May 4th, 2011
Another Azaceta — I was still haunted by the last piece of his I featured while I went looking for something to write about today, so I went straight back to his work and quickly found another example of why I like his style so much: “Swimming to Havana II”. In this piece’s frame-filling, enigmatic, primitive, machine-beast presence there’s something here of the Ernst of “Ubu Imperator” and “The Elephant Celebes”, the Duchamp of the “Chocolate Grinder No. 2″, and all sortsa Picabia. I love those pieces for much the same reason I’m drawn to the Azaceta: the big visual statement thud, the unsettling proximity to some gnomic apparatus, a compelling/weird spirit of secrets & alien logic that just needs the right attention & effort to unlock, a feeling of being caught out in the gray void by this suddenly-looming contraption creature.
But this piece offers more than just echoes of a handful of marquee Dadaists & Surrealists. You also have those lovely bands of playful color contrasted with the sad & defeated narrative implied by the combination of the title and the wee little swimmer diving deeper (back?) into the forbidding maze-machine he thinks/hopes he’s fleeing. All of this adds rich & directly-emotional layers to the work. Borrowing from the mystery of the Surrealists, mixing in explicit personal/political commentary — thereby managing to have yr work come off as neither agitprop nor hermetic bizzaroscape but potent mixture of the two — that’s how you process the past & make it your own.
Please check out more of Azaceta’s art over at Arthur Roger Gallery.
All writing © copyright C. Way / Snailcrow.com 2011