Eduardo Planchart L
Asdrubal Colmenarez transmits Nomad Latency Series highly pictorial dynamism by his gestures, echoes of the conceptual elements incorporated in this series: sea, islands, deconstructed geographies in imaginary spaces, magazine pictures, naturalistic drawings plants, comics, A sense of playfulness is evident in the structural elements of the composition: the lines of light at ninety degrees angles or in the straight line that resonate with the viewfinder, cut colored paper printed with images of penguins on them, and postage stamps direct the viewer’s attention to different perceptual levels. The gestural contrasts with the utopian coordinate frame creating a visual tension between chaos and order, which refers to the planet perceived as totally threatened. This problematic is present in the art elements introduced as images of animals, naturalistic drawings of flowers and animals conceptually emblematic.
The postage stamp with its characteristic circumference is mutated in the visual center of the work, being also a way to emphasize the notion of nomadism that characterizes our civilization and which this series echoes. We do not only exist in a perennial toccata and fugue, but also the objects that surround us have a long traveling history. Thus, the forks we use to eat can be Chinese, the dishes English, the clothing Korean… Among these pilgrim universes takes place our everyday world; nevertheless, they do not have the trace that identifies them as belonging to a cultural and natural space, so we create an imagery collage that associates each of these elements to their productive geography.
Despite living in a global village in a mental universe that prevents us from identifying ourselves with the planet, as a living being composed of millions of strings of life of which humanity is only one, and in turn our planetary system is less than a speck of dust in our galaxy. The fact is known, but in practice our civilization ignores it. Instead we remain caught by a geocentric view, born of Ptolemy, where the planet and humanity is the center of the universe, hence the emphasis on minimizing in these paintings the human presence by accentuating and the marine life and the wildlife. Thus the sense of collage and its enveloping force in this series, manifested in the visual centers transformed into art whirlwinds that seem to absorb and merge all conceptual and aesthetic content, establishing the idea of interconnectedness that characterizes the various forms of life on Earth.
In our global village, a new kind of nomadism has emerged, in part detached from the traditional societies and related to the expansion in time and space that allows the post-industrial society. We do not only refer to the physical mobility of the human being, but to the cultural transhumance where everything seems to belong to everyone. Visual culture through the electronic media has created new cultural categories: instead communication and simultaneous, generates a new culture and a new way of knowing, to the extreme of creating an aesthetic and an ideology, constantly recreated from the visual fragments of all cultures that we face. This is another sense of the collage in the proposal of Asdrubal Colmenarez, hence between ethnographic maps and marine charts, he introduces natural elements such as leaves, thus facing us the paradoxical view that the means generate by making us confuse reality as a truth with the reality born from the electronic media that is an illusion.
In these works the natural elements accentuate the abyss between our planetary reality and the Image that we have drawn of it, creating in our inner universe an imaginary puzzle. Hence Asdrubal introduces in this series, blank puzzle pieces, to try to make us aware of the fragmentation and division that characterizes us. The rhythm and variety that assume the typographies stand out, they have their roots in the use made of them by both Russian Constructivism and Futurism which are combined with images of cartoons that add to some paintings as traces of our daily lives and how we are lived by the archetypes that electronic media create, images that are directly linked to by art and art as a way to get closer to our daily life archeology.
This migration has turned modern man’s existence into a wandering between concrete jungles and imaginary spaces, whose boundaries are no longer a region or a landscape but the full extent of our planet, as boundaries have become smaller we have embarked on a contradictory conquest of the universe.
These conceptual contents are constant, from the nineties, in the work of Asdrbual Colmenarez, who inspires his artistic language in ships, boats, spaceships, UFO’s, non existing geographies coordinates. In aesthetic terms, this contemporary nomadism is based on art categories characteristic of modernism.
This establishes a continuous recycling of what has been done in different cultural contexts to give a false sense of newness and renewal. However, these proposals draw on the cultural and spiritual roots of humanity, present in paradigmatic artists of our modernity and contemporary such as figures of abstract expressionism as Jackson Pollock, in the relationship that he establishes between his art and shamanism’s sands drawings of North American Indians, in Mark Rothko and the link of his monochromes with the non figurative conception of divinity in the Hebrew culture, in Frank Stella who inspires his monochromes and geometry in African shields. This fact is also present in the anthropometry of Ives Klein, who has much to do with the archaic body designs.
