What we don't see, what is looking at us: Gabriel de la Mora

18 Oct 2014 – 16 Feb 2015

Museo Amparo

Puebla, Mexico


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With the advent of modern painting at the beginning of the 20th century, monochrome would become the focus of those currents that rejected figuration in favor of the pictorial work as an autonomous entity. Within this narrative, monochrome was to be understood as the logical consequence of the process of the purification of the canvas as a path towards a universal structuration of the picture as an object in itself. This selection of works by Gabriel de la Mora challenges this narrative of modern painting, located between the tensions of figuration, metaphysical universality and the rationality of pure and objective painting.

This body of work, rather than subscribing to processes linked to the aspects of geometric abstraction, reveals figural overtones and/or traces found on monochromatic surfaces, whether these be aging fabrics taken from works which were never painted in the manner of a found object, or photographs with blurred images on the verge of becoming monochromatic. Based on these general guidelines first and foremost conceived as a legacy of modern painting, De la Mora has managed in the past few years to give new meaning to this non-figurative tradition historically framed by the physiological laws of the eye, retinal optics and the phenomenology of perception.

The objects that operate as a support to Gabriel de la Mora’s works present surfaces on which figures are precipitated as latencies, symptoms or traces of time that contradict the alleged purity of the representational zero-degree monochrome. His works, which are a mix of pictorial, sculptural and photographic elements, are images that are transformed from records of the passage of time, a combination of the selection of found objects, the artist’s intervention and the transmutation caused by weather.

The exhibition presents various conceptual strategies for the consolidation of monochromatic works, either from fragments of antique paintings, eggshells, shoe soles, burnt papers and obsidian-reflective paintings, or photographs that have been fogged, moth-eaten and scrapped. Such procedures reinscribe the objectivity of what we see as fragments of what we don't see. Unclassifiable in terms of figuration or abstraction, painting or sculpture, Gabriel de la Mora’s works reveal images of time beyond the literality of the physical records of the works.


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