The work of Emanuel Seitz roams the immensity in which Sonia Delaunay located abstract art, that which for her was relevant only if its interminable rhythm brought about an encounter between the remote past and the distant future. The same idea was suggested by Guillaume Apollinaire, who understood that the visual virtues of the painter undoubtedly meant taking in the scope of the past, present and future in a single “glance”. It is against that immense space that Seitz’s painting presents itself, in the artist’s third solo exhibition at the Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt: between the primordial and the postmodern; the primal and the subtle; between the most innate gesture and the most formal construction.
There is an exotic eclecticism in these paintings by Seitz. Disparate places which contravene the extensive norms for series and ensembles. Although there are undoubtedly certain works which can be grouped together by colour, geometry or structure, each piece in itself constructs a universe of impulses and reflections, of velocities and tensions, which acquire uniformity in their precise contrariness and their profound diversity. Only on analysing these works as an ensemble do we discover how his painting is joined together; cramps, spasms and interferences. As such, it is possible to trace out the broken and discontinuous threads by observing what occurs in each one of the works, and what that itself generates in subsequent pieces.
If in Seitz’s earlier painting, also rooted in essential geometric form and abstraction, there was a profound ornamental component, now the structure has become much more narrative. In previous exhibitions his painting was absorbed in its own realisation, and that was what turned it into a metapictorial reflection. The spirals which filled the surfaces of his canvasses, trapped in themselves, were an eloquent expression of that dynamic. Now, on the other hand, we find ourselves faced with a painting that not only presents form but also a scene. And that scene a narrative.
The painter’s approach to narrative is much more intense now than in his earlier painting. In short, this is still a case of a pictorial gesture, only much more literary. A gesture in which the subject is concealed in the painting’s very narrative essence. Form is not as it seems; it shifts in shape and appearance. The paintings appear to be distant reflections of actions or places that once were. Smoking traces of what might have been. But at the same time they alternate with reverberating scenes and representations in which the blurred surfaces transform into resplendent scenes. Veiled forms which resist and balance themselves in different positions and at different weights. Unparalleled, unique and impossible colours; those that, Apollinaire claimed, “each man invents”. Triangles, semicircles, cones or lunes which constitute a real language in which form is no longer a sign and becomes body.
That which is revealed to us in Egyptian art through Roman architecture and right up to the vanguards, the theories of colour, entopic phenomena and even the most recent of North American abstraction. Now, rather than forms, there are things, aspects and elements which shake off their own form to become figures. As Ángel González once said of Mallarmé with regard to hats: “There is velvet, or silk, or felt, and a form which is often no more than the very absence of form”. While some scenes look like still lifes, others appear to be wall hangings or architectures. As such, the geometric patterns which divide some of the surfaces of the pieces into gaps or spaces, the cells in which the volumes and prisms distributed between the works seem to become trapped, forming pyramids, towers or jigsaw puzzles, act like lapses, cavities and concavities which give refuge to extraordinary bodies. Emanuel Seitz knows how to see in the invisible and offers us a sensual painting which, without losing sight of the optical illusions of traditional art, embraces metaphysical forms with passion. “Forms which are nothing but their very absence”.