• Juan Almarza Anwandter

This is a collage of some paintings I´ve been doing recently. This medium has been an interesting discovery, it provides a form of creative experience which is quite spontaneous and intuitive. The format is small (normally 10 x 15 cm), so the whole process takes no more than 5-10 min. In terms of content, they are inspired by my memories of Chilean landscapes. I a deeper sense, my intention is to depict the modelling forces of Nature in action, this is why clouds and mountains play a dominant role. In them, the eternal play between formative and destructive forces becomes visible, clear and explicit...."without any moral attribution", in the words of Nietzsche.

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  • Juan Almarza Anwandter

A concept like “Eternity” cannot be verified empirically. It is just a possibility that we can infer, a construct of the mind. Pure mathematical entities like squares, triangles or circles are also mind-constructs, but these can be somehow represented and replicated as concrete objects in space. How could we represent “eternity”, in a drawing for example? It cannot be even represented. One could think of a circle, because it is a curved line with no beginning and no end. But at the same time, a circle is a limit, and it has a dimension. So, it embodies just one aspect of what we can grasp as “eternity”.

In this sense, I think that the potential degree of representation of abstract concepts is variable, and it depends both in the nature of the concept and the medium chosen. If I ask my architecture students to represent in drawings concepts like limit, sequence, rhythm, enclosure, dynamism, horizontal, vertical, the results may vary, but probably they will share some common features, and some degree of objective universality. But what about happiness, or justice? These are a completely different kind of concepts, which do not have an immediate and intuitive form of representation. If we contextualize this distinction in the ambit of architecture, the problem becomes even more patent. The matter of architecture is, a priori, non-representational and non-referential. Painting, music and sculpture are more adequate mediums for representation, in this sense. Can we conceive a building as if it was a painting, trying to "express" concepts as in a blank canvas?

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  • Juan Almarza Anwandter

Actualizado: 23 feb

What is the meaning of “style”? In formal terms, it corresponds to a certain set of compositional attributes that distinctively characterize any form of artistic expression. Thus, we speak of the style of Rafael, as something different from the style of Botticelli. But, in colloquial language, we also use the term as an adjective: “She looked so stylish!”, “He did it with style!”. What does the concept mean in such contexts? Roland Barthes gives us an interesting answer. Inspired by the spectacle given by the Spanish “toreros” (bullfighters), he says: “And what is style? it is to turn a difficult act into a graceful gesture, it is to introduce a rhythm in fatality. It is to be brave without disorder; it is to give what is necessary the appearance of freedom.” Certainly, a beautiful definition. Understood in this sense, conscious volition is a precondition for style. Therefore rocks, clouds and trees may have shapes, but not “style”. They are ruled by necessity and fatality, in a deterministic sense. Entities with a higher level of complexity like animals (in particular beasts of prey), exhibit traits of style in their predatory strategies. It is in human beings where the concept of style can reach a peak of manifestation - in the conscious confrontation with death. I am planning to write a short book on this interesting subject...

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