Charris: “ traveling confronts you with your fears”


La Verdad 12.06.2021


Charris likes that it is the Archaeological of Cartagena which will host, from Wednesday until next September 12, his exhibition 'Pacíficos'. Thirty-four works made on paper in which life beats through color and travel. Mysterious, magical and real forms that attract, without any remedy, the attention of the viewer. There are also Spanish ceramics; small "tiki-themed" and mid-century cocktail pieces that "close a circle."

Traveler and painter, Ángel Mateo Charris (Cartagena, 1962) was commissioned in 2018 with an exhibition that should have seen the light of day in Manila. Heir to 'Los mares de Tiki', a previous exhibition that Charris presented in Santander and Barcelona, ​​that painting did not make the planned exhibition trip and fell asleep in his studio. It then became the matrix of 'Pacíficos': "If a work has not been exhibited, it is because it is not finished yet", underlines the creator, whose work is now included in 'NOVA', the project curated for La Mar de Arte , in Cartagena, by Murcian gallery owners Nacho Ruiz and Carolina Parra.

Understood as an exhibition remade from an unexhibited work, 'Pacíficos' contains two impulses: the one that first gave shape and color to the paper and the one that the author has subsequently printed on it from a different point of view, interested in exploring new features. «For the last years I have been intervening with her. I have added many layers with patterns and I have tried to breathe into it the life that I want to do now », says the artist in reference to« change », he explains, who since 2020 has given« his way of painting about it ». "It has less realistic and photographic aspects to what I did before," he says: "It has been like a kind of mixture."

In the trajectory of every painter, "there are moments - underlines the artist - in which you no longer see things the same as before, and you try to change them"; "I took advantage of the fact that the paintings were not finished to finish them as he has been wanting me, in a much freer way."

In the paintings of Charris, who last September brought his work 'Oveja negra' to the Almudí Palace in Murcia, there are dreamed landscapes, beaches that invite you to play and rest, horizons full of blue or orange light, and many tikis –sculptures with human form characteristic of Polynesian culture - which you have photographed before. His paintings seem like imagined worlds, but they are real, seasoned, yes, with a lot of color.

"Charris's canvases teach us that, although the world is an immense airstrip full of tourists, this suffocating fact does not imply that traveling has necessarily become a boring activity," writes Alejandro Hermosilla, PhD in Comparative Literature from the University de Murcia (UMU), in the 'Pacíficos' catalog. «It is obvious that no passenger is going to find unknown tribes emerging from volcano craters where statues of lavish idols are found, nor will they have to suffer the presence of untamed beasts prowling their hotels and scratching their windows [...] But still Many surprises can occur during incursions into foreign territory, “adds Hermosilla in his text.

Alaska, Lapland, Japan or the African continent are places that Charris has traveled: "I have already marked quite a few of the boxes that I wanted to see," recounts the painter, despite the fact that "the world is so big - he confesses - that you always want to see it ». «Traveling takes you out of your mental frame and confronts you with other cultures, your fears, the other or the others. With the journey the human being is completed, you live more intensely, and time passes as slower; a week away seems like a month ... I guess that's what one looks for when traveling ».

To the Pacific islands he has flown several times, but he has also moved from his studio. «While I am painting I am in them». “There are - says Charris - many ways to travel and you can also do it from the armchair; culture, literature, music has that component of mental travel. And the painting? "For me, painting would be the travel guide, the plane with which to move around those territories," says the artist, now immersed, "as Fangoria says, in an absolute moment" in which he prefers stillness to the hustle and bustle of suitcases. home to a change of scenery, however exotic it may be. «The pandemic has coincided with a stage in which I wanted to be more collected, more at home, in my study, and it is a nuisance, because when they force you not to go out it seems that you feel like it, but no, I still don't have ».

Regarding his exhibition 'Pacíficos', Charris states: «I really like that it is in the Archaeological Museum. It is a museum that I love, and my favorite in the city. It is on a Roman necropolis, and many of the images that I paint are taken from maraes, which are funerary places of Polynesian culture. It has that connection, and so do the tikis that I paint, because many of them are archaeological objects, museum objects.

But painting is not the only one that establishes a direct dialogue with the exhibition space. "The ceramics used in cocktails in Polynesian bars, in turn, are related to the vessels in the museum, from Rome to the 18th century." And then there is La Mar. "In my images," says Charris, "there is a lot of music."