NEW YORK – Using the natural fluidity of watercolors, an artist creates monotypes by painting onto a plate, composing detailed kaleidoscopic shapes.
The colors intersect with the paper’s white background – which, reflecting the explosion of light, also has a leading role in the composition.
“It shares the same essence. It is a way of seeing three-dimensional death: a thing that explodes, is born and dies,” Spanish artist Santi Moix, known for painting flowers, says about the Japanese fireworks that inspired his creations.
He says that similar to the blossoms, they amaze people of any age and status, in addition to representing the cycle of life.
“The sky was crying fire. I have never seen anything like that before,” Moix said about how he felt while witnessing the pyrotechnics, far from his native Barcelona.
He was referring to Hanabi, the traditional fireworks festival in Japan that influenced his latest series of works, which since Thursday have been displayed at an exposition at the Pace Prints gallery in New York.
This is the 59-year-old’s fourth exhibition at the prestigious art space, which this time displays about a dozen colorful monotypes – three of which occupy an entire wall and are more than 2 meters in height.
“Hanabi” – the title of his exhibit – arose from the invitation of a group of Japanese contemporary artists, who invited Moix to witness the traditional summer festival in which the pyrotechnics take center stage.
The artist said he traveled to Japan with “certain laziness,” since he was immersed in another project. He also went without great expectations, given that there was also an important fireworks festival back in Spain.
“But hey, I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I saw what I saw, I could have never imagined it,” he said in an interview with EFE shortly before the opening of the show.
Moix was deeply moved by the fireworks because of the “ability they have to bring people together.”
“From a young child to an older man, no matter what social class, [fireworks] have the ability to amaze people when they see the fire,” he said.
However, Moix said he does not expect any concrete reaction from visitors at the exhibition.
“The public must be left alone. Once I do something, I no longer own it. Let everyone make their own interpretations,” he said. “If I make them get excited and have a refreshing, enthusiastic attitude, then that’s it.”
Moix has worked for more than 30 years in New York, a city known as the world center of art, where many artists struggle to succeed in a highly competitive environment.
He has managed to develop a successful professional career there, reflected in his individual exhibition not only in the Big Apple, but also in cities such as Shanghai, Milan, and of course, Barcelona.
It was in Catalonia that he created one of his best-known projects of recent years: his frescoes in a church in the small town of Sauri, in the Catalan Pyrenees, which won the attention of media such as the New York Times. He covered the church walls with colorful representations of the area’s flora and fauna.
Moix ruled out starting a similar project in the near future, in which he assured having invested countless hours, adding that only now was he beginning to take it all in.
“Every day that goes by, I start to realize what I have done. I am increasingly aware,” he said. “They are asking me to do more work, but jeez, I have to think about it, right?”
However, he said that since he started with the idea, he did not want it to be his last, and that his intention was to “reopen all the churches in the Pyrenees mountains.”