Interpellation vs. Obedience: the new work of zZará

Definitely, in a scene plagued by the profitability of the posing and the yawning of everything that previously involved a subversive and destabilizing gesture, art (or, more precisely, some artists), studies other ways of dressing the surface issue with a strategy of discursive stimulation or factual that dilate the simiological thickness of the proposal and confer a scope,at the very least, a little more dialoguing and challenging in the face of the reign of other people’s apathy and the idiocy decreed.
The new work of the artist zZará returns to the metaphorized painting, assuming the essay of the expanded pictorial as a space of freedom. zZará is an extremely singular artist who shares a same condition with me: the otherness. He’s his way; I’ve mine. The point is that we have both been (and are) each other. That existential and discursive condition is a kind of blessing. It strikes, as in the carnival of dissent and disagreement, the need to overcome a status, a dominion of permanence, a place that is –always– the object of questioning and of consequent problematic.

Perhaps because of this and many other reasons, most of the works that thicken his most recent production, go back to revisiting and refounding this kind of geopolitics of the dissenting voice without this becoming a standard of action. His new work insists, as a necessary exercise of repetition, on perpetuating a praiseworthy gesture of rebellion. zZará de facto rejects the notion of art as a surface. On the contrary, he prefers the production of works that do not replicate the logic of consensus, but rather act on the dynamics of social discourse. From his condition of the other in a country that is not his (although it already is) and from the very heart of the language of art, which has become his living space (like mine), he tries, at all costs and above all risk, to disavow the programmatic design that turns us into automatons for convenience.

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Hence, in part, that the more emphatic dimension of his work reaches a sociological rather than a political meaning, so to speak. To the extent, I estimate, that his work weighs the critical thinking on the subject of speech rather than on the circumstances surrounding him and strangling his voice. On the few occasions that I have spoken with zZará, I have been able to see an insistent need for replication. Replication as an act of questioning and disobedience with respect to this strange social norm extended and multiplied of assuming the given as good and natural.

If a work, in the real context of decadence that Spain is experiencing, should be attended to from the instruments of criticism and theory, that is the work of this generous and undoubtedly neat artist. To the permanent declaration of a yawning art that has little to say beyond its figuration as a mediocre fact, opposes this proposal of his that -at least- wishes to confer on art and painting (expanded or not), the replicating sense of its existence. A silent art is a black hole; a text without a soul is a meaningless paper.

Then, as now, the works are discovered crossed by a discursive and replicating impulse.
Together they generate a critical neighborhood: a kind of speaking mass that needs to be heard and assisted. Or at least not ignored by the tyranny of consensus and complicit silence so widespread in our contexts. To the excess of polemic in the social fields, a deafening autism enshrines itself in the lack of action and responses. Starting from this reality, zZará’s work prefers to assume the voices (rather than the Voice) in order to break the logic of soliloquy for the benefit of the opposition and rejection. These works, the current and previous ones, speak, shout, multiply on uneven surfaces that make the same image a compendium of other versions.

Experimentation is a constant in the work of this artist who locks himself up in the studio, far from the city and its noises, to think about the processes and their objectual and discursive prefigurations. We could assume, in a rapid and unadulterated approach, that the most visible sign of zZará’s latest work would be the act of speech and the multiplication of the image in a thousand different forms protected by the distortion. However, the issue, beyond that evidence, is much more complex. These works, with everything and their gloating in the matter and the literal certification of the gesture, report in their own epicenter the virulent performativity of the social. They also become a space for critical discussion that is so desired and sought after on several fronts of contemporary culture and politics. That language, to which some have decreed infinite deaths and which many others perceive as a traditional zone of making itself incapable of restoring itself, takes on a very particular meaning in the context of this new proposal of zZará. The painting acquires here the status of writing, of an uncomfortable X-ray of the present. It is revealed in its surface condition capable of withstanding the rhetorical deviation of insubordination and disobedience. When, in the ideo-aesthetic practices of the world order, the criterion about the new value of painting and the pictorial, about its restitution and relevance was enthroned, it was not suspected that this same language that died and rose again at the same time, would have the will to become – at times – a barricade of transgression and a stage for questioning. The debate about its legitimacy as language was considerably reduced to the domain and dominion of ontology: its structure, discursive density and materiality were discussed to the fullest extent, diverting attention from its reactive possibilities. If it was itself, after all, the boomerang of those rhetorical platforms that named it (extending or reducing it).

