In June of last year, at the gallery our platform then hosted at Rämistrasse 33, Zurich, we launched a successful exhibition by Alejandro Gómez Cangas. Open just before the Art Basel 2022 fair, the ‘Germinal’ exhibition caught the attention of several critics, specialists, and art collectors. On display were pieces from several of the artist’s series, all sharing a strong documentary intent, reimagined from a distinctive author’s perspective.
It is an established poetic, the result of diligent research work. Gómez Cangas reflects on the peculiarities that make up groups, from relatively small ones to large crowds. To consider any group of people as a homogenous mass is, in any case, an intentional or unintentional misconception, convenient or not. Perhaps a group is animated by a communion of interests, skills, or attitudes… but each member also stands out in their individuality, in essentially intimate realms.
One cannot ignore that sometimes what gathers or even briefly articulates a group is a conflict situation or pure chance. A crowd is, although it may seem paradoxical, an expression of dissimilarities.
Gómez Cangas is interested in highlighting these distinctions, and in all his works, which originate from portraits of ordinary people (not fictional characters), the viewer can glimpse the multiplicity of potential paths of this recreated humanity.
A year after that exhibition in Zurich, Alejandro Gómez Cangas continues to develop this integrating concept in his work. And these recent pieces are testament to that commitment.
He himself affirms in his notes: “An individual and photographic investigation of the characters will be the starting point for large gatherings of people; subjects marching towards an unknown direction as part of an infantry that holds its goal in the path itself. The mass is not presented as something anonymous or impersonal, but as a composite; it abounds in details and calls for a few minutes of contemplation. The diversity of people then becomes a point of attention, noticing each individual, pausing to observe. The experimentation goes from the general, almost abstract, to the particular and imperceptible, as something similar occurs when merging the idea of a ‘distinct being’ from the rest of the people or the feeling that ‘in unity there is strength’. Thus we stop before this crowd of which we are part in one way or another.”
That is ultimately the idea: in any of these crowds we could all be… and surely we have been… and we will be again. The artist does not judge, although he does problematize. In the end, the force and durability of the bonds between the human beings that make up a crowd depend on an infinity of conditions… which the artist does not intend to make explicit.
Gómez Cangas seems more seduced by the mystery of the very personal journey of each of the individuals, their irreducible freedom. We are not talking about flocks here.
One year after the opening of the ‘Germinal’ exhibition, and just a few days before Art Basel 2023, ArteMorfosis once again approaches the vibrant and always suggestive work of this restless and laborious artist and shows a selection of recent works.
About the Artist: Alejandro Gómez Cangas