LOS OLVIDADOS (THE FORGOTTEN)
… long forgotten creatures of a time past. Once warriors, ready to fight, they are now defeated, dispossessed, silenced. […] Their bodies, their flesh and blood have turned into the sapless wood of uprooted trees, battered iron, the clockwork of a rusty machine, the broken stones of some flowerless, nameless, gravestone. Souls asking for redemption, in search of their original pride, of a new identity. Souls that came back to set Earth free, to tell their forgotten stories, to show us the hidden perils and paint the traitor’s doors in blood.
With these words the artist José Molina cogently describes the nature and goal of his works. Before taking in the conspicuous formal aspects of his portraits, we are touched by their expressive power that strikes us as a piercing cry, as an expression of the sorrow tormenting the represented subject and as a presage of mankind’s grief.
The creatures surfacing from Molina’s conscience are misshapen beings. […] The nature of their transformation seems to hide, and simultaneously show, a token of an ancient, ancestral memory, that is shared by the whole human race. These “ forgotten beings”, just as such, disremembered by the world and unrecognizable to themselves, are trapped inside this “second skin”. Molina’s works can be seen as a warning, whereby the artist states that art should be social commitment, capable of eliciting a personal and collective awareness: …We are losing touch with our own body, with earth and with our heart. In my opinion art should regain this scope, this soul, this sensitivity, ultimately a purer form of communication. One cannot help but recollecting the Middle Ages’ representations of the grotesque and monstrous, but also, in some way, Bosh’s work. The philosophy underlying these portraits and Molina’s stroke also recall Francis Bacon’s works. Unlike Bacon, and his psychic, somewhat eerie and incorporeal distillation of the
[…] Molina insists on the matter that stiffens the curves, that freezes his characters and immobilizes them in a metamorphic substance that holds off the latent softness of human beings. Only some parts still twinkle, above all the eyes, so as to convey that their sensitivity, their conscience is not appeased: the widest the gap between the hardness of their mask and the softness of their gaze, the more upsetting the realization that the prisoner is aware of his condition. […]. Molina’s highly expressive technique consists in the use of grease pencils on paper. This technique allows him to create a vibrant chromatic chiaroscuro and, at the same time, to reveal the sharp contrast characterizing the represented subject. A regrettable melancholy permeates his works, something that induces the viewer to feel great compassion for these human beings, whose backdrop grace has deserted.
Extract from the critical text of Rosetta Gozzini, art curator, on the solo show Los Olvidados, Matalon Foundation, Milan.