That is what a verse of García Lorca in “Poema de la Feria” affirms… and it is true. Since in this new solo exhibition of Salustiano at STOA, we discover Salustiano’s lost child. A poet who does not write verses, but paints them.
The children’s portraits of this great Sevillian painter emit the lyricism that timeless masterpieces have, that succeed in reaching our deepest innermost being. The exhibition displays a pictorial poem in which the verses have been created with brushes and the words with pigments in an almost obsessive effort of searching for the infant that this Sevillian portrait painter has lost, and who is behind the numerous children that appear in his production. Like the great Federico in his poem recalling his lost childhood, our artist has spent a lifetime looking for that boy who one day, at the age of five, resolutely decided that he wanted to become a painter in order to find love, thus keeping his maternal affectionate nest, to remain in the naivety of childhood… to be blissful.
And in this undertaking, he followed the advice of Leonardo in his “Treatise on Painting”, “(…) the painter or draughtsman must be solitary”, and so he locks himself in his studio to achieve what Kandinsky stated, “The true work of art is mysteriously born from the artist through mysticism”. And from this sanctum sanctorum of the cult of the exceptional, emerged a Salustiano who became a priest of beauty, while at the same time he found his own style, his own self, an unequivocal, atemporal way of painting, becoming a contemporary classic. If painters in the Quattrocento could be classified into two groups, poets and scientists, Salustiano would belong to both. His works constitute an exercise in technical perfectionism that could possibly remind us of Masaccio or Piero de la Francesca, but also of the lyricism of Fra Angelico, not only achieving classical portraits, but also a brilliant contemporaneity.
There is one child who stands out in Salustiano’s children’s series. That infant is Juanito. This exhibition displays some of those “Juanitos” building up the stanzas of this lost child poem, that is almost obsessively sought after by the Sevillian. They show some of the faces of childhood, such as the good, awake, obedient and the reader, but also the perspicacious, ahead of puberty due to the impossibility of remaining in the emotional security of childhood and who announces the adult that is described by José Emilio Pacheco in his verses: “…in reality there are no adults / only aged children” and he has a certain Je ne sais quoi that excites emotion and attracts. As Miguel Ángel García suggests, the loss of childhood that supposes the appearance of consciousness, is repetition of the biblical myth of the Fall.
Contemplating Salustiano’s pictorial childhood may force us to look inside ourselves to rediscover our lost child but who, as Dánae Torres de la Rosa points out, still survives a little in all of us, becoming a safe haven from evil, noting that “the child is the image of creative freedom… the last hope of the human race”. Such introspection will not turn us into poets, of course, but it will show the most vulnerable and sensitive part of our “I” and provide us with a better knowledge of ourselves, the famous “know thyself” of the Greek aphorism from the temple of Apollo at Delphi.
Solo exhibition of Salustiano, curated by Conchi Álvarez. Paintings in oil, natural pigments and acrylic resin on canvas, drawings made with colour pencil on paper and prints on paper.