The enigma of the gaze

Curator: José A. Aristizábal

16th December, 2020 - 26th February, 2021

This exhibition The enigma of the gaze, curated by José A. Aristizábal, is structured around a thesis: the art of portraiture, by representing the human being, transmits, beyond the expectations of its time, an experience of a profound nature that is condensed in the gaze. In this sense, we have sought to make room for portraits that investigate representation with an existential, psychological meaning. Generally, these nuances are found in frontal portraits, serious and mysterious. However, it can also happen that due to their atmosphere they are involved in a dream world. From stillness, they denote a certain self-absorption or a certain confrontation. It is the portrait of someone whom we do not fully understand; in other words, it is the artist’s need to paint or sculpt a being without a situation, which crosses the layers of the flesh.

Observing these portraits induces a fleeting alteration of meaning, and whoever does so feels challenged. It seems that they know something about us that we ignore, or that they are looking for something about themselves that causes us the intrigue of knowing. So we attempt to discover in this attitude of tense calm a significant, ontological idea. This idea of the portrait, which we translate as the enigma of the gaze, and which extends as the central narrative of this exposition, completely dispenses with the procedures of social, economic, and emotional identification. Quite the contrary, it shows how a type or portrait persists over time that is defined by its ambiguity, by entering into shaky terrain and not so much in places of control and legitimation, although some have been created in the latter. From the extensive and varied collection that makes up the inventory of the Artur Ramon Art gallery, the works chosen span chronologically more than four hundred years —from the 17th century to the present—, as well as various techniques: painting, drawing, sculpture and photography.