Shadows (2018.08.19)

We're all shadows in the end. Stains that come and go. At some point we take shape, we define a line and mean something, but then we get lost and never make sense again.

Lately, perhaps since the Ansak series, I have mainly worked on portraiture.

It has always been masculine, frontal and hieratic, with some self-portrait, as a reflection of that search for connection with others, for understanding which makes us human, what allows us to feel, and from among feelings makes us choose those that hurt.

All this work has led me to generate a new idea, and I no longer think of man (species) as I used to.

 

THE HUMAN FIGURE IS FALSE

I am not referring to the human shape, to the physical, but to what is inside this container made of organic matter.

We define ourselves as animals that, thanks to language and self-awareness, think and develop complex emotions. And besides, we differentiate ourselves from the rest of the beings on this planet by claiming that we are the most intelligent. The most evolved. 

However, from my point of view, we obey the same limits as the rest of the species. We are no freer than any other animal, even though our reaction and behaviour systems are more complex.

What we think and feel is produced by an ecosystem of organisms that work together as an effect of life’s push, of the path that DNA opens (among other codes) to stay alive. If we cry, we obey the order to show the need for help to others, if we laugh, we show our superiority as individuals of the species and our value as a reproductive pathway, if we feel alone… perhaps we are being forced by our “engine” to seek something better, in another environment that will more likely ensure our success, or to strive harder to join the group.

To buy a car, dress Prada, get followers in Instagram, to have a dream and even feel interest in science. All these are impulses, orders that we obey that come from an inner parliament of species that conform us, just as they compose other beings in another order, and push them to feed, hunt or reproduce.

They are the same orders, each in its own form according to context.

And as conscious beings, and also thanks to language, we can talk to ourselves, that is, to that parliament of organisms, and try to change some orders. Here, it is the only corner where I see freedom in man more than in other beings, but it is always limited by our own capacities and may also be a mechanism we obey. Don’t ask me, I’m a painter!

In the end, if we strip life itself of magic, all we are is a set of vehicles that try to ensure the permanence of the state of that matter that moves, duplicates, interacts. And I do not think that there is any will in this strange matter, in “what is alive”, nor any motive that pushes it to live. It simply is, and cannot cease to be. Like a stone, which has no reason to be, nor to cease to be. DNA doubles itself for the same reason that a gas expands.

On the other hand, I don’t want this to look like a nihilistic speech, or a negative sermon that ends up justifying any behavior given these discouraging initial causes. I think that life is all we have, probably the most interesting thing that exists in the universe, and I think that we should not only take care of it, but enjoy it, take advantage of it, without fear. The meaning of life is to live.

 

YET MAGIC

Having said that, which is no small feat, and perhaps I have ventured beyond where I should, I have to say that I may be one of the people I know who most believe in the “magic” of our species.

Even thinking that all this is nothing more than the effect of a mix of elements interacting with the environment, and that we are not free, or that everything we feel or think has a chemical basis, and everything is a search for survival… even so, I am glad with romantic love, with music (which has no explanation), with my infinite sense of loneliness, with my contemporary sadness, with my hope and my desire to tell, to paint emotions.

Perhaps I am so observant that I need this whole speech to understand ourselves, or perhaps that is called being stupid because, after so much self-explaining, so much research, the conclusion is none other than what everyone already knows: “This is just life”.

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