Diego Machargo
From February 16, 2024 to March 16, 2024

It might seem impossible to accomplish what the title of the exhibition suggests: telling all the stories of the world. And perhaps it is, at least if we imagine this task conventionally, through oral or written narration, with a linear and descriptive direction. Instead, let’s imagine another roadmap; let’s immerse ourselves in painting, in this case, by the Asturian artist Diego Machargo (Oviedo, 1990).

One can only tell all the stories of the world without narrating them at all; or, better said, one can only embark on this seemingly impossible campaign, that of recounting everything, that of narrating even (especially) the unknown, through strategies inherent to the artistic terrain, such as evocation, suggestion, and ambiguity, that is, embracing the unspeakable, the undefined, and the shapeless. Diego Machargo’s work resorts to these same tactics, as if it were a scopic springboard from which to unleash our imagination towards unforeseen journeys. Thus, the artist bets on the enigmatic force of the poetic sign – bodies, shapes, drawings, stains….

Machargo plays, orders, negotiates, through an exercise of harmonic dissonance, by configuring pictorial constellations with a clear formal and chromatic balance, which, however, does not correspond to a structured adequacy in the narrative plane. The story comes from elsewhere, arrives unexpectedly. Thus, his pictorial representations merge into a powerful aporia: the uncertain certainty of the desired narrative, which makes its way; the clear acknowledgment of a poetic ambiguity, which adopts the mental structure of the tale. His paintings combine a certain dreamlike abstraction with some figurative lures, inviting us to follow the trail of an incipient trace. Far from any connection with a metaphysical painting, these emphasize, due to their intimate and open character, our own agency as viewer-creators (as viewer-narrators), capable of writing-narrating-imagining beyond the imaginable, thus participating in a palimpsest composed of countless layers: the pictorial ones, which the canvas harbors and superimposes, and the narrative-imaginative ones, which are projected onto it.

Like the juggler who plays with tremendous seriousness and precision with his juggling balls (in the air), the Asturian painter sets in motion (on the canvas) a dialogue of bodies, shapes, and figures, strokes and symbols, which only stops when he offers his paintings to the viewer, who, just like the juggler, plays and rehearses with his gaze his own fiction: a tale of all possibilities, a history of all potentials—or several. Painting as a process occurs in that double intertwined path: the one that happens in an intersubjective temporality where the one (the painting, the artist’s creation) is not merely of one (the painter) and the other (the gaze, the imagination) is not strictly of the other (the viewer). As a result of the pictorial process, the history(ies) are woven in a field of/for fiction, an immense space for daydreaming.

In accordance with the title of the exhibition, the artist’s paintings allow us to dream of the impossible task of imagining a (partial) totality of stories. Like those monads described by the philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz in his Monadology, these concentrate, through a conscientious exercise of pictorial sublimation, a triggering scenario with an intimate and foreign symbology in equal parts, which always refers us to something that we cannot fully identify but that is familiar to us. In the same way that Leibniz believed that in any atom of the universe the whole universe itself was enclosed, Diego Machargo seems to evoke a similar idea with his painting: the formal synthesis of everything in almost nothing. A path, an encounter of figures, an arrow, an uncertain green forest, two hoops… There are few elements: just enough to contain the immensity of our restless speculation as viewers, which perhaps only stops (for a while) when we leave the painting behind and move our gaze to the next one, repeating the same process of perception-reception-translation-daydreaming-narration.

Contrary to that mythical maxim of minimalism that Frank Stella would proclaim, “what you see is what you see,” Diego Machargo’s work, in its multiple formulations and materializations, invites us to think of a much less categorical maxim: “what you see is (only the beginning of) what you see,” or perhaps better: “what you see is the beginning of what you don’t see, of what you imagine.” It is clear: it is not about asking ourselves what the painter’s works tell us, but about playing with (con)fable, about narrating our own stories. Meticulously configured, the works gathered in this exhibition at Galería Llamazares offer us the opportunity to imagine something else, another painting, another story. They stand out, thus, for their permanently (in)formal state and perfectly (un)finished, their narrative contingency and their power to be (almost) anything: many stories at the same time, all the stories of the world.

Curatorial text by Manuel Padín (Translated)

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