The new repertoire of his works dispenses a polyphonic framework of particular taste for the idea of the open work. A type of work that does not end with the artist’s management, but rather organizes his multiple and possible senses in the dialog with the other: a conversation that finds its raison d’ être in the horizontal spaces. All of them are the result of a discomfort, so they become effective rapporteurs of it. We attend the site of the open wound, of the torn veins. This cracks and indentations do not respond to morphological digressions or the futile testing of more or less convincing visual tricks. In these new pieces the matter is in charge of modulating critical thinking. The ruptures, the cracks, the deformations that we notice in them, are the testimony of an earlier protest gesture in which a group of subjects stamped, on each surface, their scream and their anger. The fear and emotional instability that the political and economic situation has managed in favor of a general loss of confidence, are etched in these works of zZará as an indelible imprint of what is being the present time. They live in the rhetoric of fear and protest. Both signs of existence are legitimized in this new production of the artist as a kind of x-ray of an infraction.

The entire work of zZará is, above all, an act of resistance and permanence. And it is because painting has become for him, after all, a declared maneuver to preserve faith. Faith in the face of adversity and discomfort of a period marked by distance and remoteness. A time when doing what we like to do is, in itself, a privilege.  A time where apathy becomes the queen and figure of all subjectivity. Seen in this way, zZará has translated the pictorial fact, the very action of painting, of staining, of pouring, into an exercise of reconciliation and therapy. I speak of a reconciliation that not only affects that more personal and intimate area of the subject, but also of that other one that dialogs with the pictorial tradition inscribed in the so-called recovery of the aesthetic paradigm of art. zZará is a beast of the joyful abstraction. His life revolves around the support, in the eternal play of reproductions and mirages where the representation seems to result from a sentence of conspiracies between sociological and Freudian. It would be difficult to see what type (or types) of associations are established between these works and their world.
Only the artist, I believe, would be able to respond to the demand for such questions.

In fact, zZará’s work does not propose alternatives and much less solutions, but in the face of the general paralysis of a society in which politics has become the realm of eschatology and abjection,at least, this one is swapped in the denouncement space and manages a front from which to express the contained anger. This is precisely where their greatest interest lies. At the same time, I insist that it is no longer just the sphere of mere representation, but that it reaches many other levels of self-awareness in which the legitimacy of that group of voices is endorsed. This is how they all end up becoming the record of a performative act: an action that certifies the violence of the forceful and frontal gesture by the people who have been in charge of this attack on the surface. zZará attempts to overcome the hedonistic status of art by finding new places of action. For him, the work has to function as a hermeneutic locus, of ample political density, as a tool for dissenting rather than accepting. The art must modulate new cartographies of the social, the artist seems to realize. It must exercise its legitimate power of interference in the fabric of power relations and try to disavow the hegemonic position of certain discourses and certain voices.

The appropriation, use and expansion of the abstraction as a language already codified by a tradition of knowledge and senses, is, then, another way of indicating the dimensions of protest once it plays in the very center of ambiguity and contradiction of a language to which the silence is attributed to the possibility of speech, of evasion versus commitment. That is precisely another subtlety of zZará’s way of work Do not lose sight of the fact that we are looking at a sociologist with several studies in the field of Social Sciences.
Something that, in other cases not but in his own, sharpens the perspectives of the look and dialog with the art in the place of the first person. His considerations on painting, politics and culture as a stratified system of knowledge that must always produce new axiological horizons, are very convincing. We will have to wait for the passage of time and the rare tranquility that the years give to return on this type of work and rehearse a re-reading that proves or contradicts everything that I have expressed here. He’ll probably contradict me, probably deny me once and a thousand times. I may even fail to heed the arguments put forward and try to look for others that will satisfy my new need to articulate a scripture around this episode. But what I won’t deny, I think, is the value and the meaning of this story of works that speak, protest, shout.

It is this operation of relationships, not entirely narrative, not entirely explicit, which makes him – by the way – in an intelligent and audacious guy. Something seems to be very clear to him when it comes to postulating his statements and art-factual digressions , those that act as self-reflective screens or plates and of very clear conspiracy against the outdated modern idea of originality, and that is that no spectator is innocent. This leads us to believe that no visual spectacle -of any kind whatsoever- is naive by nature or ontology. He knows, and knows very well, that any significance that results from the contemporary visual universe, collapsed in the name of saturation and the most visceral apotheosis, responds to an arduous and complex cooperation between rhetorical devices and metaphorical phrases that encode the state of permanent seduction of painting and of culture.

Hence, in part, his work shelters behind the density of surface a sophisticated allegory on the world, culture and the fierce concert of paradoxes that animate life and make it in an authentic bolero. His work, to say it in a restrictive yet non-authoritarian manner, is a specular game of a certain dramatic intensity that affirms and denies in a parallel time, to the same extent that it represents and inform -quickly- about the fallacy of that same representation as a utopian ideal or truth that is subject to and withdrawn to the order of suspicion and irony. The work thus becomes a text that announces what is not said, at least what is not literally said. It is a sort of writing that aims to communicate without the anxious task of convincing or indoctrinating.

Let the voice be made.



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