GEOLOGY AND ART: Ildefonso Aguiler
GEOLOGY AND ART: Ildefonso Aguiler
by Norman Warwick
On the first of our many annual holidays on Lanzarote we became aware of the late artist, Cesar Manrique. We couldn´t help but notice the countless ´wind toys´ he created to adorn the roads and roundabouts and, like millions of tourists before and since we visited his former home, his studio and the caves he transformed into under-sea theatres. Since coming to live here in 2015, however we have realised that that there are generations of artists who follow in his footsteps sharing not only Manrique´s love and respect for Lanzarote and the arts but also for his curiosity about its relationship with nature and how that balance can be sustained. He is a multi-disciplined artist, who works in the fields of painting and photography and is a maker of music and video formatted work.
Speaking recently to Lanzarote viva, a quarterly print-media glossy magazine and on line site, Ildefonso was aksed which of these is his preferred medium.
´They are basically complementary,´ he responded. ´Although I must admit it has been painting that has been my main work process, whereas my painting and music tend to revolve around that. in fact, for me, sound possesses an extraordinary beauty and its something I have spent a lot of time recording and working on. It has driven me to createcompositions that border on the abstract but which capture the reality I want to express. That´s why it has always been tghere, as a means of heightening my expression, whenever painting has not been enough to express whatever it is I hear the landscape saying to me.´
His interviewer then asked whether Ildeonso paints through observation or through an intuitive connection.
´I look for its essence and try to convey what is beyond. I´m interested in what is not seen in plain sight; The latent inner-landscape within. I want to what is projected on the surface. I find landscapes incredibly moving. Not all of them, of course, but there is often some sort of emotional reaction that akes place and that I don´t try to rationalise. This happens with the landscapes of Lanzarote, and over the past twenty years, also happens with the landscapes of Iceland. These landscapes have managed to stir something deep inside me in a very powerful way. I search for sensations and I extract them but not always in a visual way.
Fragments and unreal representations of these landscape do a ppear in my work, too. Patches of realism also appear occasionally,but generally they occur in spaces that are completely imaginary and have nothing to with whatever is in front of my eyes but is the way I feel like capturing the, I feel they resonate more.´
This invited a further question about whether the artist talks to Lanzarote landscapes and, if so, whether he can capture what it whispers and realy that to his aideinces.
´Obviously I commujnicate with landscape. I even communicate with sea of black lave I can see from my studio. it is inexhaustioble and constantly re-newing. There´s a kind of constant ecstacvy to be had from the immense fascination and admiration I feel for the landscape in Lanzarote´.
Federico Castro Morales, in his work in Deserts And Malpaises writes that, ´these sands, torn from stone, are erratic particles that wander around the island´ and this prompts the interviewer from viva to wonder whether Ildefonso sees himself in a similar light, as ´an erratic particle wandering round the island.
At first Ildefonso laughs at the notion, but then gives it more thought.
¨Well, yes. I suppose I can identify with that description, because of the way I live, feel, enjoy and admire and interact with the landscape here´.
Larry Yaskiel, the honorary editor of Lancelot magazine, recently sent me a copy of a ´musical´ recording made by Ildefonso that, like much of his visual work, seemed to have come from somewhere before time began and yet at the same futuristic. We have also been taken on a guided walk of one of his exhibitions at Cic El Almacen by our favourite advocate of the arts, Estafania Camejo. She showed us a documentary film of the artist at work, on a broad ´canvas´. sifting an shifting, brushing and blowing and colouring sand and fragments into a landscape that like Lanzarote itself, was fractured, fissured and somehow both fearsome and lightly fearful. Lanzarote has has learned from the volcanic eruptions of almost three hundred years ago, just how fragile a landscape can be when subject to disturbance and how a rupture can change a landscape forever.
I have published a number of articles about Ildefonso, both on these pages and in my weekly column at Lanzarote Information but I don´t think I can claim, (and perhaps neither can anyone else) to know him at all. His work is revelatory, though whether that is in reportage or fore-warning I do not know. His relationship with the land and nature seems almost sacred. He seems to find the landscape both admirable and awe-inspiring.
And actually that final phrase above perfectly captures the way I feel about his work and its haunting qualities.
In our article, Artists, Galleries, Curators And Guides posted in Sidetracks & Detours on 5th August 2020 (and still freely available in our visual arts archives) I said of Ildefonso´s work that it is dark and sombre and seemingly introspective they are. They are created on huge, frameless and imposing canvasses but, when were guided around that exhibition of Ildefonso´s a couple of years ago at Cic El Almacen by art expert Estefania Camejo (left), her eye for detail soon identified the uniqueness of technique and how minutely, and accurately, the works seem to interpret the landscape from which they grow.
I should add also that as the arts test the new post-covid normality here on Lanzarote we notice that on the on recently-issued listings for arts events on Lanzarate from September to October there are several new exhibitions around which Estefania, with her enthusiasm, expert knowledge and easy eloquence, will be guiding interested visitors. We look forward to learning more from her and bringing you our reviews to these pages.
Meanwhile check out the work and archives of Ildefonso Aguiller. It is not always ´pretty´ but it speaks to me, somehow of Hopkins and of God´s Grandeur.
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