Loyal, tentacle by tentacle
Hugo Canoilas

Galeria Quadrado Azul is pleased to announce "Loyal, tentacle by tentacle" by Hugo Canoilas. The exhibition presents a group of works developed by the artist over the last two and a half years.

All works present an octopus as a motif, encounter, or tool for a manifold of possibilities entailed in the artist's practice of textile painting. The exhibition comprises a series of seminal works for "Hold Your Breath," the new opera (see link) made in collaboration with David Pountney (libretto and stage direction) and Éna Brennan (musical composition). The octopus is the main element in the opera stage, made possible by the Kunsthaus Bregenz and the Bregenzer Festspielhaus collaboration.

The octopus, a creature rarely explored in Canoilas's work, features as an octopus-shaped giant puppet in Pountney's libretto. The octopus carries a manifold of relations with its tentacular morphology, which has been used towards ecological, political, and social thoughts, above all in their interrelationship (culture, philosophy, gender, race, etc.). The artist's fascination with this extraordinary creature is evident as he delves into its unique characteristics. This exploration goes beyond the anthropocentric view that often judges intelligence based on its resemblance to humans' nervous systems and intelligence.

The materiality of Canoilas' paintings on fabric enable processes of finding and encounter. This technique traverses the spectrum between representation and abstraction. In a procedure close to process-based abstraction, the artist benefits from the chemical interaction of different colors and the symbiotic bond between paint and fabric, all under the natural conditions of pressure, air, and water. The generated abstract forms carry a mimetic quality toward nature and can receive the artist's projections, which unfold traces of octopuses that intertwine with abstraction.

This technical specificity also brings these paintings closer to Asian bird painting and calligraphy. The decisiveness of textile painting implied in the passage from image to gesture shows, like Etruscan frescoes, where it is possible to scrutinize every decision made between the drawing, the marking of the wall with a pointed iron, and the final painting. Painting is established in this permanent dialogue of readjustment between interior and exterior (subject and object), similar to the transformation of our perception with microbiology - looking closely at the canvas, we travel between multiple events, becoming active spectators by editing what we see.

Canoilas has been developing his work using the seabed as a mental space of enormous creative and speculative freedom. Above all, the artist is interested in new places and forms of existence that allow us to overcome creeds, commonplaces, and prejudices and potentialize new correlations between humans and other forms of life.