Who moves the pawns on the chessboard where the destiny of an artwork is played?
The artist of course, the viewer (if he/she is able to face the challenge) and the main player, which often takes
the appearance of fate, and which power neither dramaturgy nor scenography can bend.
This is why some decide to let free this unpredictable character, who, when the game is played outside, peaks
in the light momentarily softened by the erratic veil of clouds: a breath reminding us that grace only visits the
truly silent hearts.
The whipping top is spinning
Thanks to the whipping top
Children discover the dizziness of paradox:
Putting the restless and frantic top on the plane surface of the nail is the biggest prowess of the skilled man:
Placing it on the edge of the nail is like daring to play with the game
To break its rules
To distort proverbs
To play seriously.
Exploring, playing, transforming:
Such is the life of children
The seeming immobility of small cultures
And the insatiable frenzy of great civilizations
Do nothing else.
The forms strenuously shaped by the artist are there to tell us that without game, there would be neither
science nor civilization (nor suffering).
Wise men say that one cannot hide the sun with a finger.
This is why there is the night
Or the moon
Or our firm desire of denial
Or our mistrust of the light
Or our intentional blindness
Fear protects us from our terror
It comes closer
A promise claimed only
To be withdrawn
A ship hardly loaded with a bluish wind
The boat is floating unsteady
Waves leak its naked back to share
Artists always execute a program. One can directly and superficially enjoy the heavy and enveloping atmosphere
of the Sistine Chapel; but it is only a touristic experience if not preceded by the long indispensable
hours required to grasp the conceptual program that Giles of Viterbo instructed Michelangelo by order of July
II. Thus the music and poetry of foreign people often appear so disconcerting that we rarely explore beyond
the point of seeing more than signs of exoticism.
Like all things of value, access to a work of art is neither immediate nor spontaneous.
Allows our eyes
The generous surface of the foreign skin
And that of canvases
To be grateful for
The effort of the craftsman
Who loved the fabric
Which is the body of the work.
(André Chastel said that the great French art was possible because of the relentless practice of craftsmen
with sharp eyes and precise fingers.)
It is only he who was a craftsman, who can be an artist.
Only a few aesthetic adventures are as profound and fertile as the trompe-l’oeil.
Many contemporaries of sister Juana Inés de la Cruz thought that a good artist is not only able to deceive the
human eye, but also the fly and the lizard that succumb to its “colorful illusions”.
However Andrea Pozzo showed us the subversive power of this language: the trompe-l’oeil forces to see that
our senses sometime lie, that in our mouth, wheat is not always bread and wine, even inebriating, can be
incandescent blood. For it forgot it, the reasoning reason was able to jump from a cliff.
A few years ago, Gilles Deleuze wrote a very repetitive text full of convolutions in which he seemed to play with
folding and unfolding the word “fold” to try and capture the viewer’s experience in front of baroque art. But
the key of this language (of this way of seeing the world and living the cosmos) is not profusion but direction.
Baroque is a system structured by vanishing lines directing the eye beyond the painting or fresco. Void is its
Baroque art is efficient if and only if the work is directed toward an almost imperceptible and totally elusive
exterior pole. The painting is really tridentine when air is floating between strokes. Baroque is therefore the
art of tense vectors and a double void created to evoke an absence. It is an art which goal is to split the firmament
and allow the joyful irruption of what does not fit in neither painting nor life.
(Maybe Roland Barthes’s intuition was more accurate than that of Deleuze or Foucault.)
The horizon is a line that never stays put. This is why we always wander, looking for some misleading compass
that gets us lost with promises of certitudes.
Mexican writer and historian in architecture, specialist in Luis Barragán’s work.