DANIEL ROMANO

HUNT- STATEMENT

Hunt is an investigation about relationships. We are all subject and object of desire. HUNT is a permanent search beetwen those who want and those who are desired in both ways. Who is hunted is also hunting. I paint acrylic on canvas with human figures with deers masks, hunting icons, naked, vulnerable. The images emerge into the light, not the full, completed on observation, cover and cover product layered over the obvious to make figures suggested layers, there are no certainties and no limits. Only risk.

 

HUNT

Masks are arrested expressions and admirable echoes of feeling, at once faithful, discreet and superlative. Living things in contact with the air must acquire a cuticle, and it is not urged against cuticles that they are not hearts; yet some philosophers seem to be angry with images for not being things, and with words for not being feelings. Words and images are like shells, no less integral parts of nature than are the substances they cover, but better addressed to the eye and more open to observation.

Georges Santayana - Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies, 1922

Figures dimly emerge from mist, a barely colored whiteness, so thick that it only allows us to recognize the presence of subtly outlined bodies on a background without horizons or apparent landforms. Insinuated silhouettes, elusive lines and tones. Surrounded by this dense atmosphere, we are examined by the frontal and symmetric presence of deer heads that overlap with these vaguely outlined human anatomies.

The grimace on these heads shows an impending threat, something is stalking them. As in TV documentaries about wildlife in dense woods, arid steppes or green plains, the face of the deer seems to be frozen in the exact moment it detects the hunter. Its head turns violently, upright ears point at danger, its minute,dark and blank eyes sense us. On the surface of the painting, in this evening clarity suspended in time, the eyes of the deer are cracks, notches of unsaturated color.

In the room you are going through, figures appear to be looking for each other, they observe and suspect each other, they are on guard. Alone, or in pairs, they look at each other. You may think that the face of the deer is a mask, and that the hunter's imagination has imprinted that deer's mask as a code for what he considers his prey...

At the end of the 1950s, Erving Goffman recalls that the original meaning of the word person is mask. The father of microsociology found this etymological origin very useful: in the little scenes of our relationships, in our wishes, in our hunting targets, we create roles, masquerades, surfaces games that we use to decode the enigma that the other represents and, at the same time, to create an image of ourselves.

In the clarity of the pictorial surface you are observing, the outline of the hunter does not appear. Maybe his territory is not permanent; this predator can be a floating place, some sort of mist that impregnates all the space in the room. A blurred hunter within the environment.  These bodies can be predators and prey at the same time when they look at each other alternately. This is a game of reflections and transparencies, a land of attempts, between actions and predictions, steps forward and setbacks.

In the series Hunt, Daniel Romano wonders once again about a situation that has been keeping him awake for some time: the perimeter of our interpersonal relationships, the invisible threads that coordinate calculations and tactics within the winding limit of our closest bonds. Within these personal politics, there are surfaces games, mirrors where we, and the others, create a profile. Masks, skins, cuticles, arrested expressions and admirable echoes of feeling. In the image, in the painting, wishing appears. It is not urged against cuticles that they are not hearts.

Federico Baeza, Curator

 


ALTAR -STATEMENT

I explore the territory in which an empty space becomes an oratory, a place of prayer and gratitude, outside of any institution. A crosscutting holds, every visitor contributes its part to shape the shared place. The surface shows just what's underneath: what moves people to open their own space of prayer? Why on routes? what they ask for? What are they grateful for? Why devotion to this or that saint? How admiration start? How it maintained?

In that space is written a pray, a greeting, a conversation with the others. ALTAR is a serie of photographs on altars route in Argentina, cultural phenomenon that crosses society and beliefs, beyond all institutions.

ALTAR

An altar on the side of the road is like the tip of an iceberg. Above, on the surface, you just see a ninth of what lies underneath. This is not buried, it is made up by dozens of questions asked by Daniel Romano (and all those that once felt attracted to this magical magnet): why do people feel the need to create their own space to pray?, why is it on the road?, what do they ask for?, what are they thankful for?, why are they devoted to a given saint?, how does the devotion begin?, how do they keep it? All these questions seem to come from a profane person. Certainly, the person who chose a site on the side of the road, put a brick over the other to build that little chapel, painted it in red and placed a figure of Gauchito Gil knows all the answers. It seems that the urban man, who pays more attention to his brain than to his heart, has abandoned faith. Or maybe we have reached a time in history when little altars on the road, which appear more and more frequently every day and adopt new sacred figures, start to wear away the hard bark of reason. This phenomenon is really old and emerged in the Middle Ages, at those places where a miracle happened, where a relic was found, or where a superior being able to cure, restore or beat negative forces simply appeared. The extraordinary event demarcates the sacred territory, and all things around it are transformed: the first candle that is lighten to honor the saint starts an infinite sequence that seems endless. At this very moment, a devotee is lighting a match to illuminate an image. 

The fact that images appear outside the sacred space of a church is not a minor detail. Dogmatic faith, with its rigid precepts, is draining away, such as Tao said: “The hard and strong will fall. The soft and weak will overcome.” Actually, one may think that faith does not die, but instead it transforms, gets out of “authorized” spaces and slips into common places, at an urban corner, on the side of the road, at some dull place that, due to the work of some unknown force, transforms into an attraction center, even a peregrination center. Those who regularly visit museums, galleries and cultural centers, and are familiar with the term “installation,” many times feel tempted to see those altars of multiple shapes as true artistic expressions; the display of objects, colors and smells could be easily found at some artist´s studio. 

Daniel Romano embraces this creativity to place his own altar on an ambiguous territory between faith and art. His own altar includes more than one hundred photographs of other altars, where we can see the silent faces of Saint Expedite, Difunta Correa, Holy Death, Our Lady of Fatima, Virgin Mary Undoer of Knots, Ceferino Namuncurá, Pancho Sierra and Gauchito Gil, among many others; a gallery of old and young saints, which may be classic or modern. They are not alone: apart from the omnipresent candles, we can find gifts with origins so diverse that defy the most daring imagination. All these elements are compiled in the work of an anthropologist-sociologist-artist, after months filled with trips, observations and logs.

In synch with this age, Daniel Romano rescues a social phenomenon which is increasingly stronger, the currency of popular faith, its continuous transformation, and above all, the use of an expressive language that it clearly shares with contemporary art. 

Julio Sánchez, Curator. Degree in Art History (U.B.A.) and Master´s Degree in Cultural Affairs

 

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