In the contemporary stand out Joseph Beuys and his link with the shamanic nomadism. Anselm Kifer due to his fixation on universal myths from Babylon through Mesoamerica to contemporary. This is evidence that cultural barriers have been broken and art has responded to this universality, instead of creating a uniform aesthetic is giving birth to a hybrid variety which echoes Nomad Latency series.
Elements such as handmade papers together with vegetable objects and consumerism waste get closer the proposal to the principles of Povera Art. We are before an approach to conceptual art has been a constant in the work of Asdrubal Colmenarez. The exhibition as a whole is a big puzzle, in the sense that each work is linked to the other and in turn each has multiple aesthetic and ideational echoes. The artist seems to mock the postmodernism with this attitude, because through his series takes us closer to the idea that has not yet created a split that has generated a new paradigm in art that transcends the limits of modernism, even when we are in the new millennium. Sets of ideas that are present in the painting that are playfully chained various 2000. The rupture posed by postmodernism sank in its own soil, hence the meaning of the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Caracas Sofia Imber 1998.
The existential pilgrimage in the work of Asdrubal Colmenarez is a projection of features of his inner dimension that is embodied in his work. They are sometimes linked to his origins (Colmenarez was born in Trujillo in 1936), and his first art proposal is linked to Surrealism, technically inspired by his family roots, his father was a carpenter, becoming this period a journey into the unconscious. His first creative works have the trace of a nomadic interior.
Arriving in Paris in the late sixties, he begins his enquiry with the magnetic movement and the search for a relationship with the public desacralices the work and brings him closer to life, achieving his own ontological status, generating a revelation of the viewer’s creative qualities coming into contact with the aesthetic dimension, creating a tension between conceptual and constructivist features.
The psychomagnetics are thin metal strips on wood surfaces, which when touched generate a wave motion, which creates new ways by joining this action to lines he painted on the surfaces. With this work he began to attract the attention of the French critic and researcher Frank Popper, whom he specially mentions in his book “Art, Action and Participation”, 1980. One can link this stage of his speech to the Brazilian Lygia Clark in the series Trepantes, made in metal and wood in the late fifties. In a few years the artist goes from professor at the School of Fine Arts of Trujillo to experimental art professor at Paris VIII. This shows that if anything characterizes the life of the artist is nomadism, as his work has developed between Europe and the tropics. In the early nineties several key paintings that show this feature that has characterized the life of Asdrubal Colmenarez, which is present in the Series Mare Nostrum presented at the MACCSI in 1993. Where some pieces are autobiographical snippets of his wanderings through time and space over his lives, as it is evident in painting Mare Nostrum Series of 1992, where between imaginary coordinates the dots connect in time and the space of existential significance for the artist, creating a diagram of his future.
The atmosphere permeates the Mare Nostrum exhibition through conceptual and visual elemental that he introduces as maps, marine charts, compasses conveying the notion of imaginary trip that should move the viewer to geographies existing only in the inner reality, sense that becomes one of the axes of the series Nomad Latency. The idea is also reflected in his exhibition at the Alejandro Otero Museum, 1996, by introducing the subject of paper airplanes, childish, made of steel, mocking the industrial resonances of the material in both form and color, giving the idea of imaginary nomadism. Sense that focuses on the current series made between 1998 and 1999, since they are visions that seem to be born of a movie camera lens, which embodies this aesthetic Latency that were present in his artistic language due to historical and cultural rupture that the new millennium should bring. However, the French-Trujillo artist reminds us that it is necessary to refocus our attention on the planet that sustains us, since art goes beyond aesthetics. Thus this proposal mutates the aesthetics into an ethic reply by pushing us to think on the rupture point that is the end of the millennium. These conceptual contents are embodied in these pictorial collages in the presence of penguins printed on pieces of cut paper, naturalistic drawings on scrap paper that convey the notion of fragility in which these strings of life are, of which we are responsible, but it also draws our attention on the need to turn our attention to our origins as species, since much of the understanding of our contemporary history is hidden in the archetype of the Nomad Latency of our unconscious, hence some paintings provide photocopies of ethnographic maps of Africa and Brazil, as contemporary nomadism has its roots in the nomad culture, making it an inherent feature of our humanity that has just taken on new masks.
Caracas, June 1999