TÊTE-BÊCHE. Ramón Mayrata

Tête-Bêche 17, 2005. · Oil / canvas, 100 x 100 cm

At the beginning of the XXI st century, a huge network of mobile images is unfolding and entirely covering any space on the planet. No one knows what’s true and what isn’t. The images assail us and flee, draw back like waves, cross our path and impede our progress, abandon us somewhere else, like revolving doors. We cannot dwell on them, as they are immediately replaced by others. To get our attention, they have to be as surprising as north-westerly gales or grip us by the throat..

Amadeo Olmos views their dynamism and confusion with catlike stealth and lures these vertiginous images with the silence of painting. Incredibly, he manages to detain them. Objectifying the images is a way of stopping the world. Stripped of their significance, the images allow us to create a private and strange universe, forcing the viewer give it meaning. Amadeo Olmos does not offer us any meaning. He does not create symbols. He poses questions. What we are looking at is looking at us. He makes the viewer take part in his perplexity.

He seeks the world’s comprehension from an evocative point of view, through the confrontation of images, without passion, nor expressionism, through symmetry and contrast, with a basic austerity. He recycles images pulled out of films, magazines, newspapers, photographs, stripping them of their psychological density and treating them like figures to be composed in space. He paints a hypothesis : parallel and yet mentally opposed paths, which bring together contradictory systems of representation; different time and space: a moment and a sphere which do not always correspond; characters situated in different instants, unequal scales, unreal colours, images which go missing in worlds which are not their own.

The word for this process could be Tête-Bêche, a philatelic term describing two stamps printed upside down or sideways relative to one another, fruit of an error in the plates of the printing press, producing a mirror effect. Just as our face is always inverted in a mirror, the extension of this idea is used to depict parallel paths in opposite directions. This use was made by writer Liu Yichang to relate the story of a man and a woman who frequented the same places without ever getting to know one another. The crossroads of time, which inspired Wong Kar-wey in his film In the Mood for Love.

Amadeo Olmos defines himself in his attention to what he has in front of him. With the most vital fire of vision, – wrote Wallace Stevens in Beliefs of Summer – All that is not she should be reduced to ashes. The images are juxtaposed before our eyes, like figures and objects close to us, which change in relation to others far away when we travel through a landscape. Why do the two realities interfere? The interference does not allow a rapid passage through the images, since it obliges us to seek a relationship between the worlds that are brought face to face. Sections and intersections. The interference between images demonstrates that nothing is objective in the contemporary mind. The culture of our time establishes itself in fugitive images, which when they meet, at a given moment, produce new realities no less revealing than each image on its own.

They are a reflection of reality, but a reality produced by media interference, impossible to find in Nature. It’s a question of rejecting appearances and the external world, as in the Malevich painting. Images facing each other, often without contradiction, given that nowadays it isn’t easy to find contradictory images of the type used by Richard Hamilton in 1956, when he brought together the brutality of war and the fiction of propaganda in a famous collage. For reality and its counterpart coincide, now that – if we recall Warhol’s Brillo, produced just eight years later – it‘s extremely difficult, or even impossible, to distinguish reality from fiction.

Amadeo Olmos casts his net and appropriates images, which away from their source acquire texture, silence, perspective, all that stems from this distancing… Images that ferment, unrecognisable, often fragmented, withdrawn from a concrete historical meaning. . The fact that the glass should melt in the heat / and water turn to ice in the cold, – wrote Wallace Stevens, referring to a glass of water – demonstrates that this object is only a state, one of the many there are between two poles.

Ramón Mayrata