FROM FERNANDO MACHADO
March 2023 – May 2023
Fernando Machado and his repeated interdisciplinary experiences:
Ut musice, pictura / How to paint musically.
– I –
A few days ago, an unexpected phone call –arriving in the middle of the afternoon, when I was intensely engrossed in a highly personalized reading exercise– shook me, bringing me back to the daily work context of my office. With direct ease –a voice that I had not heard for decades–, he limited himself to responding to my concise opening of contact –“yes, tell me”–, formulating, without further audible clothing, on the other side: “I am Fernando Machado”.
After a brief silence, on my part, that supervening sound disruption of my reading came to work, in a translating way, on me, as a kind of rescued imprint of the effects of Proust's historic Madeleine, this time, briefly, through hearing level. My response was, almost immediately: “Mon Dieu!” And I began to remember, curiously, quick moments of past socio-cultural situations... Teachers, exhibitions, researchers, projects and creativity. We had had many experiential points and gears in common, by the way.
The truth is that he had almost completely lost track of that painter and friend, forged, effectively, in the active Valencian context of the transition and of the intense eighties and early nineties... He was someone who was capable of "guadianizing ” life itself, in its linked emergencies and concealments. And now, suddenly, he was knocking, again, without warning, at my telephone door, returning, perhaps, definitively, from his remembered / compromised plastic experimentation workshops (tepSA).
Even, surely he would do it, determined and frank, with his backpack loaded with powerful abstract legacies – playful, sensual, ironic – including theses, which I remember well, and a thousand pictorial stories, secretly biographical, shelled, moreover, in the inexhaustible syntax of his pictorial compositions.
I was glad, without a doubt, of such a call, while I looked through the diary, loaded with memories, dropped on my desk.
– I I –
I must admit that the historical relationships between literature and painting, between text and image, have been very common and preponderant. However, creative journeys and aesthetic inquiries, which, moreover, have ventured into other transdisciplinary domains –beyond that classic territory, cited (ut pictura, poesis)– although, for centuries, they were not excessively frequent, neither It can be said that they have been diachronically scarce, especially since informalisms and plastic abstractions claimed their corresponding experimental rights and effectively marked their diversified and powerful presences. Hence, then, these hybrid visual demands – under the protection and support of influential and alternative proposals, for example, musical ones – have expanded the growing attraction, pari passu, of incisive aesthetic attentions, towards those particular constructive environments and complex constituent processes, between music and painting.
Precisely, in this line of questions, I dare to suggest that, under this epigraph, which I now thread –as subtly as sagaciously– pictura, sicut musica, it would be possible to establish and compare other forms / critical models of differentiated dialogues between the arts.
Thus, for example, we could look, with subtle acuity, by the way, towards the field of painting from the formative keys of musical composition. And to do it even (a) well in a standardized and systematic way, as if following certain fixed guidelines of constructive behavior, based on the versatile use of plural concepts, such as: rhythm, balance, counterpoint, synchrony, structural line, polychromy or strict accompaniment. melodic. But it would also make sense to try (b) looking for the maximum possible flexibility and fluency, postulating, basically, the secret presence of chance and the unexpected, of the free gesture, typical of the sudden rupture, of autonomous processuality, of randomness, not oblivious to the shadows of chaos, fostering formative (Luigi Pareyson) and independent forms.
That is to say, it would be about those process strategies that, in some way, open up unexpected paths and force versatile solutions between chromaticisms, disruptions, textures, combinatorial links of degraded plastic masses, together with the surprises of a constantly skipped spatiality. redefined... and that, nevertheless, threatens -some and others- in their sets results, hidden coincidences and findings, as unexpected as they are redundant, precisely as a certain family air emerges, and cyclical recycled contributions, among the visual cascades of their respective plastic languages.
In fact, for this very reason we can talk about plasticity in musical expressions and strong harmonic tensions in pictorial compositions. Ut pictura, musicae / Ut musicae, pictura. Such are the interdisciplinary metaphorical games, arising from these disturbing creative exchanges, that I would like to awaken –now and here– in the open imagination of the possible reflective reader, who approaches this painting exhibition.
I prefer, therefore, to look now, in these lines, at the field of plastic arts -according to the proposals that I am finding on my way- backed by that double gaze, common and available, which feels fixed, either from the habits of language and / or mathematics, or influenced by chance or spontaneity promoted. That is to say –aut, aut– of forgotten poetry and/or supervening musicality. Because there is, without a doubt, not only a visual poetry, but also a plastic musicality, as is well known, in the verses and in the sonority, which skilfully struggle with silences and whispers, to better inhabit, perhaps, the acoustic spaces of our stocks.
– I I I –
Such happens to me, once again, when I find myself again, some time later, as I have already said, with the disturbing and decisive pictorial approaches of Fernando Machado (Jaén, 1951), when my old friend asked me for a text for his next exhibition, in the Valencian Shiras Gallery, and talk with him.
