INCLUDING WORKS NEVER BEFORE EXHIBITED IN PUBLIC
The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Málaga proudly presents The Snow Is Dancing by the Málaga artist José Luis Puche, opening 17 May. The exhibition will feature twenty-nine paintings, many of them created specifically for the occasion. Puche deconstructs perspective, creating different visions and simultaneous alternative narratives.
Leaps into the void, animal scenes, mysterious situations, visual games and blister packs of pills blend with the reality of the characters. Puche creates unsettling Pop images that look like film stills of something long gone or imagined, subverting our perception as spectators and forcing us to look more closely and intently.
“The snow is dancing” in José Luís Puche’s words
As José Luis Puche explains, “This exhibition is a very thorough project in the sense that the creation of every picture is an exceptionally personal process. It’s an exhibition constructed blow by blow, drop by drop and work by work. The violence of the creative process is present, not from the perverse human perspective but organically and in the manner in which nature carves out its territories, from beauty, like the way in which the lava from a volcano in eruption creates an island. They are drawings born with the desire to become paintings, through their contact with water, but ultimately they can’t renounce the essence for which they were created, which is drawing.”
For Fernando Francés, director of the CAC Málaga, the artist’s work “slips into the spectator’s mind with a strange familiarity and subtle surreal nuances, almost like a déjà vu experience. Film noir images like relics of a lost world. With his solid academic training and that peculiar “optimistic” outlook that characterises his works, Puche distances himself from the gruesome, dark and cynical air that contaminates certain contemporary art.”
José Luís Puche’s exhibition at CAC de Málaga
The Snow Is Dancing is the title of Puche’s show at the CAC Málaga, featuring twenty-nine paintings that demonstrate a dialogue between the natural and the artificial. Claude Debussy (St. Germain-en-Laye, 1862 – Paris, 1918) composed The Snow Is Dancing as part of a suite in which Puche has found certain parallels with his own work. For instance, the Málaga artist’s compositions are enveloped in mist, like Debussy’s.
This is clearly exemplified by the work Cómo nieve que baila [The Snow Is Dancing] (2018), a vertical landscape with four soldiers, two of them on their knees with a violin they seem to be playing for their two companions, who remain standing. The scene creates an L-shaped composition, from the highest mountain on the left to the kneeling soldier on the right. In the background we see a landscape of snow- covered rocky mountains, and at the bottom of the work the words “Como nieve que baile CAC Málaga 17 de Mayo – 26 agosto 2018”, a reference to this exhibition.
Meanwhile, the dancing snow comes from the sky, like some of the characters featured in the show, represented in full flight, exploring their limits, placed in eminently natural settings that evoke a poetic exaltation of pure feelings.
Examples of these leaps into the void or falls, in which Puche tests the limits and creates an unsettling dichotomy between the sublime and the tragic, are Air 6 (2016) and Counting Coup (2017), where a male and female bather fall but we can’t see where they are going to land, and Westside in Santa Monica (2018), where we see the fall of a surfer, situating the beginning of the narrative precisely at that point, not before, in the moment when as spectators we wonder whether the flight is sublime, which it is, or whether it is tragic, which it could be. Air 2 (2016) and Air 7 (2016) also feature images in black and white that reveal how Puche has frozen both air and time, as if in a photograph. This is especially the case of Air 2 (2016) in which the palm trees sway in the high winds.