As Paul Klee observed, “All art is a distant memory of age-old things, dark things, whose fragments live on in the soul of the artist.”
In Kiko Camacho’s not so distant memory reside the mighty rivers of Argentina that he learned how to navigate oar in hand. The infinite islands of the Paraná delta, an intricate labyrinth where he could go to lose and rediscover himself, remain vivid in his mind today.
Thus it is hardly surprising that those dark fragments that endure in his soul are projected in the brushstrokes of his paintings and continue to move us with the same intensity with which they met his gaze long ago.
These large canvases are filled with colours that are agile, restless, that move freely about the space to the delight of an unfettered eye, intrigued by the great spectacle of the rivers that captivate his imagination. Colours that are the harmonious music that infuse it with light.
Although Camacho’s paintings belong to the abstract tradition, they suggest a bird’s eye view of the vast expanses of land below, furrowed by rivers, inscribed with vegetation and water. For the spectator this is an exciting and unfamiliar world, but Camacho sees himself reflected in these imposing and tangled surfaces through which he moves energetically, unwaveringly.
The singularity of these landscapes lies in the fact that they are aerial views, which are shaded by the white of the clouds and the fog or illuminated by the shimmering, almost Amazonian sun. They bring back images of the Brazilian forests that I once glimpsed from the window of an airplane that carried me to Buenos Aires. It did not take me long to realize that this artist is an experienced traveller who has spent many hours in those magical hot-air balloons, a secret that I reveal only because it is useful to understanding these incredible bird’s eye views of the earth below.
We see reality imprinted by the imagination from the heights, a constantly changing world of rivers, “liquid” reality as defined by the great Zygmunt Bauman’s, a shifting reality that distances us from the solid and immoveable world of the past. It is a transformation of the traditional concept of landscape that not only shows immense originality, but also gives radical new direction to our way of seeing.
These paintings transmit a sensation of speed that astonishes and disquiets while inviting us to be an active part of the landscape; therefore, we cannot cease to be thrilled by the work of this powerful artist.
A Bird’s Eye View: Kiko Camacho’s Landscapes
Jorge Luis Borges
To gaze at the river made of time and water
And remember that time itself is another river,
To know we cease to be, just like the river,
And that our faces pass away, just like the water.