ON DOUBLES, DANSES MACABRES, AND SEMANTIC GAMES: A FEW DROPS FROM THE UNIVERSE OF EDUARDO LARA
The double that exists inside or outside of us. Eduardo makes a foray into the soul using techniques that take us back to the Renaissance and Baroque classics (the foundations of our history, as many would have it) and that lead us, in the end to Hopperian canvases – in their essence and global composition – surrounded by mystery and loneliness.
We wonder and ask ourselves whether we are one or require our double – real or imaginary – as in the continual disputes and dilemmas life itself puts us in. Or maybe we are dealing with presences that inhabit our own self? Like a mirror which, instead of allowing us to see what is reflected, shows us a side of ourselves that we are not always prepared to look at, recognize, assimilate.
Doubles that speak to us of foldings and unfoldings in the soul, in our identity. Discovering the self through its opposite, its antithesis, its other face. Exercises in courage not suitable for all audiences. Concealment as that which discovers, provides evidence, shouts out in its non-being, making it stronger, more powerful, more present, precisely because it is not in sight. The eyes that deceive, the gaze that is lost, that attempts to tie up loose ends without arriving at a definitive conclusion. A confrontation with the essence of human being.
On the other hand, wondering can also have linguistic, semantic, and symbolic roots and in Eduardo Lara's graphic work we come across games that confuse, or even mock us with signs we think we recognize, but are impossible for us to decipher. With appearances that feel real because seem to be what they seem to be. Illustrations that look scientific, occupying a place of respect and trust in our collective imagination, and that we therefore refuse to question. And despite their being indecipherable we insist on analyzing them, with a clinical eye, examining each line and each symbol, tying and untying strands as if we were unraveling the meaning of a hieroglyph. That’s the game Eduardo proposes to us – a game which amounts to an impossible task.
In reality, many other things in history have already been written down and illustrated; they are real, and nevertheless we will never be able to understand or analyze them. A lesson for our understanding, or our lack thereof.
The danse macabre, in conclusion. Because it is the end, the inevitable. It is the only guarantee we have, the only certainty, for everyone. Finis gloriae mundis. An eternal theme that gives us meaning because it takes everything away from us. Skeletons that dance around, blind ... The gesture that Eduardo Lara makes to the German Renaissance artist Holbein, in a quantitative leap – an ironic reference – surprises us with its festive, almost irreverent atmosphere, while reminding us at the same time of who we are and where we are inevitably headed. Seen in this way, sarcasm and absurdity certainly become logical and even serious – what's more, they become truly sensible.
But not all of us are prepared for this. In reality, none of us are. Though there are some, like Eduardo, who, with great clarity and relish – with the parsimony, optimism, and tranquility of those who know what is to come – get down to the work of designing a coffin, engraving it, pampering it, painting it, make it his. Making it a work of art. Thought of in this way, if art seeks is to remain in time, what better instrument to achieve this purpose?
Eduardo's work definitely tells us about many people, about ourselves, about the history of humanity. A Borges-like “infamous” history or one full of stellar highlights, as Zweig would have it. Why not examine it carefully, then, learn from it? His work shows us a reflection on identities, layers, deceptions, jokes, meanings, and nonsense. Life itself.
Entering the artistic universe of Eduardo Lara entails entering a variety of universes. Nonetheless, they do not represent – despite their enormous differences at first glance – alien universes, but rather, parallel ones that touch one another, that comprise the self.
When I talked with him, I insisted that he showcase works representing different formats, techniques, processes. The theme of the double is a recurrent element and could very well constitute an exhibition of considerable dimensions. As could the theme of danses macabres. Or the objects. Or the engravings that question the semantics of history, our own days, and our own psychology of perception with a surgeon's scalpel. But we have a space of modest proportions and an artist with so many facets that, instead of presenting one (or two) we decided to present several, despite the risk that the public might think it is dealing with several artists and not one. That’s intentional, too – not without a certain knowing smile. At any rate, take a good look at each work and you will understand that it is really only one, speaking of the human soul from all its perspectives, from its lights and its shadows. Speaking of what art ultimately speaks of, now and always.
Inés R. Artola