Nestled in some of the principles of aesthetic recycling and matter art, with Thru, Carlos Llanes explores and uses, as support for his paintings, the expressive possibilities of rum filter, once these lose the value of use for which they were conceived. The traces left on the paper surface after being subjected to the distillation process of the drink serve as sketch that inspires, guides and controls the artistic intervention of the author. With childish look, seer or poet who sees something special in the alleged nothing, he goes in search of distinct forms within the amorphous blob, or converts his own amorphous blob on visual text with multiple interpretive possibilities.
To the human eye, the result is a cracked surface -covered of stains in shades that move between cuttlefish, earthy and gray, with damaged and torn edges, in which it is perceived –at times- recognizable shapes within the real and symbolic universe. Some of these forms warn us that the artist takes up again the theme of landscape through abstract solutions as he has worked throughout his career.
Pictures of trees are distinguished, almost spectrally, after an elegant white veil that darkens in works as Añejo 3; or hills united as expanded territory under the promise to create the evocative landscape in Paisaje. Sight and mind enter into a state of peace led by the ways of retinal pleasure. But Carlos Llanes does not intend to stop at this hedonistic spectacle about a rested landscape. The elements in his work -these natural forms and others that emerge as diffuse notes, smudges, test writings, corrections or almost scrawled drawings which when overlapped suggest a repeated use of paper (Añejo 4)-appear fragmented, as if they were mirages or fleeting, intimate and silent memories, talking with clear desire about the inevitable passage of time.
The selection and preparation of the material, in which an aged appearance is obtained, is consistent with the title itself of the Añejo series, which in the labelling of bottles of rum refers to the age of the youngest rum or, the oldest in some cases, used in the mixing process. Either way, it is a category that suggests a quality and cost value on the market, and in this sense, the work of Llanes takes possession of similar meanings, while assuming the aged as cash, valuable, convenient, declared on the work of art, from the very moment it releases the aesthetic qualities of the material. And I say aesthetic, also in the sense of beauty because the breaks and accentuation of the deterioration of paper appear under a soft color, varnishes and harmonizing ways.
But, just like those ages declared on the labels of rum, which sometimes are just marketing ploys, Thru also creates an illusion about the “age” of the filters. Llanes emphasizes the deterioration of the material with his intervention. You may perceive that these tears at the edges, some of the cracks in the surface, and some of the noted stains are deliberate actions of the artist, who in this case subjected the material to physical and environmental exposures, which, in addition to the pictorial action, emphasize the idea of aging in function of an aesthetic speech.
The fact of realizing that the filters -by being used many times up to exhaust their potential for use in distillation- contain impurities that lay on the paper after the process finishes, and that these impurities remain, though invisible in the finished work, leads us to another aspect of discussion in Llanes´ work. The artist not only reflects on the state changes and mutations of matter, but also about its composition. Alludes to this mixture into the substance of which all things are made, and the integration and unity in the composition of matter. He highlights the lack of boundaries between the pure and the impure, and questions the credibility of the notions of what is harmful and damaging, useful and useless. He also talks about the possibilities of reversing, under human action, the condition of things, the power to accelerate or slow down the processes of life, or usefulness of any entity. Thru, abbreviation for Through, referred to in this case the transfer of the liquid (rum) for a purifying surface, makes us think of that wide fingerboard of facilities, options, offers or provisions that nature has bestowed us as human beings.
Thru is the latest display of Carlos Llanes, renowned in the field of visual arts as a painter of abstractions that addresses the landscape genre. This exhibition, presented as part of the collateral samples located on La Cabaña fortress, is the result of his desire for exploration and rethinking in the arts. Working with rum filters is a new line in the work of this creator. This time, Llanes not only regenerates the material as a means or support for his artistic discourse, but also that energy of creative production which those who know him believe it is unlimited.