Grotesque as a mirror of reality

Grotesque is an artistic technique based on exaggeration, the combination of unexpected and sharp contrasts, and the grotesque aspect of my works is that the smells around us penetrate the real visible world and absorb us with contrast and mixing of colours.

Rémi Astruc argues that although there is a huge variety of motifs and characters, the three main tropes of the grotesque are twofold, hybridity and metamorphosis. Beyond the contemporary understanding of the grotesque as an aesthetic category, he showed how the grotesque functions as a fundamental existential experience. Moreover, Astruc identifies the grotesque as a fundamental and potentially universal anthropological device that societies use to conceptualize alterity and change.

They are almost fantastic images, images where something real, like a person, is depicted in different colors and gender neutral, and unreal, like these smells, colors outside the spectrum, what we cannot see.

I started to paint smell, in my intermediate work in the second year of my MA, where I experiment with the depicted form, paying attention to the smells that surround me and that are close to me and evoke certain feelings and emotions. My work visually reflects the sensations caused by the studied smell, color, texture, shape, interaction of the combination and the components of the fragrance. I must have painted the scent moments before the pandemic, the main symptom of which is to get rid of this feeling, who could imagine that it looks quite comical now.

In this work I show the world around us with an open mind, as it was before, as it is, and as it will be, as it always has been. Samsara spins and life itself remains unchanged, even as people, situations and environments change. The chosen theme aims to reflect reality, so in my paintings I want to show an ordinary life, even a peaceful one, which for me has hardly changed at all, because we create life around us. Except that in some months the smells diminished when everything was interrupted by the sterility and the vacuum in which the city was immersed, when we took off and put on the veil and each time performed the ritual of purification with the sacred disinfectant.

The images capture hikes into the countryside, time at home, time on the street near a dirt road. Sometimes the smell is less because I have to wear a veil in traffic, shopping malls and other public places, sometimes the pleasant smells are more, sometimes the smells are unpleasant and there are too many. Each picture will have a few scenes with our lives, with a certain season, I am inspired by the works of Rittstein or the Wimmelbuch book. And also works by Kaws, Kandinsky, Franz Mark, Paul Klee, and the Schmidt group.

So I’m showing my vision for 2020-2021, specifically COVID-19. The main character in all the paintings was in the form of my son, and the background color fields are synesthesia of smells, so I see certain smells around me in different seasons.

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