(…) everything. It fills us. We arrange it. It collapses. We arrange it again, and collapse ourselves.
R.M. Rilke (1923)
When contemplating #ClásicosDesollados (Skinned Classics) for the first time, we get the feeling that Alamà is leading us into a new experience. We see how a moving reinterpretation of the history of painting unfolds in pursuit of an expansion of the codes for reading contemporary figuration.
Alamà steps over the abyss of what had already been painted, like a tightrope walker, and studies the landscape of such an immeasurable tradition that is complicated, or virtually impossible, to make a final twist around the figure, portrait and mimesis – all forms of representation of an elusive world that resists being interpreted. This is especially true in an image-centred society in which the furtive glance of the eye hardly allows any opportunity for a calm critique by the gaze on reality. In this state of equilibrium – through disfiguration and smudging, being both the creator and destroyer of the artistic object and with the gaze focused on a tense and threatening path – we can see how Alamà expresses present-day problems through canon characters and scenes. Their validity as testimony of the human is not based on time, but on timeless capture of our nature.
This complex collection of studies or ‘amusements’ – in the artist’s own words – is based on a meticulous selection of classical works as its backdrop. This includes works as it backdrop. This includes works by, among others, Velázquez, Goya, Géricault, Friedrich, Manet or Degas. It shatters the serenity – imposed by custom and passivity of the collective – and reminds us that they are surprising and alive objects.
We see how he favours the use of light desaturated tones that, like torn curtains, force us to search and make way for a renewed understanding of such iconic peaks. Alamà reworks the masters, applies wide acrylic stains buried beneath thick layers of resin, rips the canvases and relocates theirs folds just as a surgeon would do. He skins them; removing the hide and undressing the classic. […]
Alamà recalls milestones from the West to tear them apart, skin them and finally recompose them, anchoring them in the now thanks to an aesthetic and formal jolt that creates a delicate dialogue between yesterday and today.
Curator of the exhibition