Alejandro Correa

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“The world is but a canvas to our imagination.”

Henry David Thoreau

 

 

There are contemporary artists whose works might at first glance be confused with that of avant-garde artists of the past. When we discover that they are contemporary, young, and prolific, we are forced to develop a contemporary interpretation when confronted with their work and we must, inevitably, seek to understand the currents, which were at some point counter-currents, going against the dominant flows, from a new perspective.

 

This kind of tongue twister or mental loop becomes clear visually when we contemplate the work of Alejandro Correa (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1984), which, if taken out of its temporal context, might lead us to believe we have discovered a post-romantic, a dissident of modern-day isms who connects with the past.

 

Correa’s landscapes take us aesthetically back to the 19th century and the time when industrialisation and romanticism competed in an explosion of antagonistic possibilities that were forced to coexist in a constantly changing world. Landscapes that absorb any trace of civilisation, which overwhelm when confronted with a vastness that might bring on a bout of hylophobia, in the face of the immensity of those spaces that are uncontrollable to human beings who, in the midst of revolution, seek to control the events of the world and even nature itself by subjecting it in their favour.

 

This 19th century duality can be found in Correa’s paintings. We do not know whether they conceal light or darkness, whether they are out of focus or coming into focus, whether the landscape or figures are appearing or disappearing. We will have to engage in an internal exercise that will help us understand and decipher which side we want to be on.

The dripping that anchors his paintings beats time in an aesthetic score that is then composed with the brushstrokes that describe the landscape, emotions, shaping a great oeuvre composed of small and large formats that allow the viewer to decide which of them they want to dive into, or even get lost in, raising the same issues explored at the start of this text.

Let us take a step further and understand the difficulty of a contemporary artist going against the flow in today’s world. A world of post-truth, loaded with images at every turn, sharp, realistic, in which aesthetic consumption is saturated in turn with filters to embellish the reality of what exists, of what surrounds us, of what we can perceive as truth and which, ultimately, reflects a great lie. The images we consume are not only filtered by the author’s gaze, but also by a multitude of possibilities contained in our mobile devices, our computers, producing a strange fiction that may seem real to us. Correa goes in the opposite direction, filtering directly without deception; he does not intend to sell us an obvious truth; rather, he intends to make us delve into our own truth when faced with the image he puts before us, composed in an absolutely contrary way, that is to say the very foundation will be filters, layers, memories, like a collage of nuances in which it is ultimately the spectator themselves who will find the reality contained within the work.

In a dystopian world like the one we are living in, there is a small place to return to Thoreau and one of his phrases, quoted at the top of this text. “The world is but a canvas to our imagination”. And that is where Correa’s painting centres us; it teaches us that the possibility of generating our own universe is in our hands and, in this case, his painting is but the reflection that his world, created with his filters, constructed through his scraps, can become the setting for the personal and collective imaginary in today’s society, a staging that is as intimate as it is universal.

Noemí Méndez

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