Fuera del cuerpo
Fabián Burgos
Vasari
11.03.20 | 24.04.20

Thanks to the work he has produced consistently since the nineties, Fabián Burgos (Buenos Aires, 1962) is a major exponent of geometric abstraction and neo-kinetic painting. After creating Stay in Space (2017), a mural covering over thirty-two hundred square meters on the facade of Brickell Heights in Miami, he showed seven recent works at Vasari that explore the potential of pictorial material. Fuera del cuerpo featured two large-format kinetic paintings and five other works in which motion is gradually brought to a standstill.

From the start, Burgos has used oil paint, not acrylic, which would be more practical for the precision of hard-edge abstraction. In Espectro 1 (Specter 1, 2020), the kinetic work on display in the gallery’s front window, three planes of green, black, and white lines respectively are superimposed. The lines curve and crisscross, distorting the expected straightness. If, by looking at the painting from a distance, say, the eye is able to forget each line for an instant, it can detect that behind the surface of parallel strips of color lies a vague black figure (the “specter”). Gravedad en negro (Gravity in Black, 2020), the other kinetic work in the show, also consists of parallel lines that curve and crisscross, as if they existed in flat worlds that are superimposed on the same surface though they never intersect.

The illusion of movement diminishes in the next works, in “the forms in spiral,” to use the artist’s term, on white background that have straight edges and sharp points. In Espiral con límites (Spiral with Limits, 2020), for example, a thin light-blue line traces the perimeter of a pink shape as if trying to hold it at bay to keep it from advancing from the right side of the painting.

In the other paintings in the show, the movement of the figures or, citing the artist again, of the “cut-out shapes” gradually comes to a halt, as if frozen in a photograph. Unlike in the kinetic paintings, in these the brushstroke, the painter’s gesture, and the background color all make themselves seen. Though the “cut-out” figures are arranged differently in each of the works, they always stand out “from behind” in a textureless matte black. They are not, in other words, painted on the background: the background paradoxically surrounds them without covering them.

Movement and stillness, figure and background, but also the trace left by the hand that paints and hard abstraction are the most visible tensions Burgos formulates in an exhibition that, in just seven works, sums up two opposing but not contradictory ways of painting.