ABYSS OF THE PUPIL
Bonnard said that all paintings contain an invisible point where
the tensions of the gaze converge with the dominant compositional
lines. A point of suction and of balance brooking no dissent,
which he located more or less at the centre of the canvas. The
existence of this point could not be disproved by Gestalt theory,
the Bauhaus, Malevich's suprematism, and was perhaps already affirmed
in Turner's torrents of formal dilution and the passionate, violent
gestual whirlwind of Delacroix's The Death of Sardanapalus; authentic
hurricanes whose eye encapsulates, explains and sustains, in its
contradictory stillness, the movement whirling madly round it.
A section of
humanity believes our bodies are dotted with points or chakras;
doors through which energy is channelled. And what of our ancestral
longing to focalise all the mystery of the beginning and end of
things in a single place, a kind of omphalus of the universe,
hypothetically giving access to the knowledge of the unknowable.
Also lurking in the individual and collective unconscious is a
mix of terror and fascination for the abyss and its hidden deeps,
home to who knows what horrors and wonders. The vertigo of the
crossing point from one reality to another - unmapped and therefore
more fascinating, between reality and its dream, between the opposite
extremes. H.G. Wells warned of the charms and dangers lying on
the other side in his delightful, multi-layered short story The
Door in the Wall. And Dante gave the deepest of his Inferno's
concentric circles to Lucifer, the compendium of opposites who
skewered the world in his fall, sealing for all time its division
into light and darkness.
The law of the
centre, omphalus, the abyss. And probably more things. Or none.
Because Luis G. Adalid has been obsessed for years with one idea:
that of the hole, or craters or openings or whatever we like to
call them. An obsession which spurs him on in his grim struggle
with the canvas; his concentrated efforts producing a point of
magnetism that compels the gaze. The artist's swirls of paint
stand between the minerality of the oceans or the tortured earth,
the unchained elements of the air and the organic clays full of
tiny beings (in Elogio de la impostura we can see small stuck-on
figures dragged along by the paint), with a firm mastery of the
acrylic medium, glazing and load matter/impasto. And all this
magma contrasts with the disquieting presence of deep holes. Transforming
the land into a barren waste, a void, for the hole seems to absorb
all energy as well as our attention. The promise and the threat
lie down there below, the dark well or the point of blinding light.
Luis G. Adalid connects two realities and two spaces; that of
pictorial representation, physical, tactile, rough to the touch,
and another space left undescribed but whose presence is magnified
by ellipsis, by its absence from the visual field. A space we
perceive through the magnetic connecting wire of the hole. The
gaze being proposed here is one that traverses the flat surface
of the canvas, a perpendicular, penetrating gaze that seeks the
space behind the painting. To duplicate or multiply the visible
space. Break through the barrier and open up a bottomless abyss.
Lucio Fontana pierced the canvas with a blade. Adalid pierces
it with paint.
reductionism in grays, streaked with faint accents of colour,
helps create a unity of diction. Yet within this unity we can
intuit various levels of contrast; the true though hidden force
that is shaping the ensemble. Contrast between thickness and lightness,
between material opacity and subtle transparency, between the
fullness of a surface without beginning or end and its annihilation
by the wound that rends and questions it. Between the infinite
stillness of a predictable space and the dramatic appearance of
a wound of unfathomable consequences.
The drama is
also there in his thought-provoking work on paper, where Luis
Adalid uses a warmer palette to paint evanescent mists enveloping
piles of half extinguished embers, the ashes or remnants of a
cataclysm concealing from our gaze spaces of intangible depth.
Fire, flood, mud, ash, reconstruction. Painting. The product of
the artist's struggle with an obsessive, hypnotic labour that
annihilates and regenerates him. Infinite precipices that give
onto the dark abyss of our pupil and leave behind a path splashed