Jul 27, 2018

Paris 1979 -1983

Pérez Celis - Museo Virtual

I feel that the close influence of the works of great painters of all time, the permanent visits to museums of Europe, aroused in me a kind of interest perceived in greater freedom and ease in creation.

Pérez Celis Paris 1982

Pérez Celis painting is a kind of mirror of time, where the reflections of metaphysical depth are harmonized in palpable music. Master of contingencies, mystics of the cosmos, the painter's paintbrush is endowed with a power to unite the spatial to the temporal, and leaves us the impression that each of his artistic revelations comes to us through a river of celestial lavas. The materiality melts in the grey dawn of magnetism, ennobled by the flames of the universal soul. We are witnessing a new alchemy of silence. Ratimir Pavlovic 1980

Gaston Diehl:Time and its ruptures

A formidable destiny was in charge of crossing our destinies. So, since 1979 I had the chance of meeting with him in his Parisian studio where he had the luck to be in front of “L’Ile de la Cité” and the smooth Sena. I think that the gentle and favorable atmosphere made him give up little by little the profound impressions he got from Venezuela. The noise and turmoil of Caracas with its paradoxical traffic jams but also its tremendous dynamism, the easiness to adjust to any modernism, its frenetic music where all the different folklores are mixed, such vitality, wouldn’t have taken him to adopt in his paintings the principle of those intermittent, syncopated constructions, where the multiplication of acute angles, lighted and shadowed parts denote, however, certain restless tension? Those tendencies, almost aggressive, point out, very purposefully, the problems posed by the fragmented, atomized time that corresponds to the contemporary world.

A similar awareness is logical in him since he has always respected the relief that can arouse a natural restlessness. He wants to be a man both passionate and insatiable and never tries to haggle for effort or work. As he himself comments with much grace, he tries on his own to bring together what is claimed to be irreconcilable, to combine in his creation passion and reason that many tend to oppose. In fact, that vigorous intuitive impetus which manifests itself and which so often leads him to confront himself with immensities, never neglects him or leaves him at random, but watches him, untiring, subjecting him to deep questions, to a constant and methodical work that nothing comes to hinder, not even his trips to Argentina. However, such assiduity that resembles that of a craftsman does not prevent him from accumulating the various contributions that come before him and with much modesty he pretends to be like "a sponge that must be willing to absorb everything that surrounds it".

Gaston Diehl:Time and its ruptures

After the hours of work with which he is happy every day, he takes advantage of his free time to enjoy the many temptations offered by Paris, without haste or useless excesses: exhibitions, concerts, museums that he likes to visit gradually, that is, limited to one artist at a time: Goya, Turner and Rembrandt today.

Gaston Diehl:Time and its ruptures

Therefore, how can we be surprised that in the midst of this restlessness, which is nevertheless fruitful and advantageous to him, another process of rupture is to be unleashed, which is soon to be accelerated? There is a change in his work in which the incisive, violent rhythms, the alternation of cut planes will be replaced little by little by a strange movement that is extended until solved in a zigzag ascent in steps or stairs. Within a melodic gush of colors, that emergence of another kind rises upwards, imposing its haughty, strict forms, which are linked to each other. We are bordering on a poetic image reminiscent of sovereign cadences of the giant steps that climb rapidly into the sky.
That unusual spectacle does not fail to refer to the no less impressive of the countless and endless steps of Machu Picchu or the pyramids of Teotihuacan.

Gaston Diehl:Time and its ruptures

These ethereal visions that last one day and what we might call sometimes, according to the titles of some pictures “fugitive evocations of sacred places” vanish to give way to new dismemberments in monstrous blocks, fragments burning in the midst of Darkness that darkens. His painting always rejects any descriptive temptation as well as any theoretical or intellectual experimentation, leaving to each one the freedom to imagine, as it seems to him, the sense of the dispositions of form and colors that he has made. It would be useless then, after a break like this, so normal in him, to try to give an interpretation of the cycle that begins. Is not everyone free to see the threat of a cataclysm, a destruction, an eruption, or just an energy explosion, a space takeoff, a flight over time, one of the many enigmas of our time?

