Alan Sastre «Perder el Mapa»

Alan Sastre’s voice comes from knowledge and intuition, from research and loss. A journey in which he’s lost on the map and whose engine feeds from the marvel of his findings.

The first time I heard about “Tyrian Purple” or “Real Purple” was from Alan Sastre’s voice. Also, during that same dinner, he said something about a shade of green whose toxicity extended along the halls of European bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 19th century. It was a vibrant shade of green, the Scheele green, whose composition based on copper arsenide made the inhabitants of the houses become mysteriously ill. On its side, “Tyrian Purple” comes from the mollusk Murex Brandaris and you need 10,000 specimens of this snail to get 1g of dye. Its price is a party. And that’s painting: a mystery, a poison, a party.

Alan’s work take place in the most dangerous sector of painting: abstract painting. The mud puddle of art, that place in which any unexperienced kid with no talent or interest can trick both gallerists and collectors into believing their art can beautifully match sofas and curtains. And it’s ok like that, it’s ok that artworks find their places into everyday life. But you have to take in consideration something important. And that “something important” is the piece’s soul, its spirit and reason of being. That something that turns it into something else other than a decorative object, that gives its own presence, and the ability to keep surprising us wherever it’s held. It could be a gallery, a museum, a forrest, a hall, or even a dumpster. When an artwork gets its own spirit, its presence is certain and alive. Independent. True.

There’s something in Alan’s work that hypnotizes. That something is the perfect link between chemistry and soul, between pigment and emotion. That’s because there is chemistry when someone gets along with ease in the curious field of acrylic dispersions, polyvinyl acetate, alkyd resins and even Tyrian Purple. There’s soul when there’s a gesture. In Alan’s work, that gesture is a stain that crosses the canvasses making them something beyond air, an omnipresent witness of the presence of a body. It’s the body of the artist himself, a trace from which movement you can sense a living force. It’s the gesture’s voice, a voice that refers to us by name and that is well known to be changing. You don’t grab a cup of coffee the same way throughout your whole life, in the same way that you change your walking or your manners if there’s love or sorrow, emotion or monotony.

In Alan Sastre’s case, that voice comes from knowledge and intuition, research and loss. Definitely, from everything that carries us and takes part in a feeling of adventure. A journey in which he’s lost on the map and whose engine feeds from the marvel of his findings. I knew it a few months ago during his visit to Madrid. We were crossing the Plaza Mayor while he referred to a canvas he had just started working on days before his trip. That pice was in the solitude of his study in London, more than 12000 km away, while its creator showed me a picture on his phone. He said that he didn’t know where that was leading to. Maybe nowhere. It could be one of those pieces that remained unfinished forever. One started with an intention and brought through a different path by the painting itself. That’s what Alan thought about in the middle of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, that place that generates soul and adventure, that gives spirit to an object. The path of creation, of painting, a living force, a poison, good poison. Give me poison, as I want to die.

Constantino Molina

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