12 Apr VOLTA NEW YORK 2022
18-22th of May
For VOLTA NEW YORK 2022 we propose a dialogue between the urban landscapes of two artists, Conchi Alvarez and Miguel Angel Iglesias. The urbs as a space that, ever since its first appearance way back in the Neolithic Era, led an extraordinary revolution that would change human life forever. The city, the quintessential social space, is where the dreams, longings, thoughts and reflections of these artists take place. And it is precisely in New York, in Manhattan, where our project makes the most sense.
Miguel Angel Iglesias and Conchi Alvarez reflect in their urban landscapes the plurality of views and perceptions that the city generates. Each of them has a particular approach to the city, despite sharing many elements. The most significant similarity is the absence of human beings. A curious coincidence, since urban zones, inhabited spaces par excellence, appear devoid of human presence on their canvases and panels.
Both creators have the spirit of the anchorite, needing solitude in order to create. And it is in the isolation of their studio that inspiration comes. In Conchi Alvarez´s case, it comes through the memory of spaces experienced, walked through, and then relived in a controlled daydream; whereas in Miguel Angel´s case, it derives through spaces flown over, to be subsequently explored and analysed. The cities are empty since this exercise of reliving, dreaming or scrutinizing the city masks endeavours to one´s inner self, as well as certain fear of socialisation.
For Conchi, this search has become a peripatetic exercise through her beloved cities. Said cities have been transformed into her own life itinerary because each glance at the city, is a mirror that reflects her own life back at her.
Miguel Angel’s quest is an almost mystical meditation that serves him as an instrument to get closer to people, to socialise. With a zenithal gaze, from a controlled flight, he turns and changes the angle of each new work, while he reflects on that ideal city in which its citizens will display an extraordinary coexistence.
Both break from monochromes and grisailles, creating urban spaces bathed in bright, optimistic colours. Conchi digs through the grey and atonic walls of urban fixtures to discover, through light and colour, the essence of the city, unearthing its own soul. Miguel Angel develops perspectives where he models the buildings through intense colours to channel his emotions. From the emotional distance imposed by their studio, both sketch their ideal city, luminous and colourful, which invites us to live in it.
The two side walls of the stand are the starting point for this urban project: acrylics by Miguel Angel that encourage us to fly over his ideal city. Upon apprehending it, a process of synthesis begins in where the city becomes blurred which helps us to land and enter the urban world of Conchi Alvarez to walk in, live and enjoy her city.
His cities are compositions focused on the most modern downtown, in which skyscrapers supremely reign as erect rationalist sculptures. He presents a city from a bird’s eye view to compose exhilarating perspectives that invite the viewer to jump and fly over these giants of steel, glass and concrete. Like a conjurer, he changes the direction of the light to achieve magical perspectives in which the Sky Line of the City, from its suggestive stereometry, promises infinite possibilities.
The artist says that he locks himself up in his studio to continue his self-discovery, and this search can be detected in each painting, in those everchanging angles that reveal an eternal Penelope who does not unweave the fabric of each and every work, but rather weaves a new one, whilst always yearning for the arrival of her Odysseus to take her away from the abyss and solitude.
He began by painting grisailles, for the city he saw and lived in was sad and full of contradictions. In spite of this, colour started taking over given that his emotions and sensations were channelled through it. His hope for an ideal, harmonious city, the one he would want to live in, was then imposed, as happens with colour. Each colour has meaning in itself, but at the same time gives meaning to the others that surround it. Just like living in society.
Her colourful urban scenes seem at first sight cheerful and full of optimism. But in reality, each one of her works hides the apotropaic value they have for the artist. Each piece is endowed with the magical propitiatory character of Palaeolithic paintings. The act of realistically painting the animal promoted its appearance, its potential hunting and therefore, the continuity of the tribe, id est, its survival.
Each of Conchi’s paintings is an amulet to ward off nightmares, bad omens, worries… but also, in the very act of painting each work, alongside with the nostalgia of the loved and enjoyed space, there also is a deep desire to recover it, to relive it, recreating and feeling once more all the magic from the seduction between the urban corner and the artist, who makes Gustave Moreau’s words her own: “I do not believe in what I touch or in what I see, but in what I do not see and what I feel”.
The urban route could not be more subjective, as the artist navigates only through cities which she loves wandering through, exploring, living and feeling the city whilst on a journey to find herself. Said journey always takes place in the old town, a place where urban history is condensed, where a multitude of essences and experiences are superimposed. These layers are transferred to her paintings, in a metamorphosis of colour that does not affect the forms, as the corners and streets are easily recognisable.
Solitary moments and space in which an absent humanity seems to have lived in, yet there is no person in sight. Such spaces seem to be only revealed to the artist.
Her passion for archaeology explains the creative process in which each new glaze of colour excavates a deeper layer of that urban space, uncovering an unfathomable code of shapes, lights and colours only accessible and interpretable by its discoverer who, stratum by stratum, manages to reveal, disclose and study that urban snippet. A process that unravels its own history, as this urban itinerary transforms into her own life itinerary, in which her gaze towards the city becomes a mirror of her own existence.