Of all the arts, it is painting that celebrates the miracle of absolute creation with greatest conviction. A single painting enriches and modifies the plenitude of the universe forever. The imprecise ways of the performer deprives us of the total experience of music. The everyday usage of words in the grey routine of living burdens poetry with indispensable impurities. The painters have no intermediaries, their tool and their subject are the very essence of what they create. Giotto’s work is not only the whole twilight of the middle ages; it is, in addition and above all, an autonomous and extremely vast world, parallel to the one that witnessed the dawn of the Renaissance. Velázquez is more than the dismal chronicle of the astounded twilight of the Habsburgs. Bonnard’s sunlit Mediterranean gardens outlive with irrefutable validity the bastardly deterioration of the world where they were born.
I’m trying to make clear my certainty about the eloquent uselessness of the word when it names or deals with painting. All of Malraux’s monumental verbal architecture, at the service of a supposed meditation on the visual arts, ends up in a treatise on the experience of God, written by a theologian who is ignored. Having said this, I propose a precarious sum of impressions based on the paintings Frederic Amat made in Mexico. The miracle settles in with delirious eloquence. All the motley magic of a secret world, the millenary clamour of presences and forces that, for the majority of Mexicans, are a familiar yet elusive matter which has always been denied, take possession of an artist who had always handled the demons of his painting with Mediterranean dexterity.
Any comparison is in vain and only denounces the limitations of those who resort to them in order to make up for verbal deficiency. But I have not been able to stop thinking about Malcolm Lowry while traversing Amat’s work born of his encounter with Mexico. Perhaps vertigo, identical certainty in the discoveries, the same devotion of man to powers that have always been familiar, but that he had
ruled out ever finding in a world like the one that we suffer, reigned over solely by the monsters of reason which Don Francisco de Goya, another delusional, alluded to.
There is a loving meticulousness in the narrative of Amat’s Mexican oeuvre, and a certainty in the discovery of the signs that indicate that his encounter with Mexico, and more precisely with Oaxaca, belongs to the remarkable order of that which is already written. As happens in such exceptional cases, Amat goes much further, reaching regions more recondite than those explored by some artists born in Mexico.
The use of the “boxes” with which Amat gives greater emphasis and transcendence to his discoveries is a clear and wise choice to me. In effect, a simple frame is no longer enough to define the space in which a painting resides. These boxes, reminiscent of those used by entomologists to store the precious specimens of their collection, give Amat’s creations a presence, and a much more eloquent and substantial validity than that provided by the traditional frame. These birds, these objects held there forever, announce their destiny with an unknown and unsettling permanence that reminds me of the effectiveness of certain moments perpetuated in poems by Rilke or Lubicz Milosz. Something like the underlying meanings of mystery, that other clarity that words can hardly even name precariously.
No one like Amat had ever achieved the hallucinatory discovery of a world of forms, colours and eerie relationships with such intensity and certainty. A world only vaguely perceived until now, as it was dispersed, hidden and elusive to the quotidian routine of our Mexican experience.
Deia Milocz :