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An Image of what remains of the image

Cesar Delgado´s work reflects, or more accurately captures, the way the urgent burst of the present, here represented by inmediate and preconscious forms that zig -zag, intertwine, or explode across the canvass, measures itself momentarily against a very different collection of signs which seem to respond to a rithm of execution far-removed from the automatic blows of the initial impulse. It is a rithm dictated by the straight line, by flat, elemental geometrical figures, by grids that open up befpre us overlapping each other in dense and kaleidoscopic visions.

The artist´s first skirmish with the still untouched canvass takes the form of primal, urgent, even agressive discharges of energy, a process which is then suddenly cooled by the intervention of the computer, becoming more rational and calculated before being faithfully transferred back to canvass. This does not rule out the reapparence of more unrestrained expression before the process is complete. What we are witnessing then is a duality of action and procedure whichpresents us the complexity of interpretation of the real in a world split in two by the dominant and constant presence of virtual images.

In the mid-eighties César Delgado began his journey as a painter making use of a language that was direct product of informalism, without dismissing at that point- unlike other young artists in this country during the same period- the previous contributions in this direction by prominent Spanish painters, like Tapies or Saura, two men themselves very unique in their own styles. At the begining of the 90s, a certain affinity with some American styles can be seen in the artist´s work; he unites not only his extended expressionistic brushstrokes with ocassional words or phrase, but also with syncopated and concise figures, dreemt-up images created instantaneously, which ocassionaly remind us of the creative universe of Jean Michel Basquiat. We can also see the colour progressively growing in intensity towards the explosion of the palette in this latest period, during which Delgado centres his work in an agglutinating abstract territory which deliberately contains the dichotomy of the aforementioned approach.

It may be worth mentioning at this point that the 20th century -and what we have seen of the 21st- has played a leading role in what we could call the ruin of the image, a process which ubiquity have contributed decisively (even if a century ago Art´s historical vanguard did set iconoclastic precedents with respect to the previous legacy, driven to a great extent by a therapeutic necessity to begin afresh). The situation has further deteriorated today, when Art appears more and more as just another luxury consumer product, another signifier of social prestige in the midst of a frenzy which has invaded even museums and which often confuses artists, who are increasingly influenced by the predominant school. Indeed, the modern romantic idea -expressed by Schlegel in his day- that the artist has his centre within himself is becoming harder and harder to fulfil in an atmosphere concerned primarily with the external. At the same time the notion of Art as a means for reflection, a way to further our understanding of things, which until not long ago fed the nucleous of modernity, is being rapidly demoted by a rushed contemplation which day by day becomes more difficult to digest due to an overdose of objects on display across the glove, and the speed with which they appear.

Our subject is aware of all of this and likewise knows that if we analize this ruin, we can see that it transmits, albeit obscurely, a state of things, that according to the words of Gerard Wajcman in his essay "Art, Psychoanalysis, the Century", "ruin is the object insofar as it speaks, the object which has become a chatterbox, swallowed by prattle, reduced to the status of a trace, a sign". César Delgado himself published a text he wrotre for the catalogue of his exhibition in the Fernando Pradilla Gallery two years ago where he warned that "...each historical period, while opening up a range of new possibilities, seals off forever those others, whose parameters have changed and which the new ones do not permit". However, the problem created in this particular period in Art has tentacles that point in multiple -and sometimes unclear- directions. Take for example, the indulgent foray into the banal with the aim of being just another voice in that joyful (and lucrative) chatter where each peculiar intonation prturbs, by its strangeness, the celebration of the ruin of the image.

So then César Delgado´s work talks to us openly about the ruin, it "evokes the contemporary maelstrom" -according to the author- and shows it to us through a process of dissection, or, as he has said of taxidermy. And at this point another duality which does not tally with the one mentioned earlier concerning the artist´s work process comes in to play: it is a matter, in this case, of building from destruction, which does not mean rebuilding, but rather giving birth to an ambiguous image made of a thousand diverse and fragmented images, images which have lost their original face alongwith their capacity to transmit what they could once communicate, residues of things past mixed inwith the existing in the lucyd sediment of the artist, which produce that kaleidoscope where the goal at least is the living unity of the artistic proposal, coherency which takes incoherency as its point of departure.

However, it is worth making clear that the faceless fragments of images that make up the work of César Delgado are above all inspired by diverse contributions from contemporary painting during the 20th Century, whose echo, reinterpreted, is still in force in the work of numerous artists from the recent international panorama. In this sense, the double- sided abstraction, expressionistic and geometrical, is very similar to other paintings where hints of Pop art can also be seen, even as regards colour, which on Delgado´s canvasses combines dense and irregular impressions with flat bright shapes.

Along with this exhibition, César Delgado is also planning an installation which is going to create"in situ" using a range of materials, including transparent acetate stuck to the wall of the gallery andplaying with superimposed images, as well as making use of cut-out digital prints, flat colours in methacrylate, and spray-paint applied there and then.This work, entitled "Climbing painting", is capable of producing pluridimensional sensations which may not be totally alien to those created by paintings developed within the confines of a frame, but in the installation we are currently referring to the limits of the canvass no longer exist and the work expands to the point where it even occupies part of the floor. The colour alternates between the sharp chiaroscuro of the black and white brushstrokes, homogeneous rectangles in which red, yellow and blue predominate, and monochrome lineal patterns which dart across the wall before penetrating the gallery floor. In this project the counterpoint to the straight line is not only provided by the disorder of the tangled brushstrokes or the sinuous formations which can be seen in parts of the acetate, but also by the regular rythm of small circles which appear from time to time in the paintings.

Like x-rays of the chaos that surrounds us, in this collection, however, we can highlight endeavour by the artist to unite multiple and even apparently oppsing elements, without ever losingsight of the cultural environment directly incumbent on Art. this is not to say that the image of fragmented images proposed by César Delgado is a self-contained and self-sufficient totality. On the contrary, it always points outwards towards expansion and explosion, a specular dynamic which reflects the accelerated turmoil and overload of images of our time where it is becoming less and lesslikely that anything settle in one place for more than an instant.

César Delgado´s paintings are magnification mirrors that explode before the eye to shake it from its sleep. Because, according to Edmon Jabés in "The moment after", "the eye means oblivion. Both oblivion of things seen and the muted glace of oblivion". And although the retina may seem to be able to perceive what surrounds it, the most important thing when trying to get close to Art, and above all here, is not to lose the capacity to penetrate through to what underlies the image, or its ruined remains. To achieve this it is necessary that our vision posses the vigour that comes from being in touch with other tools of perception, which include activity of thought.