Reflexive processes that are imposed on me, from the outset, when contemplating their results, with an indisputable and strong chromatic load, between textured, magmatic and disruptive, but that are also being defined in plural forms, which float in a kind of powerful zones. intermediate, giving rise, directly, to spaces touched by strong syntactism and disturbing optical surreality.
“Most of these works, which I am now exhibiting, are the result of a series that I started at the beginning of 2021, in a return to the reduction to quasi-achromatic inks, where I was installed all of 2021 and part of last year. Little by little I was introducing backgrounds that were more saturated with color and from there these latest, more polychromatic paintings that are now exhibited have emerged” (Fernando Machado, 2023).
This is where my interpretive experiences, as an art critic, try to start from now, until I recognize, for example, the gradual emergence of subtle volumes, floating on an indefinite perceptual landscape, suggested by the painting itself, which will gradually transform into a strong basic pictorial space, contaminated by expressive abilities, which will also demand, due to the hermeneutical needs of the viewer, their literary rights –art needs to be spoken– even beyond the musical possibilities, typical of simultaneous counterpoints, of balances invisible or formal rhythms, diluted through colors. Because, without a doubt, color is always here, paradoxically –incarnated in forms, gestures and structures– one of the constant watchmen, although not the only one, of the shared perceptive door.
“Although the final result can give an idea of compositions studied a priori (in the final result some paintings are quite similar to others) the truth is that my creative process is much more random and chaotic than you might think. In fact, I usually start with an informal stain of very diluted paint and it is precisely from that random stain that the work itself shows me the path to follow, until completing a kind of puzzle, where even the smallest brushstrokes inspire me. they are essential. I confess that I myself am surprised that, compositionally, the works are so similar to each other when they have emerged, in effect, from such different paths”. (FM 2023)
Horror vacui embodied in a thousand cumulative conformations, established in disturbing visual cascades, that inhabit these baroque spaces. Retake, modify, superimpose, accumulate or substitute may, without a doubt, be your favorite verbs. They have been for many years and places, contaminating languages and strategies. There will also be no shortage of black holes – covered and braided, at their bases, by fugitive and descending chromatic curtains, perhaps escaping from a biased Rorschach test – surrounded, moreover, by meticulous drippings, retouching and multiple recurrences.
When and how do we actually go from color to texture, from the distance of the gaze? When is a color simply painted or deposited on the canvas? Who gives life and defines whom: the color to the volumetric form or the descending masses, with their breaks, to the plural chromatisms that flood it?
Fernando Machado's gaze is concentrated, to the maximum, on the surface of his painting, perhaps to better promote all the subsequent chained processes. We are not, in fact, facing seductive views of the landscape or large spaces of sublimity. It is, rather, the concentrated force of the gaze on the detail, almost meticulously observed, through a magnifying glass, that prevails in these large compositional series. That is why we need, over and over again, to adjust the gears of our perception and neatly fix our vision focus on things and their elements that make up the whole. Observe, see, measure and recognize, with words, always on the surface of my lips, because I have never stopped thinking that art –openly or secretly– needs the assiduous company of language.
“More than the play of colors, my interest is focused, on the one hand, on the play of light and shadow. From there, I say, also arises my interest in baroque paintings. I have always defended, likewise, and now more, if possible –for this reason I agree with you–, the fact that you encourage, in some way, the confrontation of my paintings with the same spirit that we listen to music. That is to say, pure contemplation that should transport us to floating worlds (this is also the generic title of the exhibition), alien to the rational, with the hope, perhaps, of approaching the truth that we intuit. (FM 2023).
Trace sounds, rediscover intermittently superimposed contributions, or structure visual sensations in the living ensemble of his works? That is the question. From what place does Fernando Machado extrapolate his artistic preferences, by elaborating them processually, in his repeated visits? Where do his original aesthetic experiences start from, when they decide –later– to settle, emphatically, on a sensitive medium, primarily influenced by plural dialogues, with other models of work?
It is those secret dialogues –back and forth– between music and plastic arts that could be secretly aroused here, based on their explicit testimony. "Composing" is a profoundly equivocal and polyhedral word in its semantic action. And, without a doubt, we have here the best possible evidence in this regard. Perhaps, between the interrelated domains of music and painting, the breath of our perceptions and our imaginary enthusiasms is cutting off, leaving us in suspense and waiting.
We may need, intermittently, to analyze the forms and guide the sounds, in a curious descending and staggered path, as if we were getting closer –to the maximum– towards the perceived reality, in his works. Or we can bet on the growing and cumulative synthesis, in pairs inclination for the distance and the whole. Observing from afar is never the same as doing it up close, almost by touch, since art agitates, thus, better our gazes, awakens our abilities to reveal relationships, postulating/tracing the always enigmatic traces of beauty...
