Luis Arocha Mariño

I must confess that after seeing the work that this time presents the master Asdrubal Colmenares, and thanks to the invitation of Tomas Kepets, to refer to the subject of eroticism, I experienced a feeling of taking a closer look. A feeling of having been touched by the history of art in its entirety, as usually happens to me with all his work, I touched the soul that this time I connected, not only with the aesthetic character itself, but because I experienced the anxiety that the theme- excuse produces in the human soul and that Tomas had suggested. I’m referring, of course, to eroticism and its relationship with life, expression of the natural insurance that the Major Mother guarantees "the stubbornness of nature", as noted by the researcher Steven Pinker.

It has never ceased to arouse my curiosity that a lot of artists, as they age and plastically mature they inevitably increase the interest and the expression for the erotic phenomenon. Some explanatory trends state that with the decline of maturity comes less interest in the carnal libidinous. However, experiences indicate otherwise, the interest and appeal for the voluptuous, and passion far from diminishing is increased in the mind of the mature human and if certain favorable circumstances occur, it can be fully enjoyed.

Because I understand that there is an important key to understanding this contradictory attitude we usually find in the Western world: The effect of censorship that sinks roots in a tradition of religious and moral order. This double attitude towards sex, which on the one hand we accept it as an important spark for a full life, and on the other, we are ashamed or debate or criticize when debated or publicly expressed, and that is maintained despite the movement to rescue the value of happy sex and attuned to our daily lives. Perhaps it was St. Augustine of Hipona who raised more severely the need for total control over the sexual life, which caused the Catholic to become moral paladin of modesty and privacy in sexual matters.

Botticelli, Michelangelo, among many artists had to get around in order being able to show the human nudity without going through the prohibitions which in said matter exercised,-and-exercises- the Catholic religion in this regard. Their works, marked by a discreet demonstration of the "private parts” testify it. I still remember a priest, teacher of the already distant high school years, covering the sexual areas of the anatomical models he used. In the Western world this attitude of ambiguous relationship with the sexual is also reflected in the use of language: we establish categorical distinctions between sensuality, eroticism and pornography, as a sign of concern when talking about a troublesome issue and how it should be addressed. The warnings of our media laws also reflect this version of morality by classifying programs into three major areas of disturbance: language, sex and violence. This leads us to suspect that it compares sex with violence! Two totally different issues and contrary functions: one is how we strengthen ourselves and give life, the other its destruction.

Undoubtedly, the risks associated with sexual intercourse and the magnitude of responses, particularly of the male, after experiencing an orgasm, have contributed to the creation of the myth of sex as forbidden, limiting, evil ... Unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, emotional disorders and changes in attitudes towards the responsibilities and the consequences of "solitary vice" such as apathy, loss of vital energy, etc. only serve to strengthen the need for that sexual life should be controlled and managed as if it were a non renewable resource. Even a few years ago, we read a story which stated that French researchers had found that the number of possible orgasms in men was limited to 3,000! Well, well ... it could be around there. It is well known that whatever we do has risks and assurances; including of course the pertinent to the erotic and here it is a reflection of where the limits of our action against the libidinal are.

While there have been innumerable attempts to teach sex education with the rest of formal education, two powerful signs indicate that we are still far from a peaceful and honest treatment with respect to the erotic. The abundant presence of jokes that refer to this condition reflects how disturbing is to share the subject, and the fact that most schools and families addressing it, either give it an aseptic treatment (the famous bees and seeds) or leave aside the most dissipated of the sexual encounter: It is a having a great time!. Perhaps the fear of getting out of control on the consequences of carnal attraction is still very threatening to the Western culture.

Just recalling the famous words of Marcel Proust before the first love with a strong lustful load: "Love is a bad luck like in the stories, against which nothing can be done as long as the spell remains" (In: "In search of lost time. On the road to Swan "). We all know of the violent and disturbing behaviors when we are eroticized in a relationship. Many times recalls the frenzy with which the elephants attack everything in their path. Each one of us has at least one story in the family, neighborhood, work ... and life itself. These facts surely contributed to the creation of the myth, of how dangerous and prohibited is approaching the issue of passion linked to the genital.

As it usually happens in all human affairs, many artists have irreverently responded to such moral reserves: Picasso with his erotic drawings or Schiele (I think at this point in the "red host”, where Egon is shown with a huge red penis, caressed by a lady that accompanies him), examples of "disrespectful" that merely provoke the "moralists" who bought the ecumenical version of the role of eroticism in our everyday life, without self-criticism and real consideration of the scope and possible consequences of a visual expression of the subject. And as L. Wittgenstein points out, "the world is the size of my language," here the erotic and pornographic terms are brushed, which will be used depending on the license that the interested person wants to grant to the artist.

After all, and with the passing of time we have expanded the range of observation, analysis and criticism of human evolution and it is surprising how local culture creates the realities that we share. In such a way that in the XXI century, we are still caught in the ambiguity over the phenomenon of the particularly provocative way species reproduce: For example, when we look and talk about Tantric, one of the oldest religions in the world, we are moved by the faces of surprise, disgust or embarrassment when it is explained to facilitate the understanding of the listeners, that the equivalent of the Catholic communion is the sexual relation and the total enjoyment and taken to the extreme of excitatory support of female orgasm as a guarantee of admiration, veneration and worship of God or his equivalents.

Or when it is said that going to a tantric temple is to look at sculptures and bas-reliefs with different positions or group sexual experiences, taking the place in Catholic churches that is reserved for representations of holy innocent, aseptic and asexual! Bewilderingly impresses the neophytes, when we show pictures of a man using her mouth, hands and feet simultaneously in the corresponding five vaginas belonging to joyful women and lead to high and extreme pleasure, because it is a religious-porno- erotic rite without hesitation or contradiction. In this frame of considerations and turning our gaze to the paintings of Asdrubal Colmenares, it is a pleasure to find this giant of Venezuelan art, whom we have seen in previous years building pictorial symbols marked by a systemic game of the evolution of art techniques, shown in different excuses: geometric lines, ships, the jungle of language, cars, everyday life in the streets of Paris, New York, Caracas ... now in this seductive side where the great master of Venezuelan art does not obviate the heart of our possibilities of existence:

This atavistic attraction which impels us to take our bodies as the center of the events in life. After all, it is the expeditious way to the greatest joy, and the possibility of creating the fundamental core, the family and children, to continue the adventure that began a little over 40,000 years in the remote steppes of Africa and we have not stopped until today, and we will surely continue to expand "until San Juan bends the finger": The transformation of nature in our image and likeness, it is precisely because of the existence of libidinal impulse and the need to express it, that such an adventure is possible .

Caracas, Venezuela
April  2008