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Smoke permeated the inhabited caves where the pictorial drawings of the Altamira bison, as well as other drawings, were first discovered. This smoke may be interpreted as something warm that came from previous, necessary fires, sinuous, evanescent, like the subject-matter of which dreams are made; a continuously changing, moving element, that, flowing in time, brings about a constancy of displacement.

This exhibition presents a collection of work in which smoke is the material that displaces the brush or pencil, it is the principle axis and tool. The technique used, known as fumage, was coined by the surrealists who chose it because of its automatist character and the randomness that it affords the workmanship. It was used for the first time in Europe in 1938 on paper drawings by the Austrian artist Wolgang Paalen. Salvador Dali called this technique sfumato.

Another outstanding example of this period is the experimental candle drawing made toward the end of the 1990s by Jiri Georg Dokoupil in which he rubbed, scratched, poured liquid and then added soap bubbles before and after the adhesion. The smoke marks from this method then combined with the other elements and resulted in a combination of techniques.

Translation by Karen A Luria, MA, EdS.


In previous stages of Tomás Siveras´artistic work, the smoke figures were immersed in a more matérico background [incorporating mixed media or matter]. This background was more colorful, but matte, with solitary figures as well as larger groups, silhouetted, without the hue, value or intensity and shading as now demonstrated in this different, noteworthy new stage of the artist. This new stage, having evolved over the past few years, incorporates a more simplified background converted into shiny planes. The number of colors are radically reduced and are now similar to and draw upon the shape of the figure. There are planes or bands of pure color, similar to those of Barnett-Newman, that cover a section or sections of the canvas in addition to the shapes that are presented sometimes over, sometimes behind, sometimes superimposed or sometimes immersed with it. Sometimes these shapes are reminiscent of those distorted by the British artist, Bacon. However, unlike Bacon, the shapes are placed on a flat, mainly white background with the colored section or band partially covering it. The material upon which these works are painted is either made from canvas, wooden board or metal with the majority of them presenting a shiny finish.

Translation by Karen A Luria, MA, EdS.


The characteristic theme of the paintings, as in previous work by Tomás Sivera Vallés, an artist from Javea, is the human figure, a silhouette that gradually acquires corporality without forsaking the fluidity of the smoke. How does this figure evolve? It is demonstrated mainly in movement, by one, solitary figure or sometimes several grouped figures in action. This movement, or displacement, is used as a means to an end, an accomplishment such as an athletic goal, a challenge to beat someone at something, an escape or a journey. In some of the paintings, the heads are depicted with expressions of struggle or a wild movement, inclusive of wrath. This play of elements, the color plane and dark figure, of stable color and a fluid, unstable figure or figures, represent the tension between movement and motionless symbolically connoting life and death. The displacement is made up of the path between one extreme and the other, a trajectory full of struggle, achievement or failures but always with a sense of hope for the future.

Translation by Karen A Luria, MA, EdS.