Sections & Fragments
tepeu choc’s lines behave, act, and are the horizon of a new landscape, or its skeleton, while being in transit from point A to point B and serve to make evident that movement. For Kandinsky, the line sometimes worked in a similar way, “a play of marks and vertical and horizontal lines, which by its action, tends to go in different directions.” But it would be limiting to mention choc’s work only from the study of line and color, even though these are essential elements. There is much more than the form, and each piece also speaks of a process that usually originates from a digital conception or a similar idea, and a constant questioning of the medium itself. tepeu choc, in this exhibition of recent work, not only speaks of lines and colors, but of forms, behaviors, journeys, processes, and supports of those sections and fragments that also say a lot about us and our spaces.
For the artist, it all starts with a reflection on the support itself. Each painting is a different size, and sometimes the support disappears altogether when the work is placed directly on the wall. “Registro No. 3″ (Registration No. 3, 2016) is a case in point. The work is a blue canvas on both sides, with openings that remind us primarily of works by Lucio Fontana, but it distances from being merely a cutting motion to become a body structure, a pictorial sculpture that falls, wrinkles, folds, and holds like skin. The work in its first conception is the mounting template used for another of his works, “La importancia del volumen en la línea” (The importance of volume in the line, 2015 -2016), a series of wooden rods and steel, that once placed on the wall, reveal their support and volume, creating shadows and (another) conception of landscape. choc takes this template as a guide and creates a new canvas with the same shape, leaving that which was before the final process becomes the result.
Under the same concept, “Segmentos de línea No. 4” (Line segments no. 4, 2016) lets the lines manifest themselves outside of a canvas, moving, falling, and questioning whether we are looking at a painting, a sculpture, an installation, or a mural that abstracts not only the forms within it but also the space itself. For choc, different lengths represent the paths we cross from one point to another; the constant coming and going that we register as a drawing of our experience and presence on that ground. The wall becomes the traveled path. Other paintings such as “El almuerzo” (Lunch, 2015) represent an everyday scene abstracted in lines and colors. A red block for red meat; and a gray block for white meat. On the side, the vertical line stands for the street in a narrative that again speaks of our position in a landscape that has mutated into graphics.
As mentioned before, the study of the lines and primary colors to form structures is important for the artist. Beyond a dialogue with art movements and modern painters such as Piet Mondrian, the Constructivists, or geometric abstraction, choc is interested in the primary colors because these are the most present in nature; therein lies that he considers green a key color in his production. His palette consists of only six colors. But in his most recent works, such as “Principios de la Teoría No.1” (Principles of theory no.1, 2016), there are new colors he is starting to explore. There is also something important in the trajectory that makes the color on the canvas and the way in which the white box breaks the entire composition into six equal parts. Hence the accuracy of the form is not child’s play for choc, but his playground.
Sometimes the artist also invites others to interact. As in the case of the piece “Rectángulo Amarillo Fragmetado” (Fragmented yellow rectangle, 2016), made especially for this exhibition. Rows and black columns show the dispersion of the rectangle broken into small squares that also can be reconfigured, like a puzzle. The pattern will always be scattered, always abstract, always changing.
About the process of the piece itself, tepeu primarily begins with ideas or digital models that he then intervenes manually. “El aumento de la línea en el espacio (sobre negro) no.4” (Increasing the line in space [on black] no.4, 2013), could be an example. Each color is a line segment, while the whole body of the canvas is the approach of a black line that widens. Colors may well then seem pixels within the image; simultaneously a real close up would only be possible on a digital plane.
Since 2008, his research with typography, as in “P eccentric std” (2016), also questions graphic design. Here the letter becomes a pattern, an icon, and a form that travels and moves within the canvas. The letter does not form words; it creates drawings. They constitute themselves as new geometric figures. tepeu began this series with grids and modules that go from A to Z, and in all, the line is a digital impression that he then paints over with acrylic to work on both methods of technology and tradition; the inverted evolution or the return of process.
There is only one sculpture in the exhibition. But “Radiografía de escultura mármol y aluminio No. 1″ (X-ray of sculpture on marble and aluminum no. 1, 2016) is not far from questioning its support. The word “x-ray” makes us imagine that we are looking at the inside of something, facing the structure’s skeleton in which the bars are no longer simple materials but lines. The solid blocks also are painted; but as marble is a rough material that absorbs color, the blocks gain body, texture, and volume, and also break with the traditional sacredness of the stone that must remain pure. These are models the artist has conceived for penetrable public sculpture, but on a smaller scale, they also function as three-dimensional drawings.
Words that we can use for tepeu’s work: volume, trace, nature, geometry, support, and space; and although each piece speaks for itself, in their totality, we find along the same research of solid color, of support as body, of the relationship with the materials and, above all, of the process that lead all its forms. The decision of working in the abstract is also a political stance that speaks of us; and as mentioned by the artist, “the line is a representation of our being.”