Gaston Diehl:Time and its ruptures

Collection Embassy of Argentina in France, Paris
Planos de eternidad. Acrylic and gold on canvas. France, Paris. 1979

Rainier III Prince of Monaco prince Albert, Iris and Pérez Celis

Missing public work

Missing public work

Missing public work

One day at noon, 18 months ago, I was grumbling against a new tenant of the building who monopolized the elevator. I decided to go downstairs by foot and found myself in the middle of four or five large paintings that had such a presence and an extraordinary beauty.

Forgetting my annoyance, I asked my new neighbor if he was the painter of those works; with his affirmative response I concluded: “Nice to meet you, I am an art critic, I’d like to see you again.”

The following day we ate together and from that moment on I am a privileged witness of the considerable evolution of mi friend Pérez Celis.

Pérez Celis’ work has been a great discovery for me. The man as well, since it’s uncommon to find an artist so embodied with his creation. In a few weeks, looking at the paintings he brought from Argentina, engravings and drawings, I learned to know a continent that quantity of books, movies, expositions and music had given me a limited approach.

Without depicting the invisible, Pérez Celis’ paintings fundamentally, essentially symbolize and resume Latin America’s most profound reality, Pampa’s immensity, with the vastness of its skies, the fervor of its cultures, and the projection of the future world which will be only created in these new lands where so many immemorial roots are reborn harmoniously.
Through his windows, Pérez Celis contemplates The Sena and L’Ile de la Cité, the old Lutèce and the first forms –two hundred years ago- of what Paris would become. The place where Notre-Dame was built, over the foundation of a pagan sanctuary, where the first university was born and the first French kings lived till the end of the Middle Ages.

Let’s leave History to dedicate ourselves to our time and to a great page of the History of Art, I want to talk about the School of Paris. Without being formal, the School of Paris has always existed; the French capital continues to draw artists of the entire world, like an El Dorado of the spirit.

That’s how it works with Pérez Celis, who confessed to me, just a couple of weeks after his arrival, how important this Paris period seemed to him. I was a witness of it, everything started with the ardent investigation about the use of gold and silver. It was a creative frenzy that lasted several months during which many strongly new works were born, like a logical continuation of precedent paintings that lacked, from my point of view, the elevation to a superior level, in the spiritual and pictorial quality field.

Always sliding planes interposing in parallel detachments, folds, fractures, spirals of Time, static or breaking spaces. Always such a rigorous grammar of forms and the games of symbols so specific of Pérez Celis’ art.

But his paintings are more than mad cavalcades of clouds and mirages, vertiginous horizons, fury of the elements jolting the immobile time, the labyrinths of love and trust in eternity.
Using gold or silver as an ancient blacksmith, transmuting the vile matter as an alchemist, Pérez Celis has now managed to reach a superior level where art is a mysterious poetic and prophetic conjugation. At that point where painting allows us to touch a metaphysical order with the finger, where words cannot say what they let us glimpse.

Paris, 2.17.1980. Roger Bouillot

The work is created when the right balance between Reason and Passion is achieved.
It is possible that during the constant struggle between Reason and Passion, it may appear, with infinite patience, that form, that color. It is possible that in the purest unity of instinct and thought can be achieved with some clarity, that matter containing our spirit.
Maybe it is possible.

Pérez Celis 3-79 Paris

Collection Museum of the Organization of American States
Rituales de eternidad. Acrylic and gold on canvas. France, Paris. 1980

Gaston Diehl: A call to the spiritual

For not having deviated from his already long career - his first exhibition, at age 17 was in 1956 - Pérez Celis is almost considered as an exception, here and even more in Argentina. Such fidelity to himself, to his goals, tends to disappear nowadays when sometimes it’s almost an obligation to follow someone else’s various changes of direction. But it is necessary to point out at once that it is not only the project adopted from the beginning to dedicate itself to expressing the mythical face of that continent that travels in all its senses, because in this respect there is a legion of artists who pretend to do so although, unfortunately, most conform to some anecdotal or allegorical figures transposed from folklore.

… The fact that Perez Celis has achieved to unite with so much truth in his work the brilliance of the colors, the exaltation of the brushstrokes, buds with such touching resonances, is a clear proof of that thirst for spirituality that has always encouraged him. The anxious speculations about space and time correspond to his will to overcome and transcend. It is necessary to recognize that such position is infrequent since the invitation to evade, to incite meditation constitute in themselves a great responsibility to assume and few contemporary artists accept it. However, for him, as he often says "in a time so agitated and threatened everywhere, painting must be a means of communication as any other, that helps men to endure adversities and have even more hope".

