The work of Charris has always been linked to the idea of a journey. Whether in his series about distant lands –Africa, Lapland, Hopper’s America or Spilliaert’s Belgium – or in his views of everyday life. His vision is one of a traveller progressing though history and through the present, ready to be surprised, uniting sometimes impossible points of view and combining images and concepts in a song that is both strange and familiar.
Through the shaping of a clear line, the heir to a multitude of pictorial references, the painter gives form to images conceived as a collage of sources and contents that are sometimes in counterpoint, where the narrativity may appear subtly or more explicitly.
The new series “Los mares del Tiki” – the seas of Tiki – has taken him to the islands and sunny beaches of the Pacific – Hawaii, French Polynesia, New Zealand – but also to that other image behind the mirror of the paradise that was the Tiki culture, and which after the Second World War extended throughout the West, spreading in the form of tropical bars and motels inspired in desert islands which, when mixed with the modern movement (and sometimes in opposition to it) served up a cocktail of primitivism, kitsch, optimism and erotica to a world devastated by darkness.
In eastern imagery the southern seas are united with the idea of Eden, the new Arcadia, a place where the inhabitants live a simple life in harmony with nature. From Melville to Stevenson, Jack London to Gauguin, from Murnau’s Tabú to the musical South Pacific or the films of Elvis Presley, those distant islands have created an object of desire around the escape from civilisation and the complication of modern life. A mirage of leisure and sensuality which has its more domestic version in the idea of the beach, abundantly exploited by the mass tourism industry.
In this exhibition the purely real sits side by side with concepts offered by the iconography of paradise, the genuine with the false, the exotic with the everyday, and they sit together in images that continue to present that multiplicity of layers and meanings that are the stamp of the artist, where the present slides in alongside, reflection and irony, wrapped up in the light and the spirit of the painting.
These works form part of the book “Los mares del Tiki”, which is currently in preparation, with texts by Sema D’Acosta, Eloy Fernández Porta, Juan Manuel Bonet and the painter himself.
Ángel Mateo Charris (Cartagena, 1962) is an established artist whose career has taken him to galleries, fairs and museums around the world. He has work in contemporary art collections such as: Reina Sofía Contemporary Art Museum (MNCARS), Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM), BBVA Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, Gas Natural Fenosa Contemporary Art Museum, Bancaja Foundation Collection, La Caixa Collection, Artium Museum (Vitoria), Patio Herreriano Museum (Valladolid), Banc de Sabadell Collection and Burgos Centre for Contemporary Art (CAB)among others.