| NEXT ISSUE  |  BACK ISSUES  |  CONTENTS |

REVIEWS
VALENCIA: INSTITUT VALENCIÀ D’ART MODERN

FERNANDO CÁNOVAS
19 July – 9 September 2007
www.ivam.es


Fernando Cánovas’ work is a meditation on the limits of the painting, on the
process that, for Derrida, was to do with deconstructing the frame. Cánovas’
images are poetic testimonies in which, tragedy, formlessness and inner
landscape come together, and opposing forces (imagination and reason,
understanding and sensation) battle each other to the limit in a perpetual
storm.

There are also neo-baroque strategies here, involving a heightened
allegory and an obsessive preoccupation with the fragment, in which serial
structure and repetition erase all sense of the centre or the unique. Perhaps
this is what the baroque is: a progressive totality, a density based on
multiplication and acceleration. However, slowness and even melancholy are
also not lacking. Cánovas’s pictures increasingly impose themselves as visible
objects, though it is also clear that everything is in motion. While forms are
no more than archetypes, geometry is seminal, from the nests that he painted
in the 1980s to the amphorae that appeared in the following decade, or the
recent expanded paintings with their obsessive, suffocating networks.





This magnifi cent exhibition of paintings by Cánovas at the Institut
Valencià d’Art Modern provided a possibility of reviewing his artistic
development, from what he calls his ‘gray period’, which has a certain
kinship with Anselm Kiefer’s work, to the recent ‘connected paintings’ in
which he restates his interest in the expansion of the painting beyond its
conventional limits. In its strict materiality his work refers not so much to the
disappearance of the referent opened up by abstraction, as to the tactility
of space and the desire to fi x memories and visions. Lyle Rexer, who
co-curated the show, along with Consuelo Císcar, director of the IVAM, say
that Cánovas is a historian of the unconscious, ‘mapping the archaic on to
the contemporary’. His dreams, deposited on the taut surface of the painting,
demand a contemplative attitude from the viewer, compelling the eye to
respond to feeling. The visual elements summon us to an act of disentangling,
a search for fl esh and substance, which, as with Balzac’s The Unknown
Masterpiece, has been smothered beneath a tremendous ‘wall of painting’.

FERNANDO CASTRO FLÓREZ

 | NEXT ISSUE  |  BACK ISSUES  |  CONTENTS |