Serge Cantero, Francisco Sepulveda / the reverse side of the mirror

du 1st March - 30th March 2014

Serge Cantero uses images like other people use words.  He assembles and superimposes them, gives them various colours, places them in the foreground or in the background.  The whole becomes a text over which our gaze meanders.  The composition is usually centred around a figure in the foreground, and is supported by it, with the help of elements which the artist places through association of ideas, or simply for balance.     

In the process of creation, formal, thematic or chromatic links emerge, creating a kind of path guided by lines of force in the academic tradition.  Less traditional is the deconstruction of space through fragmentation of surfaces which are superimposed in endlessly repeated ruptures, such as the images reflected in a series of mirrors.  We are close to theatre and its space-time illusions. 

Each detail in the painting has its importance, even (or perhaps we should say ‘especially’) the smallest and most insignificant in appearance can be a clue to understanding the work.  There are no limits to the unfolding and overlapping images even at the borders of the painting which struggle to contain the energy we are certain will continue into infinity.  The painting, a fragment of the effervescent universe, becomes the summary of our interpretation as we raise the veils one after the other until we understand the subject.  We recognise the works’ dreamlike nature because of the lack of signposts and the transformation of everyday objects into enigmatic symbols.  The many cultural, historical and contemporary references give an impression of déjà vu which is both troubling and reassuring.  It invites the observer to plunge into these paintings and to dissect them with delight taking care to savour the silky sensuality of the shimmering colours.

Francisco Sepulveda leads us to the fringes of myth through his enigmatic figures with impassive faces, and his spare style.  We find emblematic and recurrent images of the boat, the bird woman, the centaur and the monster quietly placed on monochrome backgrounds or punctuated by dots and lines. 

The ubiquitous graphic elements together with solid colours, distributed either side of the horizon line, anchor the characters rather uncertainly in the painting or drawing they inhabit, like so many phantom presences.  Woven from the stuff of dreams and from symbols, men, women, trees and animals cross these timeless spaces turning their gaze towards the exterior of the composition.  They seem to be seeking to escape and are barely held by the invisible threads which tie them to an ancestral imagination.  Is the artist suggesting the journey from age to age by using identical faces from the same engravings but with different bodies and in different situations?  Family likenesses thus subtly link the works like the unfurling of an on-going story.  Francisco Sepulveda repeatedly provides signposts along our path inviting us to reconstitute this mysterious universe and to tell its story.  In their silent but eloquent poses, these figures are close to legends, fairy tales, life. / N.Kunz

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