Tectonic experiences and spatial relations in the work of Gustavo Mendez-Liska

Miroslava Urbanová


Vienna, 2018

Throughout the years of his artistic practice Gustavo Mendez-Liska has gradually reduced his means of expression to basic geometrical forms. That is how he can deliberately convey his fascination with the tectonic experiences – with the structures of all kinds, their interplay and tensions.

The diasporic background of the artist has undoubtedly a great impact on his searching for the geometrical forms, which come to him as a part of universal language. At the same time, he is aware of their particularity concerning different cultural backgrounds and sensibilities. He focuses his attention on the gaps and niches, on the things, that remain unsaid, on the pause or breathing in in-between the composition. Such structural experiences are in general common for everyone.

On the first sight, his compositions on paper remind of the architectural sketches. The architecture of the city, its spatial relations in the matter and its lack, the play of light and shadow between them, were in fact a crucial starting point of Mendez-Liskaʼs dealing with the tectonics of the (spatial) experience. However, while looking at his latest series, as well as artist´s oeuvre as such, one cannot oversee the overlaps with the forms and structures, that can be found in the musical scores or visual poetry as well. Such reading opens the further levels of the multilayered experience, which although it is exclusively visual, remains definitely not quiet.

Moreover, his drawings are often one of the stages for the further development of his sculptural artworks. By the latter, he prefers to use natural materials, prevalently wood and natural pigments. The natural structure of the wood with all its imperfections and scratches becomes a pattern, an aesthetical quality, that simultaneously refers to the history of the region from which the material came from. The pigments that he uses for his paintings, as well as for the objects he creates, bear a certain reference to the Austrian millieu. The yellowishness of the carpenter’s white that he uses in his series Viennese delicacies and Windows is such case, that oscillates between homage and inner joke of the artist, who became a trained carpenter as well.

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