Ernesto Canovás, In One Breathe


Barcelona, Espronceda, May 2016

The exhibition “In One Breath” by artist Ernesto Canovás was conceived with the same sensibility, delicateness and structure as a Japanese Haiku. A Haiku poem is delivered in one breath and creates a unified visual and sensorial story which, in the context of this exhibition, is expanded through the artist’s painting. “In One Breath” should be viewed as a whole, as a story composed of both the presence of art objects and their absence which evoke a musical rhythm, a state of being, a game which ultimately create a masterly exhibition. Melancholia is present in many of Ernesto’s works. He often creates this feeling through his portrayal of different eras or through depicting old cinematic scenes and other creations of the past. “In One Breath” is based in an authentic nostalgic feeling as it reflects memories, sensations, colours and imaginative moments from when the artist lived in Barcelona as a child and young adult. The exhibition does not display a sad feeling, but rather pleasant memories of places, light, walks, etc. In his exceptional piece “In the Way I Think It Was,” Canovás shows his audience a garden and a large house with a person which appears in the scene. This panel gives the viewer a glimpse into the artist’s imagination as he envisions himself living in his own painting, in the mansion he saw everyday growing up on his way to school in Masnou (Barcelona). Ernesto is a great investigator as he explores the pictorial possibilities of all kinds of materials from the most noble: wood, aluminium, marble and ceramics, to the more industrial: plastic, rubber, wheels, various metals, etc. The magic of Canovás is particular palpable when he creates dialogue and harmony between diverse materials. He practices contemporary alchemy as his “ready-made” objects are enveloped by the fragrance of pigments, the warmth of ceramics, the magnetism of marble and the brightness of resins. Today, we live in such mediums, both simultaneously artificial and natural. In his work, Canovás paints sensory pictures, multi-dimensional images which he expands three-dimensionally and articulates through his use of light. His delicate “All in Order” consists of three separate panels. Two panels are rendered in warm colours and the remaining panel is made of angled aluminium. The chromatic energy of the red, pink and orange pigments inundates the aluminium panel as the colours are reflected onto the metal to create a magical space, a visual vibration that attracts the viewers’ attention and transmits the artist’s happiness. Ernesto’s artistic practice coincides with Jacques Rancière’s “The Future of the Image” and its proposed concepts: the trace of things, the naked identity of otherness rather than imitation, materiality without construct or meaning, visibility over figures of speech and what vindicates the contemporary celebration of the image, or its nostalgic evocations of immanent transcendence, of the glorious essence of a guaranteed image by way of material production. The ultimate component of “In One Breath,” conceived for Esponceda, centre for Art and Culture in Barcelona, lies in the eye of the beholder. Bright surfaces reflect the exhibition’s viewer onto the works themselves and make them share in the composition of the work. Canovás offers a unique experience in involving his audience in his visual poems and in the feeling of a single breath onto the artist’s work.

By Alejandro Martin, Curator & Art Director for Espronceda Art Centre, Barcelona

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