Santiago Evans Canales → Institut Culturel du Mexique

February 23rd - April 4th, 2024

Institut Culturel du Mexique, Paris (FR)

Institut Culturel du Mexique
119, rue Vieille-du-Temple 75003 Paris
Solo show

Santiago Evans Canales' new exhibition, "Ombres", could be seen as an ode to travel and wandering. The viewer is invited to lose himself in the lush, generous vegetation of nature, where the harmony of colors and monumental formats allow the viewer to escape. As soon as you enter the exhibition, you leave Paris behind for a verdant jungle.

It would be a mistake to let ourselves be charmed by this bewitching depiction of nature. The jungle depicted in Un Chisme Escondido [A Hidden Rumor] is no peaceful Olympian El Dorado. The sprawling black foliage and giant shapeless silhouettes hidden behind the perennials create a heavy anxiety-inducing atmosphere. The viewer is no longer a simple traveler, but becomes prey - to whom? Of what? Perhaps his own shadow... So, stalked by this invisible spectre, he wanders through a setting whose secrets are known only to Evans Canales; escape seems impossible and the outcome uncertain, reality and fiction merge, dream becomes nightmare.

Some of the paintings are allegories of the psychic states into which Santiago Evans Canales plunges us. The characters depicted seem confused, frightened or saturnine, perhaps because mystery hovers over their identities. They seem to wonder: who are they? Where do they come from? Some are constrained by the frame, as if crushed under the weight of their torments, others in freefall. Some are reluctant to reveal themselves, preferring to retreat into the darkness. Using the thick vegetation to their advantage, they camouflage themselves and lurk in the shadows. Reminiscent of the flickering gods of Popol Vuh, Evans Canales' ghostly characters are forgotten titans, fallen heroes steeped in self-doubt, leaving the door to suicide open.

In El Laberinto de la Soledad, the mask is a metaphor for the impassivity of the Mexican people, always stoic in the face of vicissitudes. Octavio Paz pointed out that this tool of camouflage symbolized celebration as much as silence and death. ‘’Ombres" forces those who step through the door to remove their masks and confront, against their will, their own gem. From canvas to canvas, the viewer finds himself oppressed by pairs of eyes belonging to the vestiges of the past. These thousand gazes pursue him, then, as if pierced, force him to face his own reflection. Doubts, fears and forgotten memories emerge from the shadows.

Institut Culturel du Mexique
119, rue Vieille-du-Temple 75003 Paris
Free entrance
Monday to Friday from 10a.m to 1p.m and from 2p.m to 6p.m, and the Saturday from 3p.m to 7p.m.

© Margot Montigny © Gregory Copitet