During the early seventies, the work of Joaquim Chancho turned to pure experimentation in search of a space for expression. Aware of the limitations of both format and technique, he worked on continuously developing the language of painting, which allowed him to engage in a constant reflection on painting. “If we paint, it’s because the painting, in a sense, has yet to be done,” states the artist. Structurally, Naima (1985) resembles a tableau comprised of different fragments in which each individual element joins and simultaneously separates the parts of the whole. Arranged vertically—and conveying a sense of sequential multiplicity—each module provides a contextualisation of the set in its entirety. Chancho examines the relationship of the artwork and the real space, separating the segments at different intervals and analysing the internal rhythms and interactions between what is empty and what is full. Based on an austere, pictorial approach, his language is marked by an inscrutable, calculated expressivity and much of its power derives from the way the artist works with colour. In this painting, Chancho no longer structures the pictorial space through signs and calligraphic elements that are almost identical and repeated with little variation. Naima grows out of superimposed gestures that establish a dialogue between the support and the surface of the artwork. The gesture becomes more instinctive, more direct, and the action focuses on the free flow of the gouacheand watercolour on the paper. The artist does not mix or stir the paints before working on the canvas, but rather transforms the surface of the painting into a palette to explore the physical qualities of the support. The artwork is treated as an independent entity that is searching for its own internal laws of composition. Governed by a calculated rhythm, Naima has its own arithmetic, logic and order. The geometry is reduced to its own boundaries and from there the result is an internalised space of proportion, clarity and perfection that seeks the essential through silence. For Chancho, painting is, above all else, a way of knowing that allows us to perceive reality anew so we can put forth alternatives. “Being inside the pictorial medium is necessary in order to look out” and be able to understand that which surrounds us. The action weaves the story, and the deposited sediments become traces of the subject.
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