Nicolás Perilla Reyes – Pablo Solano’s Fondos del Mar: Majorcan Informalism and Politics
In 1957, Colombian artist Pablo Solano arrived in Mallorca looking for a balmy atmosphere. Yet, that transit ended up in something more than only a hedonistic, touristic trip. This time marked a point of no return in his art life; that is, the decision to practice an informalist language thenceforth. However, such adoption did not emerge from a vacuum; it was not a coincidence. The splotchy and eerie works he produced at that time were not only the clue to an expressive and gloomy persona or the beginning of a new cycle in his career. More precisely, they were indications through which Solano demonstrated his ties to a broader political context. In this respect, his series Fondos del mar is particularly revealing, since metonymically refers both to his resistance against and discrepancy with Francoism, and to his closeness to leftist artistic circles (i.e., El Paso group). Thus, in these small-format drawings with an abstract appearance, we observe swarming strokes and stains that allude to a submarine life of a detonating and entangled rhythm that happens slowly. Ultimately, in betraying the suffocating heaviness of salt water and the enigma that lies on the sea’s deepness, Solano sophisticatedly analogized a claustrophobic and murky society under an oppressive dictatorial regime in which everything occurs with a necessarily cautious lethargy at the risk of being censored.
Nicolás Perilla Reyes is an MA candidate in Art History at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, holding a Francisco Pizano de Brigard fellowship, and works as a graduate assistant at the same institution. He studied History and Art History as a double major as an undergraduate at Universidad de los Andes. His research interests focus on Colombian and Latin American art of the twentieth century with a particular fascination for abstraction. He is currently working on his thesis “Polysemous Spatialities: Ana Mercedes Hoyos and Three Moments in the Minimalist Dimension, 1969-1978”, which seeks to question a dominant and univocal manner of understanding minimalism. Before beginning his graduate studies, Nicolás worked some months with the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art, New York.