“What you are you do not see, what you see is your shadow.”
Alban Martinez Gueyraud
Architect, art critic, member of AICA
The Argentine artist Alexis Yebra presents his new series of paintings entitled La sombra y su huella (The Shadow and its Trace). Many of them large-sized and all of them painted in Asunción, Paraguay, at the beginning of this year. These works constitute a sort of prolongation to his previous investigation, the series Subte Asunción (Asunción Subway); but in his current works he develops a renewed language, much more privative and suggestive and attains through them a poetic that pursues unity and sense, despite the apparent disaggregation of some of the visual elements that compose them.
Lately, Yebra has been opting for a path that synthesises antagonic positions creating direct bonds even between binary oppositions such as form and content, or appearance and spirituality. In this sense, in his works there is no fundamental difference between image and pictorial structure, since the latter is likewise image, even if it does not offer clearly any figurative profiles.
Likewise, the artist enters the territory of sensations, but he does so in an astonishingly subtle manner, despite the strength with which his images are manifested. A code full of symbols and of transgressed syntax, built on the basis of principles of noteworthy economy and frank gestures. This body of ideas that Yebra puts into practice entails a link with Oriental thought, which has of late constituted a strong continua for his speculative enrichment.
With these paintings, the artist lets the materials talk, granting them the freedom of circulating and suggesting; but a multiplicity of shadow traces and strokes of his own fill these materials like manifestations of desire and of memory, manifestations that were hitherto submerged. Yebra is not attempting to pursue representation, but to underscore the act of presence by taking everything into the foreground, into the extensive surface that presents itself at hand and urges the viewer to go through it, both mentally and visually.
And it is in that going through, in that going beyond the forged shadow, that we come to realise what these works intend to illustrate -by means of paradox and contradiction-: that what we call “reality” depends on our degree of observation, and that to begin to perceive the deepest interpretations of things, we need to turn to means and details that are simple and considerably close to us. For that reason, Yebra’s interest makes sense, an interest in everything everyday and imperfect, which makes up our immediate surroundings. And also, that is why the validity of the essential and the symbolic is renewed, without which all the rest would not exist.
Asunción, May 2012