Gaston Diehl: A call to the spiritual

His ambition is situated from the beginning in the higher level, it aspires to the universality of a language. If for some time, he also used the signs that are usually intended to interpret the American world: vertigo of infinity, permanence of the sacred, immensity of La pampa, adoration of the stars, images of the typical bestiary, etc… he hurries to reduce them to sibylline structures. Beyond the signs, he is more concerned with his own concept: the spiritual exhortation that he tries to express in his work, above all, by the pre-eminence of the light he places with skillful and specific stratagems so that it shines, invading the evoked scene, giving it another meaning, a superior scope.

Gaston Diehl: A call to the spiritual

New techniques, search, adventure

However, for him, and he often affirms "in a time so agitated and threatened everywhere, painting must be a means of communication like any other, that helps men endure adversity and even more have hopes."

The language of painting is more universal than that of words, we agree, therefore, in front of Pérez Celis’ paintings –Argentinian painter that worked in Caracas and then in Paris, adding a name to the group of Paris School -, we decided, facing these paintings to acknowledge some of the characteristics of the painting that is practiced today in every part of the world.
But careful: we don’t have to rush and talk about that universality of “modern painting”. The first most basic principle, the one we never have to forget despite appearances is that art is the different thing.

Jean Cassou

Thus, during his long adherence to an architectural geometry that sometimes resorts to kineticism, he dissociates himself precisely from his compatriots by tempering his rigorous rhetoric to provide a new breath of sensitivity and above all to leave more room for an almost mystical light.

Gaston Diehl : A call to the spiritual

VIP Lounge Aerolíneas Argentinas,Ezeiza, Buenos Aires

Missing public work

Missing public work

I understand that Luisa Mercedes Levinson, story teller, could get along well with painter Pérez Celis, image narrator. He comes from the same fabulous and fabulist Argentina. To have chosen his talent to illustrate a short story by Luisa Mercedes, or to be illustrated by him, fits like a glove. His figure ideas and Mercedes Levinson’s ideas of figures work well together.

Jean Cassou

They express in a decisive way a different intent from the solution of technical and formal problems. Of course, this painter appeared in a determined time of history of painting. But this chronological fact is not enough to situate him. He wanted to express something very particular and the one thing that encouraged him to set out that questioning was not a date coincidence but his most secret counselor, Latin America. A questioning that prevails like that of the first man in the first garden, the first man in front of the elements, immensity, nature.

Jean Cassou

But careful: we don’t have to rush and talk about that universality of “modern painting”. The first most basic principle, the one we never have to forget despite appearances is that art is the different thing.

Jean Cassou

Let’s distinguish then, in Pérez Celis’ art, that thing with which he himself wants to make a difference. That is America. Pérez Celis could unite his search and interests with those of the great turmoil of modern painting in the whole world. But his search and interests have always been essentially that of a Latin American.

Jean Cassou

It’s enough to read the titles of his paintings (Protecting powers, Niveles de pensamiento/Levels of thought, El otro tiempo/The other time…) to be sure that those works of art are not just evidences of plastic preoccupations of contemporary universal art. They are not an evidence of the abstract art that everyone is doing everywhere. Those titles, by their metaphysical meaning, are more likely titles of poems and pieces of music.

Jean Cassou

Any creation is a forgetfulness of itself.
Full attention, no thoughts.
Only the force that is not in time resists time.
Ideas, concepts, theories, are easily annihilated by time.
And starting from one idea is a fragmentation of ourselves.
Only with our entire being we can receive and transmit.
And in this state of freedom we communicate in a new way.

París 8 - 1982 Pérez Celis

Rómulo Macció, Raul Russo, Federico Gorbea, Raúl Santana, Ernesto Deira, Pola & Horacio Galiagnone, Iris Pérez Celis, Olga Galperin, Sra De Raúl Russo, Leopoldo Presas, Pirro, Pirossi, Pérez Celis

Paris Studio
16 Quai de la Mégiserrie
Paris Studio
15 Quai Voltaire
Fundación Pérez Celis
Credits: Story

Fundación Pérez Celis
Designers Iván Villani and Luz Arias
Translation Tom Maver

Request files at: fundacionperezcelis@gmail.com

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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