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Dos de espadas / May 20, 2023

La carta sobre la mesa.

The two of swords in tarot language warns about a confrontation, dispute or contradiction and, at the same time, about its resolution and consequences. In “la Brisca” or “Muerte al tres”, where the Spanish deck is used and which has fervent practitioners in Mediterranean Europe and Latin America, this card is part of a substantial network of hierarchies; although it deconstructs any classical notion that understands the “natural” achievement of numbers proportional to their numerical value, as the one or “ace” is the card that accumulates the most “points” and this one, the two, is none. However, the two is capable of changing the “suit” that is on the table, the symbology that has been dominating until that moment. That is to say, in this game it still retains the property of destabilizing the proposed strategies and changing the course of events.

For this two-person painting, the two of swords is the winning card, the one that has absorbed all this hierarchy and summarizes these meanings in image and concept: the essence of each work on display, as well as the connection between them. We propose, then, to explore other versions of the events that are little attended to and known; those stories that have been left out of the great construction of the Story that has been sold as the only variant to understand the past and current reality. Sometimes unintentionally, and other times consciously, we have decomposed myths and given certain characters/personalities - those who history has cataloged and placed on the winning or losing side - the right to be observed from other positions. It is no longer about good and bad - these classifications have become obsolete for recent narratologies - but, rather, about victims and perpetrators; beings that have played certain roles in situations that depend on those who judge them. We defend the polyhedral quality of each character and situation, which under no circumstances is a unit of measurement, but simply the ability to generate multiple meanings; diverse nuances become diverse readings, and emotional and moral impulses that determine actions.

This is a dialogue between both artists, a pictorial confrontation from aesthetic attitudes, which underline within the pictorial language figuration as a means to express each person's personal imagination. On the one hand, Richard Somonte addresses, through an irreverent discourse, certain cultural icons that range from exalted representatives of the status quo to archetypes and recognizable symbols of middle-culture and underground. Its irreverence lies especially in bringing together apparently unconnected symbolic elements, which place these portrayed characters within other semantic notions. On the other hand, Maikel Sotomayor resorts to stories that locate their setting in American lands and that arise from the encounter between their original settlers and European flows, especially the Spanish ones. The landscape in Sotomayor is - once again - complicit and apparently peaceful witness of socio-cultural tensions; where the presence of a natural element, for example, serves as a metonym for complex historical processes related to colonization and transculturation.

I do not intend in these lines to reveal the magic behind the pieces, but I do think it is appropriate to draw attention to certain cultural ironies: has not Manolete - an icon of bullfighting in Spain - found death after being attacked by a brave bull while he was in the peak of your career? Isn't the sidelong glance cast by an “Amerindian” Adam, while Eve, also “Indian,” taking an exogenous fruit brought by foreign hands, grown in her own land, not accusatory? These words and questions serve as accompaniment to the tour through the exhibition, the image in the verb.

Both discourses converge in the problematization not only of the development of the events, but also of the way in which they have been told, the manipulation that History has suffered. They propose particular reinterpretations; From the title of the exhibition, pay attention to the turning points, the neuralgic points of each story and reflect on the place in which its acting beings have been placed.

                                                                                                                          Nayr López García

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