La sombra transparente | The Transparent Shadow | 2003
Despite his ability to create masterfully executed figurative oils, Vicente Peris appears to momentarily reject the well-traveled paths, immersing himself in the creation of new forms of artistic expression that might allow him to capture authenticity, a concept he relentlessly pursues in his quest for veritable reality.
Shut-in with dancers and the hundreds of meters of canvas before him, this great virtuoso of oil painting strives to paint these bodies in movement or in stock- still compositions, with a literally explosive mixture of pigments and powder, only to later deflagrate them cleanly like an expert alchemist in the olio of his canvas.
But the process itself is part of the oeuvre, and the testament to this intentional decreasing of real bodies to mere shadow, to the plane of a canvas through movement and fire is recorded in a stunning video. Without it we would be unable to ask ourselves if this impressive painting of charred remains on canvas, this composition of anthropomorphic figures might not be grasped much more profoundly as an allegory of the myth of Plato’s cave in literary material not referenced for the project.
In other words, what “remains” can be read as an indication of the truth underlying another hidden and complex reality: the one about the bodies, not their shadows; because this art… or Art… might function as a clue to what has eluded our senses as authentic, as real.
And, unlike his other efforts, it is important here, as it generally is with regard to the more recent Peris, to be acquainted with the process of the work as we ponder the “remains,” Because absent of that, we would be unable to formulate certain key questions that illuminate our consciousness and our capacity to enjoy the work… and because Art does not render real answers, but rather raises real questions.
Therefore, we encounter a work that is not solely the concept or the event, not just the process or the installation of the final remains in the form of a continuum which could be considered a single work, and classified as such… but rather all of it together, a format or a form of expression remaining nameless, yet rendering still, an elating and ingenious discovery.
The several hundred meter continuum is exhibited along with the video, and it is organized into an arrangement of spaces and islands which yield visual reconfigurations of new compositions of shadows on planes of varying depths… they in turn allow for the suggestion of the original tridimensional physical shape, enabling us a glimpse of the ultimate reality and authenticity that lie behind the shadows that Peris is so compelled to pursue.