Alejandro Hermosilla at Charris's studio
Pacíficos in Avería de pollos by Alejandro Hermosilla
Today is a very pleasant day because the new exhibition by Ángel Mateo Charris: Pacíficos is presented at the Archaeological Museum of Cartagena. A suggestive collection of Polynesian-inspired works with views of the sea, the breeze of the oceanic islands and the laughter of old idols and ancestral gods for which I have made a hybrid creative text that appears in the catalog and later, will be part of a small testimonial book that can be purchased on the painter's website. By the way, the exhibition can be visited until mid-September.
The collaboration arose spontaneously during a visit to the painter's studio. A few minutes after our meeting, I related a dream I had had the day before in which the shining head of a dark God emerged from the center of an island to the absolute indifference of the native aborigines. Charris found my story very significant because it was precisely that carefree attitude in the face of the unusual or the horror of the inhabitants of the Polynesian archipelagos that he tried to capture in the works he was currently working on.
During his visit to Polynesia, one morning he woke up worried to the news of the soon arrival of a typhoon but, to his surprise, the islanders were absolutely indifferent to the devastating natural phenomenon. Many huts and cabins were uprooted by the force of the wind, but their inhabitants did not show any distress. They smiled oblivious to all kinds of concerns as they rebuilt them and when asked about the belongings they had lost, they stared at him in surprise or laughed aloud like sweet night birds.
A circumstance that led him into the delicious state of reverie from which the works that were part of Los mares del Tiki and now Pacíficos emerged. Samples that complement each other perfectly as do, for example, the two parts of Lewis Carrol's famous novel: Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Days later, due to the influence of this anecdote, I began to write the text, Los mares del Sur, which is part of this catalog. At that time, the works of Pacíficos were not completely finished. Many, although their final finish is already in sight, were mere sketches. So I had to rely on the fragments of his diaries that he let me read and the finished canvases that were part of Los mares del Tiki to do it. Although, to be honest, I was not interested in exploring Charris's work so much as starting from his suggestive creations to explore the mystery anima of Polynesia. Trying to understand the ancestral motives that provoke that disturbing behavior of its inhabitants that has fascinated (and horrified) in equal parts multiple Western adventurers, writers and artists throughout the ages.
A spirit that, apparently, tourism and the advancement of technology have exterminated although, as Angel's canvases show, it survives intact (as dangerous, warm and rebellious as ever) in the depths of its oceans, jungles or ceremonial temples.
Anyway. It is for these reasons that I do not advise visiting Pacíficos with a critical spirit. I think it is better to put the theoretical books aside and immerse yourself in the exhibition with a curious spirit. Like someone who goes on an excursion or takes a short dive to a distant (but familiar) ocean.
I think Pacíficos is a kind of relaxed journey for Charris through Polynesian wonderland. There is something in these works extremely relaxing. Many of them seem to have been performed in a state of sleep between sleep and wakefulness. Actually, they are stamps. Jokes. Graceful visions. Flowing flower patterned shirts. Eastern ponds. Ocean smiles. Comforting naps. Ancestral songs that mix blues, pop and calypso; dance and stillness; the old secrets and the capitalist trade (of images and ready-made memories).
There is something about the use of color that reminds me of the most smiling (and Dadaist) side of the Impressionists and something (I repeat it) in the theme that makes me remember Lewis Carroll's Alice. I am sure that those who visit the exhibition will leave, in a way, comforted. Like someone who, after bathing in the sea during a hot summer afternoon, notices that several algae have been trapped in his hair and caresses them with amusement remembering his childhood. Although, for brief moments, he wonders if the fragments of the fluffy sea plants are not the fangs of a piranha or the poisoned legs of a crab. Shalam