REAL, POSSIBLE, VISIBLE
[The Olympic image of dystopia in the sculpture of Fernando Suárez]
ÓSCAR ALONSO MOLINA
- It seems like a utopian dream ...
- Dreams are no longer dreams.
Villiers de L'Isle- Adam
-The Future Eva-
As fallen from the ideology of an avant-garde program, the language of the comic, whose development is paradoxically parallel to that of the official history of the aesthetic revolutions of the past century, even the previous one, has been characterized from its configuration and even its current forms by a singular relationship of the real with the possible, and of both, in turn, with the visible. It would be enough to recall, for example, that delicious usual section of the building at number 13 rue del Percebe, where by magic the reader was not only able to access the domestic interior of his absurd neighborhood, but also do so in a synchronous and combined, something that would have delighted Georges Perec in his Life: instructions for use. With such an impeccable and definitive cut, to our surprise not even perceived by the tenants themselves (there was no metalanguage), he realizes to a large extent how the comic operates in its entirety as a complete visual language, when it takes life as a basic reference human to transport it to a limit world where it loses its habitual forms and the parameters in which it can be interpreted. As in that community of neighbors, told in jumps and by parcels, but nevertheless entirely and firmly cohesive by a fixed reading frame, parceled itself, simultaneously, the comic allows the viewer to approach the visible in exchange for putting him on the edge of an imaginal abyss, a kind of caesura with the strong conventions of our symbolic relationship with the real. For its operation, then, the idea of the matrix as an articulation of discontinuities is fundamental.
The sculptural bodies, the devices and settings designed by Fernando Suárez that we can contemplate here owe a large part of their energies to that amalgam of the real-unreal (man, the world of fantasy, fantasy, futuristic dystopias), with the possible-impossible (the bionic, the cyborg, the replicant, the mutant). Before our eyes, what we can see of that apocalyptic and rarely technified world that he proposes is, at the same time, scheme and synthesis; after all, it could even be said that a new way of weaving together the disjointed, what is and is not at the same time, with the sticky force of the aesthetic.
In the universe of the vignette to which his poetics makes constant references, elliptical or not, these bodies of Fernando Suárez would most likely lengthen and lengthen without end, deforming in complete tranquility; or they would eventually explode, while leaving behind disjointed parts of their anatomy without prejudice to the viability of the whole. The internal logic of the comic is like this. There, in all probability, we can imagine around him the shock waves, shock waves, or the movement of all that incessant plastic activity, of an ultra-dynamic world, while we read the onomatopoeias of the buzz, the roar, the squeak, the crackle of belongings and beings. These bodies of hers, I say, embodied in sculptures based on sheet metal plates and industrial remains, transform the entire syntactic repertoire of their graphic origin in the search always of a pregnant moment, that decisive and most eloquent moment where the past and the future meet. they balance prodigiously, crystallizing the highest significant density around them.
A past and a future that refers both to historical time (with that mixture of eras and civilizations so much to the taste of our artist), and to the action itself that the characters who star in his works undertake (suspended in their flight, when taking off or put your foot on the ground, at the culminating moment of the assault, to collect a piece, to derail, attack, hit, fall, get down ...). Thus, the hunting of primitive man, the domination of hostile nature, survival, melee war, go hand in hand with a retro-technology that reminds us of the dark vision of our own civilization in Blade Runner, the cyberpunk, or sagas such as those of the recently deceased Moebius, Mad Max, etc., where the worker is at the same time a warrior or a cowboy, the skilled technician a fighter, a contortionist, an athlete or an acrobat.
