In the Sketch Gallery in Colombia is carried out the exhibition Icaro y Otras Mitologias (Icarus and Other Mythologies) of the artist Esteban Schimpf, a more sculptural rather than a photographic exhibition with classic elements from the artistic world.
The naked body is the canvas. It emerges from there, the possibility of shaping it, of adhering to its smooth texture capable of absorbing the past the extravagance in colors, in shapes and odd bodies to in this way create a being dressed of artistic wishes, of convex and promoter of ideas of a distant time and of a latent present formed of such abstraction in the most simple and minimalistic act, going through the lines and irregular cuts, yellow rips with blue blurs while on its side there is a woman who enjoys freely. Her senses fly and her spirit, from out of this world, evokes in her body the joy dressed in eatable marks of ripped colors through her being. Scarabs move around that painting captured by the lens of the Colombian artist Esteban Schimpf; an illusion and devotion to the sacred that in the ancient Egypt was considered as the reflection of the God of the sun and as the symbol of immortality that prevails throughout the history.
That piece appears in the most recent exhibition Icaro y otras mythologias (Icarus and other Mythologies) of the Sketch Gallery in Bogota. A reflection of the decadence and ascendancy inspired on the Icarus myth, the Greek story that tells the story that due to the deceive of the King Minos’ wife with a Minotaur, he orders Daedalus, a famous architect of Athens, to build a labyrinth to look the beast in it. So nobody else could get out from there, Minos also looks Daedalus and his son Icarus inside the maze. With the eagerness of getting out from that place, Daedalus creates a pair of wings for his son made out of feathers and wax, warning his son not to fly too high because the wings could burn out with the sun. He also advises his son not to fly too low for the wings could get wet and become heavier; Icarus, not listening to his father, approaches to the sun and the wings burned and he falls and dies at the instance.
That myth is the inspiration for the artist Esteban Schimpf to represent it by taking this idea to the present, this time from an optimistic point of view and revealing on the image the feeling of flying, of reaching that euphoric ecstasy and feeling of success that the human being frequently experiments, but taking into account that in any moment it could fall if the trust is overrated. “I did not want to represent the Icarus’ fall; I wanted to show this myth as something marvelous. It is an analogy to not admit that I am able to fall and that I have fears. This is why I represent Icarus’ ascendancy which is located on the wall, and Icarus’ decadence located on the floor”, explains Esteban Schimpf.
An analogy of look on the mirror that reflects the black and the white; a work exhibited on the wall on the other one exhibited on the floor, the flight and the fall, inspired on Blue Red, a work of the North American artist Ellsworth Kelly, one of the most recognized abstract painters of the 20th Century and which has been a great influence for the Colombian artist. Maintaining the line of great influences, Icaro y Otras Mitologias (Icarus and Other Mythologies) presents those desires and roots of the artist. They are metaphors, portrayed sculptures that gather different elements that reveal ideas, artistic movements that have prevailed around the history of art but still rooted to a digital present, possessed by a constant mediation but with its roots settled on the classic art.
“This exhibition has to do with his personal interest in history; he is very interested in the mythology and the connection between the mythology and the history of art. On the museums and on the ancient Greece, it was very discussed the existence of those naked bodies used for the creation of sculptures and paintings”, comments Liz Caballero, director of the Sketch Gallery, the place where the exhibition is carried out. This is why he keeps the classical elements of art, in his work is able to perceive a mix of elements, perhaps the most sublime of the art variety, which in his final work define something fresh mixed with an expressionist art.
At the begging of his exhibition, is located a piece inspired on the myth of Castor and Pollux, a man with a profile painted with thick brushes painted with a rose-colored painting. To his side, the silhouette of his twin brother made with small traces of white and blue painting, inspired on the Expressionism that the artist kept on his pieces from his beginnings. A stiff and motionless bird, a lemon that represents that idea of still life that for Schimpf in technical terms refers to the fact of starting from the photography towards the digital manipulation.
“I do not see my works as photographs because they are unique and in the photography, you can make a lot of reproductions. As the German philosopher Walter Benjamin used to say: “at producing a work you are taking away a little bit of its aura and bringing it closer to a product that can be bought or consumed”, explains the artist in relation to his work. This notion of not repeating a piece remains in his work and in this way he starts to dialogue between the digital and the classical, but never losing these two perspectives. From the classic art, speaking about his work as if it was sculptural, and from his process of creation highlighting the nakedness as the main source of art on the classic world. The artist divests her models from their clothes because he considers that clothing temporally determines the subject. This is how Schimpf plays with the orthodox concepts inside the history of art.
On the Contemporary aspect, using the camera, taking out the images of the web that have some aesthetic and symbolic value which are of huge importance inside the re-significance of mythological stories visualized on this exhibition: love and heartbreak, freedom, success, and the philosophy of life. “I can literally eat the culture and adhere it to my own work. Nothing is so deep anymore; everything goes too fast and is ephemeral”, concludes Esteban Schimpf.