Batís Campillo by X. Antón Castro

ABOUT HOW TO PAINT DREAMS IN THE SKY

X. Antón Castro
Narrating fables and finding desire places, worlds of hard-to-alter intimacy, full of the Kantian ideal of a beauty that does not require explications over and above is harmonious formal self-reference, speaking about a moonlit night or a dark night with its deafening silence extracted from a poem of St. John of the Cross´ soul, in order to reach the deepest part of the spirit, is perhaps the aspiration of an impossible Icaria but, in the end, the aspiration-cum-painting of an artist that, as in the case of Maiacovski and Malevich, back on the second decade of 20th century, found in flight a reason to experiment visually with the infinite. It would be hard to explore Batís Campillo´s universe without taking into account some of the suppositions, whose echo has a strong impact in each of the paintings she is now presenting, as a unique and meticulous poem, in the regular architecture of the “Casa de la Parra”.
By means of the intimate reflection favoured by solitude chosen as a travelling companion in the aesthetic field and by means of a meticulous sobriety, full of experiences that take it back to the seventies, dealing with painting in its most traditional expression, painting landscapes, still lives or portraits, a necessary corpus in order to extract the classical vitality from the essential of the pictorial act, Batís Campillo has been blazing swift trails or devouring roads that managed to consolidate training –something so important today- in order to exploit desire and restore it to the result we were seeking. And this training does not exclude working, in the past, as a graphic and advertising designer, jobs that, in recent years, in recent years have made such an important contribution to art and whose official ratification had already taken place in the controversial Documenta de Kassel of 1987. But, as she herself acknowledges, on her own road to Damascus she came across flight, the same on that had fascinate the supremacist desires of Malevich in order to attain grade zero of painting, between 1914 and 1918. However, in her case, flight began to be a militant action and the passion of her fable in the sky was possible in the praxis of flying as a private pilot. Flying and painting could embrace each other in an act of love, in order to fulfil her desires: “painting dreams”.
In a lucid text, in which the artist herself x-rays the synthesis of her life linked to art, she frequently turns to it and travelling, to the search for beauty and the encounter with the spiritual world, to the sources of her passion that are hidden in Ancient Egypt, to the freedom of the one that flies in order to cross the clouds of inaccessible paradises and touch them with the eyes or with the soul: this gave rise to her most compact, mature project in the first year of the millennium, in a series of works that structure the current exhibition with multiple registers under the thread of the circle, a metonymic symbol that sums up the spiral of the origin and the return, beginning and end, an emblem with numerous meanings. In them painting hides itself as hermeneutics, the abstract look that we can decipher under numerous meanings, varied dreams brought face to face with the territory of the spirit, surpassing formalism and choosing the Utopian will of the first moment.
The circle has often been related to the sky and perfection, and it ancient world views this figure that refracted the solar body could imply universe harmony, but also the idea of a time that comes and goes, the circular and protective vision, the mark of heavenly influence and the image of energy. Between the circle and energy –recurrence and symbiosis in her titles- there is hidden an important part of the conceptual and aesthetic resources of this artist, who has managed to refine the subliminal meanders of her usual figurative structures in order to explore objective positions that lead the geometry´s most essential field: geometry of the same transforming substance that had captivated Archipenko´s constructivist look or the second Kadinsky´s biomorphic intersections, exact looks of an universal harmony that codified the mathematics of the spirit as operative beauty. That is where Batís Campillo attains sobriety, a sobriety that she names in each act by turning to plural dimensions of the cosmos, to astral or temporal references, in which the presence of a supposed globe brings us face to face with the infinity of the universe, which relativizes the scale of our presence as direct participants. Lúa, Punto energético, Mediodía, Noche, Mundo, El camino de los sueños, Espacio crítico, Noche de San Juan, Noche en la costa, Prestige… are not so much titles or series as the will to make painting transcend to a mental territory where the most visually changeable transience succumbs to the night and mystery, but also to personal commitment to the awareness that involves a social look at the surroundings, with which she speculates from the deepest part of the spirit. This is perhaps, in this case, when Campillo´s painting, subject to an inherent existential freedom that intensifies the lean air of an intangible atmosphere for dose of us who do not fly, associating the circle with the square among the dripping of contained gestures and an abstract space, dominated by greys, acquires this specific force that brings to my mind the geometric imagination of Antoine de Saint-Exupery´s Vol de Nuit: describing hills, below the aeroplane, for the author of The Little Prince, the plains became luminous, with an unusual light, and the world turned into a magical act. In this light, part of our artist´s transformations take place, from white to black, from day to night, from circle to square, from sky to earth, from geometry to gesture, from grey to red… Antinomies that take place, with full maturity, in her most refined series, undoubtedly a synthesis of all of her painting: Campos de Ialu, which she began in 2001 and formed the basis of the installation in “Casa de la Parra”.
Eduardo Cirlot, the great scholar of symbols in art, found in the old Oriental cultures, especially in Indian or Tibetan mandalas and in Chinese emblems, a particular relationship in the symbiosis between the circle end the square, which is so frequent in the world of universal spiritual morphology: the white circles could correspond to energy and heavenly influences, while the black squares would refer to telluric impulses, a hypothesis that could even link the former to a male principle and the latter to a female one. Speculations that are not far removed from the theosophical suppositions of Mondrian, who intensified the vertical geometry of his neo-plastic rationalism with the masculine (dynamic principle) and the horizontal with the feminine (harmonious and static). However, over and above the hermeneutics for deciphering the hypothesis, Campos de Ialu is a “work in progress” shaken by the interest that may surpass the interplay of meanings to speak to us about the painting-painting and highlight its variables, starting from the circle inscribed in the universe of a simple square, whose limits are enclosed in a night that is just a symbolic: material crevices and folds that invite us into a tactile paradise, a lunar image of light and shade, the geometry of the planet cracked by the abstract look of the fragment defining the experience´s nuances, which for the artist are simply the “foundations of the world”, the “search for a space” or of the memory and the ritual of a moonless night. Behind the sobriety of this “dark night of soul” that requires silence and the spirit of the mystics from St. Teresa to Saint John of the Cross, a naked collection of poems of another flesh that is not the instant of pale blues, colours moderated by the sidereal air the support precise compositions. From them arise the concepts and an extensive atmosphere of dwindling spaces or immense black holes, whose crevices are sought by the artist in the hope of attaining the lost paradise and establishing an infinity that she defines in relation to the protective circle.
In any case, this exhibition, united under the Campos de Ialu, is a tribute to painting as a territory of reflection and the ideal container for speaking about inner life, about secret cultures, about the sensations that the artist has with regard to the world and their refinement from the heavenly watchtower of flight. From up above the eyes eliminate the superfluous and synthesis specifies the grade zero of an abstraction. And, despite the crevices, the metonymic lunar folds, the circles that shorten infinity, the wounds become silent in the broken darkness to speak about an immense space where harmony is beauty and protective light, a planet of shadows illuminated in the planes that Saint-Exupery imagined. Behind the enchantment and the succession of time, so recurrent in the different states of astral circles, structures not only by the coagulated gesture of matter but also by the change from white to black, we will inevitably find a symbolic and experimental space, which is that which betrays, like a seismograph, the vicissitudes of life –perhaps the place where emotions are produced- but, over and above any other event, a story of painting committed to life and its circumstances, shaped by dreams.