OBRA RECIENTE - Juan Hidalgo
10 July - 29 August
ART AND SOMETHING MORE OR MORE AND SOMETHING ABOUT ART
The strangest and the most beautiful thing about confronting Juan Hidalgo's work is the fact that it arises almost every time as a personal revelation. In each and every one of his works there is a something more looking at us making us believe that we’ve discovered him just now, in spite of being one of the most fundamental voices in the history of contemporary art. His itchy and elegant poetry emerged in the repressive and motionless environment of the late Fifties. Later on with ZAJ he cultivated an art of resistance, hypertextual, an art that as a permanent freedom exercise questioned the ideological conservativeness at power, superficial rhetoric’s, individualistic mythologies, gender rules and canon. Smoothing the connections between art and life, that until then had been repressed, he dislocated stereotypes, subverted dogmas and disestablished any kind of orthodoxy.
Juan Hidalgo takes care of words and things. His photographic actions condense two concepts or unmistakable human instincts: life (action) and death (photography). Eros and Thanatos. Roland Barthes wrote that every photo is a certificate of presence that authentifies the existence of being, but it also expresses future death. Salvador Elizondo’s Doctor Farabeuf affirms it to be a static form of immortality.
Juan Hidalgo knows that we are born to die and that the only sure thing in life is its road towards death, that’s why his photographs, sensitive to disappearance, adds that more life inherent to action. The presence of sex in the narrative line of his work might relate to this as well: eroticism as a way of life in order to exert death, or the opening of the mind to the identity of orgasm (or the little death), and to final death as George Bataille suggested. Not in vain, Juan Hidalgo sustains that art is the continuous orgasm of intelligence.
Through photographic action he discovers the essential for us, Duchamp´s infra lightness, something we can not understand only through reason. Seeing does not necessarily mean knowledge. Our vision is incapable of capturing all the realities that exists in matter. Beyond their formal appearance, Juan Hidalgo’s images amass something invisible in the shape of a void, a noise in the silence, something that is said and kept quiet, something that worries the eye. The significant object opens the siege to its possible significances, which are not fixed nor steady, but fluid and changing. They ask of an uninhibited spectator for an act of will - the artist warns us in one of his etceteras: if you are not up to anything, do not approach me- to interpret the visual code, the linguistic sign, just as an ideogram. Each picture invites us to look at it without prejudices and to see in a more profound manner the things that at the same time look upon us. Daisetz Suzuki explains that the vision we tend to think of as valid is not real seen from the Zen point of view, and that our seeing must unite with the seeing of things, reaching the identification between subject and object. The objective is to leave behind the self in order to dissolve into something superior to the thing that we look at, which is also dissolved into something superior. Zen Buddhism teaches us that to be is to signify. And Juan Hidalgo presents life just as it is, without detour or make-up, with austere, porous, subtle and yet direct, sober and radical, brilliant and playful poetic.
Everyday life is shown in its full linguistic potential, pointing out multiple realities: autobiographical fragments, the intimate and personal as a political and poetic theme, the business of daily life, of bars, hotels, aeroplanes and airports, hospitals and operating rooms… Juan Hidalgo appeals to what is minimum, providing each object with its exact presence –not great nor quiet, beautiful but not dazzling -; things are what they are, he tells us. In its simplicity lies the power of seduction. The passing of time, the intimate, the word, the voice, laughter, music, matter and non-matter is condensed in the false teeth placed on a deep blue tablecloth. The camera (eye-prosthesis) portrays the body-in exile-prosthesis – stripping the body showing a non heroic, most corporal and real masculinity, - with supreme dignity and the most profound sense of humour, in order to speak of human time-bound metamorphose, of growing old gracefully, as Lin Yutang would say.
In a pool cue that point to a ball inside rolls of coloured toilet paper lies implicit playfulness, noise, entropy, hazard, energy, the contingent, motion, transformation, penetration, hygiene, etcetera. A foreshortened blue hand that emerges like an island against the intense red background suggest the sense of touch, action, loneliness and encounter, masturbation, caresses, greeting, desire, the body, the origin and then again the etcetera. The colour variations in the rose trio reflected in a mirror by Claude Monet points amongst other things at pleasure and pain, music, fragrance, the senses, chemistry, the reflection and the enjoyment of colour.
What we recognise in all this is always life-affirmation, without forgetting its end, affirmation of what has been apprehended through experience, through intuitive knowledge, love and of course through sex .
As a concept artist, his pictures are impregnated by a dyonistic materialism that celebrate existence and true nature of things, its inherence. His way of seeing is impregnated by laughing and poetical philosophy – as the one by his elders, the Chinese- and teaches us to take life less seriously; sensitive to pleasure and pain, of a playful curiosity, with a natural genius to explore knowledge and a profound and sometimes corrosive sense of humour. Both himself and his work exudes Eastern perfume and Zen philosophy, music and language, as well as the people, the animals and places that has accompanied him.
Juan Hidalgo, John Cage’s son and Marcel Duchamp´s grandson, cross borders, genres and languages. His permanent poetic attitude and his creative willpower moves around in a vital, linguistic and cultural space that knows no limits. A nomad, anarchist, composer and musician, poet and philosopher, visual artist; the gran canarian is a citizen of the etcetera, but above all a master in the art of living….. and something more.