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Michel Mouffe, A las cinco de la tarde

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Michel Mouffe, A las cinco de la tarde
Can Senieta, San Francesc Xavier, Formentera
May 5 to August 17

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The project, A las cinco de la tarde, is above all a pictorial project that seeks to capture the viewer's gaze with a genealogy of painting.

What initially appears to be abstract paintings — almost monochrome — is quickly denoted by its surface and by the particular construction of the canvas and frame, which is deformed, stamped.

Painting already announces its singularity; it challenges the dogmas of modernity — flatness for example — to assert a different presence. It captures the look that cannot escape the discovery of a painting built in layers, discovering an unstable surface, vibrating by the composition of colors and features. It is probably in a third movement of perception that, little by little, a portrait is discovered, buried in the colored mass.

Mouffe is attached to what the pictorial experience he proposes leaves behind — a presence, a force, a being. For this reason, Mouffe claims an irreproducible paint, unspeakable, unassignable. Since long, he uses the abstract "motifs" of modernity — the grid, the interlacing, the limit, the frame — and the constituents of the painting itself. Introducing figuration as the underlying composition of the effects of a painting, on the margins of the abstract, is his desire to "embody" presence, to relate it to memory, i.e., to history and place. It is to recognize from the outset a politico-social scope.

We insist, however, that we speak of painting and its corollary; what do we see, how do we see and for what presence?

Introducing figuration — in this case, portraits — had to start from the particular — the painter, his place, etc.… — but necessarily to touch the universal, which is to say, each one of us.

That's why Mouffe has chosen to represent the people shot by the Franco regime in Formentera. Their assassination is universal in troubled times for democracy, at a time when the world is consumed by violence, injustice, and, in short, where the human is far from human. It is therefore understandable that, as painting develops in palimpsest, the deep meaning of its hidden discourse in a “être là peint”is memory, time, evil, us.

Finally, the vision of this work makes it possible to experience the effect of what is hidden or, as the hidden thing reveals, in a pictorial process that finally tells us a story. The photographic material used for portraits is rare and of poor quality. Only a few of the shot people on the island left a photographic trace to history. Therefor Mouffe widened the circle of those represented to those who had a connection with Formentera, or to those who, by their death, represented the universality of fascist evil. We especially think of Bárbara Gárcia Doreto from Ibiza — one of the few women in this series — and Federico Garcia Lorca (poetry, art) who gave the title of this project: A la cinco de la tard”, taken from his Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, the friend that died under the bull’s horns. Obviously, this project is somehow a funeral song along with a recognition.

Mouffe says:

Of course, I will say, the act of recognition is the visual act that operates facing my paintings, which know that what is recognized is self-evident and therefore bears the force of the universal and its part of unknown.

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