HYPNOSIS ON THE ROAD
Fugacity should be considered an artistic category in its double meaning, both ephemeral and elusive. Since the Impressionists endeavored to capture a moment in direct competition with photography, there have been endless ways of catching a fugitive moment, so unattainable for painters until then, representing it, imitating it, making that movement which seemed not wanting to be fixed, kept in absence, figured as gone when it just happened.
However, more unusual is trying to reflect fugacity itself by printing it on canvas, or on any other source, under the premise that a gesture, as Bergson said, always manages to escape. It is automatic: ‘In action, the whole person is delivered; whereas in gesture, only an isolated part of this person is manifested, in secret, or, at least, outside of the individual’s total personality’. During the last century’s National Exhibitions of Fine Arts, the useless attempt to represent in sculpture the rippling of the sea and the swaying of the waves could already be seen, since all that was fluid and unreachable in them became rigid.
What Antonio Navarro pursues with his digital impressions is not as much to capture a moment rather than to formalize its sliding condition, in continuous movement, with horizontal and vertical stripes sweeping the moment and appearing in an autonomous way, like fields of colour, abstract in appearance. They are extended lines which actually depict landscapes, taken from life itself, photographically. In their expressive path they introduce time and, by so doing, they definitely turn that time into something else, an expanded field, a vision going beyond its narrow three-dimensional boundary.
It is a concept that Clement Greenberg, with his formalist dogmatism, would question as illusory. But Rosalind E. Krauss, less doctrinaire, would see it as essential in a new art which does not want to be too historicist and is constructed according to different cultural pairs, not only architecture/landscape, but also unicity/reproducibility. Antonio Navarro, a master of engraving, and therefore an expert in reproduction techniques, strives to obtain unique pieces of artwork which are multiple in themselves, with which a sense of truth is delivered on every print, and to which it would not look foreign if it was done directly by hand, rather than digitally.
His papers are always made of cotton, like a welcoming layer, and when they leave the printer, or the printing press, they perpetuate a journey that the same author acknowledges with Le Breton; it is a product of the ‘hypnosis on the road’, the view of crash barriers passing by, discontinuous lines becoming one, barely drawn, almost like a mirage, in a cadence which turns obsessive, cooing, and whose reiteration can make the adventure an initiatory experience at The Municipal Center of Art and Exhibitions of Avilés.
Luis Feás Costilla