An Echo Made Tangible / (sun in an empty room)
Luis Antonio Santos
23 July – 21 August 2022
An Echo Made Tangible / (sun in an empty room) is centered on memories: their nature, the way we retrieve them, their function and eventual collapse, and the subsequent implications of this loss. Memories hold a fragility, which is tied to the precarious state of our sense of self. We are shaped by what we remember, and our identities are often directly impacted by what we hold onto and what we repress.
There are three modes of work that Luis Antonio Santos has made for the pieces of this show, to create several images to consider these notions, particularly that of the erosion of memory, whether this happens through trauma, disease or a natural decline due to old age.
His source photographs are divided into grids, and then broken into smaller silkscreen tiles. The initial layer of each painting consists of acrylic paint, and this is what illuminates the image, later on revealing it as a picture. These underlying gestures dictate what is visible to the spectator, just as light reveals the image that a photograph is trying to make.
The resulting pictures in Santos’ work in this collection are quite dense, the layers making the picture appear almost like an abstraction or a vibration, though with a sense of familiarity about them. You recognise what a photograph is trying to portray, but you can’t quite make out the details. To him, this entire process is like laying bricks, each fragile and delicate layer informs the entire entity and builds towards it.
Santos, here, looks at memory-recording, “like how sound is recorded into vinyl,” a process that is “wound-like,” where memories are akin to wounds, scars, and trauma. This arduous process bears witness to the signs of labour that went into the work. Each error, misprint, misalignment, or abrasion, even the integrity of the paint and the mesh, is a trace of the hand that made these images.