An Art that Questions Existence

By Ana Martines Quijano.

Ámbito Financiero newspaper

With the strategy and splendor of Baroque art, the Misiones artist Andrés Paredes (1979) presents "Mutatis Mutandis. Memento Mori" at Ungallery, a new space in the Arroyo Street art tour. Continuing with his representation of nature, always present -together with beauty- in the artist’s work, the exhibition raises from its very name important questions around existence and death. For Paredes, art is a serious thing.
The exhibition has a mystical dimension. In a dimly lit hall, some bright beacons rise on pedestals. In the Tenebrism and under crystal domes, bones and skulls lie on mud together with the most beautiful butterflies and semi-precious stones, agates and amethysts that light the setting with their glow. The effect is dramatic. Paredes includes his own symbols, the elements that have accompanied him ever since he was a child in Misiones. In this way, he recreates the ancient vanitas («Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas». Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity), paintings that appeared when the Renaissance period was in crisis and man becomes aware of the ineluctable destiny of death.
To what extent does the torn sensitivity of Baroque strike a chord in the vane man of our times? In the meantime, humanistic ideals collapsed due to their own contradictions - a Process that became visible when the discoveries in Astronomy disclosed the Universe hugeness and the power of the Renaissance man became smaller. The domes protect and isolate the works but generate a certain distance; the composition enclosed in these transparent urns foster the very idea of death. With the utmost splendor, Paredes brings the following message from the man of the past, his incapacity to dominate a world immersed in moral, political and religious contradictions. "Memento mori (Remember you will die)”.

In the meantime, the overwhelming nature, the essential mud and the butterflies appear on the gallery window; in the inside, the artist exhibits around ten pictures. Cut papers generate lights and shades, emulate the entanglement drawn by the jungle as well as the Baroque chiaroscuro. There, amidst waves of wild vegetation, a new species deriving from beautiful butterflies is mutating. "They are mutant, hybrid insects, made of insect parts, exuviae of cicadas, butterfly and dragonfly wings.’ Mutatis Mutandis'", the artist explains. Are they the last or the first exponents of a species?
The works catch our eyes; an underworld where reality and fiction merge. According to Walter Benjamin, genuine works of art have a worship value, a sacred condition. Paredes seeks to generate the sense of distance of the “aura” - something as elusive as a ghost.

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