The most interesting aspect of Nacho Martín Silva’s work is how he approaches painting as a reductive process. The information is lost in translation and the image works as a spectrum in some cases and as a fragment in others. In adopting the history of painting as a model and subject, he takes on the process as the raison d’être of painting and deals with aesthetic issues that are internal to it, calling upon the specific of the pictorial. He thus plans the image on the canvas and starts painting, leaving the painting itself to take charge until abandoning the referent, the first form, with memory as a backcloth.


When reflecting on his work, I am thinking of how Caravaggio deconstructed the classical principles of painting, distilling its condition as language into discourse, into a possibility. The painting as a support and the image as a surface fade in order to show the invisible aspect of the painting. This dramatisation of the light element and the gestures, this overblown and turbulent realism, is present in Nacho Martín Silva, as is a certain vibration present in Rembrandt, or the defocusing in some works by Velázquez, or that idea of erasing the faces in artists like Francis Bacon. Deleuze tells us about a zone of the indiscernible, of the unspeakable, of a becoming that is imperceptible and in which the figure tends to disappear. Also that of sensitive domains, of shifting sequences. Just like all these classical artists, Nacho Martín Silva faces the difficulty of perception, the importance of the search. Although we could also add similarities to other artists who follow that which Jordan Kantor defined as the aesthetic of the “non-talent” as a formal consequence of the conceptual aim of representing the unrepresentable, such as Sasnal or Tuymans himself, artists in whom the ambiguous and the literal are balanced.


An example is Unbekanntes Bild, where starting from a photograph of Hitler’s office found on the Internet and it which it is impossible to make out the authorship of a portrait, Nacho Martín Silva begins a process of search that results in a work that is formed from fragments of the possible portraits that could be the original one. Also through poetic fragmentation, in his work 1973 he works on the seventy-three portraits of the painters who were included in the historic exhibition Arte Degenerado; if the starting point is the black and white portrait, here the chromatic reference is the work of each of these painters itself. In both cases everything is fragmented and in this temporal process the documentary aspect, reality, is subordinated to the painted element, to fiction.



This projection of time is also present in El Gran Estudio, in which Nacho Martín Silva invites the spectator to send on-line images that are later incorporated into the work, making the creative process collective. This thus configures a confrontation that is clearly defined by Carlos Delgado Mayordomo: “the spectator as an active element (a generator of the la iconography of the work) and as a primary receiver (a contemplator of a fixed composition); the artist as a medium (receiver and channeller of an alien archive) and as a demiurge (a creator of the sensorial proposal); and finally, the work as an open and interactive structure and, on the other hand, as a defined and objetural structure”. It is a matter of generating interferences, of embracing and negating the painting at the same time.


David Barro