The old Horacio already advised it pedagogically in his Epistola ad Pisones, in those immortal verses of ut pictura poesis. "Poetry is like painting: it can be seen from afar or up close" (verses 361/365). Although, today, I would dare to extrapolate its consequences to this rosary of associations of ut musicae, pictura, which we have pointed out, in line with the artistic career of Fernando Machado. Painting can undoubtedly be as inexhaustible, complex, open and testimonial as music...
Passions and concerns combined, then, that could well be weighed, like the two distant and attracted extremes of the same and amazing magnetized continuum: that of creativity, always in fieri, always in a phase of constant experimentation.
He draws everyone to his pleasure (Virgil, Buc. 2, 65).
Undoubtedly, each one is dragged by his passion. That is the fate of the human. But, it is true that, to some mortals, the gods have condemned them to more than one secret existential potentiality. After all, let's repeat it: ut musice, pictura. Or maybe the creative journey can also be done in reverse in some way? Ut pictura, musice.
Roman of the street
Valencia, spring 2023.
Shiras Galería opens next March 30 at 7:00 p.m. the exhibition 'Floating Worlds' by the artist Fernando Machado (Linares-1951). Following the line of the gallery, the exhibition is presented as an abstract evolution of the last stage of the artist, combining as a chromatic and light game resulting in contemplation of the viewer, alien to rationality and with the aim of approaching the idea of truth, through various original works (canvases, cardboard and sculptures) exhibited in the Main Room.
The artist presents his latest work 'Floating Worlds', as a synthesis from the concept of Postmodernity. Synthesis where aspects that until then were treated unidirectionally are combined to now confront them, combining the expressive with the analytical, the intuitive with the rational or the emotional with the purely perceptive. As he himself points out: I understand painting as if it were music; music without words that produces sensations. Instead of musical notes, there are notes made up of colors. These colorful notes create harmony and produce a feeling or sensation. It is an experience that is both perceptive and contemplative. Hence, the desire to reveal the specificity of painting itself as a non-transferable language and the need for its face-to-face and physical contemplation in the search mission to find what we call "beauty".
Likewise, for this exhibition Shiras Galería has had the collaboration of the critic Román de la Calle, who defines the artist's work as: “Reflexive processes that are imposed on me, from the outset, when contemplating their results, with an indisputable and strong chromatic load , between textured, magmatic and disruptive, but which are also being defined in plural forms, which float in a kind of powerful intermediate zones, directly giving rise to spaces
headdresses of strong syntactism and disturbing optical surreality. This is where my interpretive experiences, as an art critic, try to start from now, until I recognize, for example, the gradual emergence of subtle volumes, floating on an indefinite perceptual landscape, suggested by the painting itself, which will gradually transform into a strong basic pictorial space, contaminated by expressive abilities, which will also demand, due to the hermeneutical needs of the viewer, their literary rights – art needs to be spoken – even beyond the musical possibilities, typical of simultaneous counterpoints, of balances invisible or formal rhythms, diluted through colors. Because, without a doubt, color is always here, paradoxically –incarnated in forms, gestures and structures– one of the constant watchmen, although not the only one, of the shared perceptive door.
Fernando Machado, plastic artist, professor of Fine Arts and Design of the Higher School of Design of Valencia and professor Tenure of Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Altea of the Miguel Hernandez University; works since the seventies under a rigorous, intimate and reconstructive technique, which breaks with the modern epistemic order. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and art spaces, among them: The College of Architects of Valencia and Murcia, the Palace of the Provincial Deputation of Málaga, the State Public Library in Zamora, the Finnish museums of Jyväskylä, Gallen-Kallelan, Turku, Lappeenranta, Kuusankoski or Kajaani, the Center for Contemporary Culture of the University of Granada, the City Museum in Valencia, the Municipal Cultural Center of the Provincial Deputation of Castellon, the IVAM of Valencia, among others.
He has also exhibited in various international competitions and fairs such as: at the Malaga Provincial Council Palace, at the Caixa de Pensiones Foundation in Valencia, as well as the Pontevedra and Oviedo Biennials, the Barcelona Contemporary Art Biennial, or at the International ARCO fair in Madrid. In addition, it has works in different institutions, including: The Provincial Museum of Jaén, The Collection of the Provincial Council of Malaga, The Banco Exterior de España Collection, The Fundación Caixa de Pensions Collection or the AC Collection in Barcelona, and The Collection of the Provincial Council of Valencia.
This is how Sara Joudi, artistic director, defines “Floating Worlds”: an exhibition that will surprise the viewer due to its chromaticism that gives way to subtle volumes expressing a poetic abstraction in an endless search for the most genuine beauty.
This exhibition can be visited at Shiras Galería until May 13, from Monday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.