The predominance of the heroic gesture of the human being in struggle with a hostile and undefined context at an epochal level also shakes hands with Suárez's taste for neutrally presenting diverse scenarios that account for the construction activity of the species. Buildings that are raised or destroyed, bridges and boats, stilt houses and favelas, aircraft (both space and typical of the birth of the era of aviation, or simply invented by mixing both times and adding other futuribles), oil platforms, cranes and pulleys, machinery … But just where the sculptor dispenses with the human figure, his comments are contained to the point of almost objective enunciation (and when the fantastic bias predominates there, furthermore, it does not appear tinged with morality or epic), without distortions. The case of some of his best pieces, where the installation dimension is tempted, as in his Frontera, supposes in this sense the counter-image of that open building on Percebe Street that we mentioned: the built perimeter of prison reminiscence is, as its title indicates , pure exteriority -the sculpture itself-, whose patio or interior delimited surface can adopt one form or another depending on the exhibition conditions, presenting itself as an emblem that excludes - by dimensions, by its own configuration, by its scale that exceeds the model or the toy but still ostentatiously prevents the occupation - who looks at it in an ambiguous way. The prison, the concentration camp to which this firmly guarded fence refers, is a place paradoxically open to interpretation due to its unstable accessibility (not like in the comic book building that concerns us, where the meaning hardly lends itself to ambiguities by its crystalline transparency).
On the other hand, where cutting-edge technology is amalgamated with rust and hardware, where there is no solution of continuity between human and humanoid, other authors have already experimented with the vertigo of imagining the past from a future to which we have not yet reached accessed (like the Syrian-born sculptor Diana Al-Haddid and other retro-futurists), or even the present itself from the eyes of the undead, of the future (Speer, with his "theory of value as ruin", designing the buildings of the Third Reich according to the appearance that their rubble will offer for civilizations that would surpass the millennial empire itself that was forged with them and to which they gave public and visible formal manifestation).
But humanity in the hands of Ferando Suárez is more disturbing and more fun than the present; offers a face with dizzying leaps back in habits, technique and technology, while dreaming amazing combinations of fusion between man and machine, organic and animal life, styles and cultures most distant in space and the weather. But his vision of the possible and the real is, beyond the undeniable playful aspect that it offers, it would also be said a reflection on the current limits of our capacity for progress and growth, announcing the return of vigor and virility with the vehemence of what arcane. From the materials he uses to the actions he recreates, his work speaks about it, without forgetting that in his settings there is hardly any place for traditional lyrics (in this sense he distances himself from another sculptor with whom he unexpectedly comes into contact here and there. , Curro Ulzurrum): everything between his hands acquires the strength that the blacksmith instills in his creations; a blacksmith who, like his mythical progenitor, Hefesos, in the forge conquers with hammer blows the form as the destination of ideas.
Death is, yes, the discreet companion of all this tumultuous, vehement and I would say that a somewhat furious repertoire of heroes, athletes and soldiers who unfold violently with their fists, using all the skill and courage that it is not difficult to suspect among their iron muscles. It is something that reveals itself above all in the risk and violence that distills the entire iconographic repertoire most expensive to the artist, and that I would put in relation to the latent, hieratic violence, and overturned on childhood, by Gerhard Dementz, where bodies of the children they always appear also composed of a visible inlay and enduring a tension –in this case psychological- terrible. But with Fernando Suárez the adult man appears again and again, mature, strong, in full control of his physical capacities and put to the test to the limit of his strength, perhaps as a transcript even of the sculptor's own task in his workshop ...
Along with this, it is worth highlighting the constructive rigor of each of the parts in all the pieces, especially in the most complex or articulated ones, and especially in those with greater structural ambition, such as those of the Indian reed assemblages or the slums in Brazil, to give a couple of particularly brilliant examples. But, frequently, it is that same control of the form from the strictest internal ordering of the parts that make it up that makes Fernando Suárez's sculpture so convincing on a formal, physical, tangible level. Where gesture and movement are added by shaking to this rigorous frame everything quickly becomes more graceful, even I would say a little easier. It is where poise and pregnancy (not heaviness) mark the guidelines of what is enunciated where the artist's diction offers us its most successful results, although also on some occasion a somewhat inert and inconsequential stasis. Perhaps because imagining that nightmare utopia to which it often leads us almost inevitably leads to paralysis, and we need to see some life swarm there, a very lived life in her case, however rare and unlikely it may be, so as not to end up closing eyes and think that everything is over. What is possible, together with what is visible, I insist, are ultimately the materials - no less heavy than iron itself - that Fernando Suárez is up to in order to build an altered, rarified but undeniably suggestive reality that we might not take long to develop. get. He already has.
Ó.AM [Madrid, April 2012]