Death and the resistance images or art may put up to it is a theme that runs obsessively through all Pedro Romero’s work: “Art work, the part of that artistic tradition that most interests me, is constituting images. Constructing images. Stopping images. That hope, fundamentally against time, which does not allow anything to stop, is the work of the artist.” It is part of that work in a historical sense, i.e. the construction of images against the passage of time and ones that show the limits of our existence runs through a large part of the Spanish art tradition. Romero is an artist who takes up both the legacy of the painting of the Golden Age and the Spanish festive image tradition in a contemporary artistic formulation. On other occasions, he has turned to traditions such as the Valencian “mascletà” (mortars fired at festivals), using it as a metaphorical element, or has tried to reconstruct a history of the Spanish transition in images. In Sodoma y Gomorra he has used three images that are what he calls “formal concepts”: the explosion (specifically the mushroom cloud formed by the atomic bomb), the aura and the door. These three elements operate metaphorically, as images that refer to concepts or ideas. The bomb refers directly to the fact of living in a time under the awareness or the presence of the possibility of total destruction. The aura refers to Walter Benjamin’s concept and his speculation about that quality that works lose in the era of technical reproduction. In Romero’s case, the use of the aura becomes a defence of Benjamin’s theory: a defence of art as a generator of images with a capacity to be transcendent. And lastly the door, perhaps the element with the most metaphorical undertones insofar as it refers to the idea of transit; the door sums up both the idea of being shut in and the possibility of opening up to new spaces. Romero constructs his work with similar mechanics to collage: a series of apparently dissimilar images are juxtaposed so that the spectator can reconstruct their meaning. In Sodoma y Gomorra that meaning has to do with his basic concerns throughout his career: the presence of death and destruction and the capacity of art to generate images, which can both convey that anxiety and pass it by.
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