A coup de coeur for the poetry and the technique of “Light on Light”

Feb 7, 2023 | Authentications & attributions

My “coup de coeur” of this edition of BRAFA is a contemporary artwork by the Spanish artist José Maria Sicilia, presented in the Belgian gallery MSSDCLRQ (Meessen De Clerq, Brussels, Belgium).

Exhibited as if it was a painting, the artwork turns out to be the set of two transparent silk canvases in juxtaposition on which full, semi-full and colored geometric shapes have been embroidered with silk thread. The empty space between the two silk canvases allows natural light to pass, giving an optical effect of transparency and, at the same time, a particularly interesting perspective, amplified thanks to the colored embroidery.

«Light on Light» from its title, created between the years 2019-2020, turns out to be a very delicate work first of all for the materials used by the artist, and then for the optical and poetic analysis that the viewer can make. It looks like a window with degraded colored clouds, fantastic flying planes, an imaginary geographical map of the lost colored islands on the transparent sea with the effect of a focal point in the foreground (or in the first silk canvas). Many fantasies come to mind, with the observation of an aesthetically seductive work but intriguing for its technicality. A textile work that has the lightness of a watercolor, the technicality of an architectural drawing or a musical composition. So different and original compared to the contemporary works seen on the BRAFA art market, this work stands out and goes well with its pendants (there are two versions of the Light on Light silk panels). In the MSSDCLRQ (Messen de Clerq) gallery booth, there were two other works from Sicilia with different techniques (“El Instante”, ink on Japanese paper and a bronze: “Eco, We have what’s left”) where the viewer could immediately recognize and dive into the poetry of artist.

José María Sicilia born in 1954 is a Spanish abstract painter who currently resides in Paris and Sóller. Sicilia was born in Madrid and grew up in Franco’s Spain. In 1980 he moved to Paris, where he exhibited for the first time, and in 1985 to New York. During the 1980s he was hailed as one of Spain’s most prestigious young artists. He is known for his paintings of nature, including landscapes, insects and flowers. He is famous for his unusual techniques such as the use of wax with lithography.

Meessen De Clercq is a contemporary art gallery promoting a group of leading international artists. The gallery occupies three floors of a house built in 1911, including a “Wunderkammer” (or chamber of curiosities), offering a particular look at the theater of the world.

(Marine Butera)