes the sensations and matter. It captures and retains the vision, on which movement depends, as soon as a precise suspension of what has been seen is introduced into this distance. The silent tension of the mobile that seems to resound in these paintings with a kind of rubbing sound, on negated, ungrounded, infinite backgrounds. The painting tends to express a tension that is maintained at its finest moment, its climax, the epitome of its strength. Choosing the instant of stopping a force without aborting the invocation of its possible development, its consequences and sequestrations. A poetic tic of painting.

Quieten

It is worth saying that painting involves a powerful consideration of the fact of representation using signs that – wildly – point to their outside, to what is not contained in them, while possessing a perfect awareness of their material basis, metapoetically. Critically aware communication, enough to make silence the most elevated form of speech, on the border of the unbearable and surrounded by thudding noises that make it impossible to speak. The artist takes on the role of the observer, using his point of view to define what should be looked at, how, when, from where, in order to later question the reason behind a perspective that is securely and coherently established, yet enormously fragile. Of course it is possible to write about art, despite the ingenuity of those whose opinions are based on a wisecrack of Franck Zappa, that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Sure. Let us dance about architecture, let us play the colors, make literature blush, cook up a ballet. The writer about art – these very words that parade before the eyes that decipher them – is a part of the game of perception carried over into the consciousness. Not only is not everything abandonment; not only and not always is abandonment reached through lack of consciousness. Never before insignificance, which only produces a false, hobbled solitude. Solitude, the real power of communication, is produced in the face of the pain at the absence of the presence of the other, of otherness. Nostalgia, with its beautiful etymological drift, means suffering due to an absence, the impossibility of returning to a space of fullness. The writer on art is nothing other than a conscious spectator, who follows the lines of a path with his fingers, a spectator who was previously a painter, who has foreseen the tracks, the artworks, to which the global hermeneutic process is added, each and every one of the signs that accompanied the process. Painter, spectator, theorist egg on the process of connecting the silent signs with life, with all that surrounds the process like air, with the valences that each of the centers, man, vision, object, matter, society, sign, painting, canvas, museum, gallery exchange in the fertile terrain of art. Signs and communication of valences, silent and in explosion, concentrated and expansive. Noisily silent.

A spectator who reconstructs with a similar intensity the process of formation of an artwork takes on the active dignity of an artist, receives the greatest accolades, that of accomplice or collaborator in the process of creation of the work, receives the greatest gifts, visiting a space that in the midst of the boredom of a conventional and predictable world of signs, crested with predictability, presuppositions and tedium, there opens up a zone of broader possibility, magic, full of resonance. The pleasure appears at the end of this process: we sit in the place of the creator, trust in his marks, reconstruct his steps that take us into a clearing where the premonitions of the materials are disrupted in universal and unique, specific sensations, in an experience that is dense in signs. The pleasure of creating the world, the pleasure of conducting signs, accompaniment and company, resonating.