Jose Dávila

INSTITUTO INHOTIM

Guadalajara, Mexico, 1974; lives in Guadalajara

Jose Dávila’s work arises from an intense dialogue between architecture and art. From architecture – his field of training – the artist brings research concerning the occupation of space, constructive materials, the composition of structural elements, and the mathematical calculation of the forces that maintain balance. From art – which he learned in a self-taught way – come the experimental processes, the creative freedom, the questioning of the forms and functions, the work with memory, and the perception of the spectator. His work is often composed of personal commentaries about the art movements of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Brazilian neoconcretism, minimalism and conceptual art. On various occasions, Dávila has re-created iconic works from that period, using different materials and scales to add new meanings to the already-existing ones.

One of these works of reinterpretation concerns the series Homage to the Square, by Josef Albers (1888–1976). For 25 years, Albers explored aspects of color and light in a large series of paintings, prints, tapestries and drawings developed on the basis of overlaid squares. In these abstract compositions, the combination of tones coupled with the asymmetric repetition of geometric shapes allow for the subjective experience of color. Dávila developed his homage to Albers and to geometric abstraction, creating an eponymous series, in which a monochromatic square is painted on the wall and, in front of it, transparent panes of glass – also square, each in a different size – are overlaid. From the combination of layers of materials, various monochromatic hues are created by the different incidences of light. That which in Albers’s painting was pure optical experimentation with color is re-materialized in three dimensions by Dávila, with elements whose precarious balance entices the spectator’s to engage with the artwork.

Cecília Rocha