VESTIGE

Ximena Gama

2012

 

 

"Vestige" is an exhibition that should be viewed across multiple layers. The visitor should not only keep in mind the narrative intentions of the exhibition but also wonder about each of the reasons –pictorial, technical, etc ... - that can be covered in it. First we must bring to the fore how this group of works presented for the first time in Mexico can be understood in relation to each of the explorations of Franco's last years : painting, architecture, literature. Ultimately, fiction ..... and "fiction" as the keyword that comprises and weaves them. Understood as the unique ability not only to render sensible but also to make possible a world in particular. The capacity of art, and in the case that concerns us today, painting, for making this myths present and with them their ruin. Jaime Franco critic questioning is closet to it.

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The works that make up "Vestige", exhibition at the Museum of Oaxacan Painters (MUPO) represent the search that Franco has made in recent years. The study of structures like the Tower of Babel, water towers, or the Tatlin Tower is staged through a mode of work that could be called unveiling of the painting: a job where the predominant use of layers is used to discover and cover images. In each of the architectural versions that appear in his works we can perceive the gesture of unveiling through a transparency or one to cover through a shadow. The color coating functions as a layer that adds up to reveal a whole, in this case impossible structures that appear and become present.

 

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Franco has made a work that establishes a dialogue with expressionism and figurative art. In fact, in a moment of history where these movements are thought by some as outdated, here they resurface as important concepts in his work. The interesting thing is that Franco is not limited to any of these movements, and without ever neglecting painting, lives among them in a sort of limbo. This dynamic can be understood through that position that has gained strength in recent years and claims that contemporary painting ceases to be defined in terms of figurative art vs. abstraction or expressionism to move towards a "figural" act (1). An act in which,  without renouncing to the sensible and concrete object, the image appears not as a narrative-type copy from a model. It is through this image that matter acquires importance, in this case color and line. There is a representation, but it becomes the channel from where you talk about the experience and the very possibility of painting.

 

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However, it is the murals that are made with mud since more than five  years ago that are summit of this process. On one hand, the nature of the material used suggests a life of its own(the natural density of the mud  reveals certain parts of the structure or initial drawing), and, secondly, a concrete structure which by its very impossibility of realization becomes the perfect metaphor to talk about the history of painting itself. A medium that stands like mud in its ambiguous nature, first in the majesty of the material (used to lift cities and civilizations), and secondly as something destined to disappear, something that will ultimately be canceled.

 

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That versatility with which the artist has given different approaches to the same issue and the same resource is a faithful testimony that the technique is not limited, but, on the contrary, it is constantly re-discovered. Indeed this can be said of the re-reading of  classical and contemporary myths that this age has inherited. Here the approach of Atlantis, the Tatlin Tower, Babel Tower are not longer a pictorial pretext, and bring us back to face a concern, even politic, on a structure and a Western desire. One concern about the possibility and impossibility of Utopian realization, and the consequences it has drawn and that many have seen as the ruin of thought.

 

 

 

(From the text “Utopic revelations. Vestige” Jaime Franco at MUPO (Museum of Oaxacan Painters)

 

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