The Essence of Objects

By Maeva Peraza

Roland Barthes used to say that photography captures and repeats the existential, since it needs the real with its untiring expression.1 In this regard, apprehending multiple contexts would mean translating and reinterpreting them with the truthfulness of documentation. Antonio Espinosa knows this difference and takes advantage of it in works where objects not only connect us with a specific reality, but also replace human beings in the artist’s urge to demonstrate to what extent contemporariness is being interfered and fragmented.

Although his approach to the photographic universe is a recent one, the maturity of his proposal and the organic dialog he establishes with the rest of his production are to be emphasized. We do not find here the taste for the photographic historicism that is present in many artists, nor the absence of color that distinguishes his painting; on the contrary, we are looking at pieces with a chromatic effect and dynamics that recalls the Pop visuality, where the concentration concept holds an essential position. The accumulation of different objects evidences the creator’s taste for agglutinations, adding meanings and interpretations to the image that, in the end, turn it into a micro universe.

The triptych Sujeto Colectivo, in turn, draws attention to certain elements alluding a collectivity that has been penetrated and fragmented. Each of the three parts of the work: Alienados, Sugestionables and Conformidad, sharply announce the lacks of a subject that is not to be seen in the works, but who is constantly referred to. Commemorative seals, pharmaceuticals and candy seem to be the phases of a condition finally leading to alienation. A nameless mass underlies these accumulations, where objects replace humans as reflection of our appetites.

In the same way, the series Estudio para un jardín paulista considers the possibility of plurality, evidencing that the artist does not hide his references. In this case the pieces interact with Piet Mondrian’s visuality and the images are articulated in the same way in which the Dutch artist created his color rectangles, but in this case it is flowers that determine the form. Likewise, the ensemble El jardín de las delicias also uses flower motifs, but here they are plants that no longer exercise their normal role of embellishing; words of controversial nature such as Democracy, Politics and Freedom are thus created from the allegedly disposable and useless, alluding to the static nature of the present situation.

But the taste for using words to create the works is not exclusive of this series; others also share it. Revolución and Resistir manipulate words adding new meanings to them; in the former, the commemorative stamps that at one point were delivered in official activities now question the appropriateness of a process where the bonds are established through a constant return to the past. While in the second one, the act of permanence is associated to the loss of self-conscience produced by drugs, as if tolerance were characterized by eluding control in all daily spheres.

These images, explicit or symptomatic of a reality, do not require a particular context; they are in themselves, perceptive and revealing, that is why they communicate with subtlety, from the essence of the objects.

1. Roland Barthes: La cámara lúcida. Paidós Publishing House, Barcelona, Spain, 1994, p. 39