critical texts


Without Catalogue. Painting by Manuel López Oliva (fragment)
Rufo Caballero
It is precisely during the 1990s that his painting takes a new turn from drama to play, just like history unfolds, as it is said. It starts with a voracious fire in the cathedral, becoming a silent and seditious symbol of the nation, as if it had been crossed by a cross that makes it bleed, summing up the dramatic nature of this exorcism. However, the divine and shelled voice of La Lupe, singing "Theater, yours is merely theater," will be heard soon. Now the notion of social life as a theater, of the mask as reality, of ideology as falsetto - or a comedy sketch? will not only be, it is boasted, the echo of post-modern carnival; the front stalls, since the cathedral is on fire. This last representation becomes the apex of a mature artistic and organic thinking able to seize the whole system of ideas and signs it has forged, shaping up as years pass by, in the allegory of the liturgical stage an the flirting of the masquerade -to the center, the cathedral transmuted into its own mask exudes the tragedy of its fatum. The critical ability of the artist (that is, the painter-critic, not necessarily the critic-critic), allows to depict and examine almost all the history of art, from the meticulous pointillist critic to the informal gesture, from figurative expressionism to geometric abstraction including virtual replica and formulae of other languages, such as tapestry, stained-glass windows, illustration, mosaic art or miniatures, like the full theater calls cuddling, acrobatics, dance and painting. A skilful way to make the apparent beatitude of contemplative making into a functional trap that turns the most rhetoric people into an accomplice, proving that beauty and asperity does not have to be excluded like many latest beginners have tried. The end of the performance is announced with this approach from bi-dimension, of several symbols that re-contextualize the Greek-Latin heritance or take the medieval icon, a subliminal information with color and even some gloomy wink at Dali. Rufo Caballero, art critic. Excerpt of a larger text in the catalogue for an exhibit "Without Catalogue." Painting by Manuel López Oliva, La Acacia. Julio de 1993