For the second time Daniel Verbis (León, 1968) is exhibiting at the Pilar Serra Gallery, this time presenting his work ‘Cross-Dressing’.
According to Verbis, in art when some things masquerade as others, the unexplainable is being materialised, or in other words, the fact that nothing is fixed is being shown, where the meaning of the work, however it is attempted, is not subject to the strict mandate of reason and that the sense is fluid, alterable, mutable, with the idea that what is said is done, but at other times what is said is not done. Ideas and words are little flags that we fly as deemed appropriate, but which finally, are blown away by the wind. In this business of the meaning of art either extremes (a is capital A) or simplifications (A is A, B means B) dominate. However, it is true that a work of art does not resist its complete nakedness and it has to be dressed with one discourse or another – regarding resistance, sacrifice, luxury, discipline, literality, novelty, saintliness, pain…, or what is much worse, calculated social relevance.
Although Verbis makes his works with complete independence, certain correspondences may be established that make his works go a little further beyond their immediate plasticity, reaching a certain systemic interest.
Therefore, Verbis finds in the (un) dressing of the body and in the (un) dressing of the object an uncovered skin, a wrapping which, as a literal constructive element, strips the appearance and leaves naked an anatomy crossed by light, an anatomy that reveals the body and turns it into a surface that becomes translucent paint: skin. We could say that this future fabric of the subject, that this transference of the reversible body to a geography of expanding pleats is the common theme, the subject of this exhibition, another one, although perhaps not just any one, as Michel Serres states in Atlas: “between the toughness, so-called harshness of glass, geometrically ordered and the fluidity of the soft, sliding molecules, there is an intermediate material that tradition left for the gynaecium (…): veil, tissue, fabric, cloth, rag, goat or lambskin, called parchment, the skinned leather of a calf stripped or flayed, called vellum, flexible and fragile paper, wools or silks, all the flat or warped varieties in the space, wrappings of the body or foundations of writing, which may flutter like a curtain, neither solid or liquid, but containing a little of both states. Foldable, tearable, extensible… topological.
Motionless or ephemeral, the protrusions or the cracks in the marble, or the ripples in the water that do not behave in either space or time as the pleats in a draped fabric that floats, but that remains momentarily erect. As if, hard and soft, resistant and gentle, the meat were to hesitate between fluid and solid, the scholars of living beings use the word with intelligence: tissue.”
In the wefts of fabrics different subjects may be drawn, meaning that this exposure is no longer reduced to the simple context of weaving of ideas, to how the thought is woven when it becomes complex, to how all these figurations, all these incorporations are woven where the light draws on its weft of knots, in its crossing of genres. The artistic object is always two-fold, an image on which the androgynous thought pivots, the complete subject. Guided at times by the random migration of associations and at others by the contingency of overlaps, Verbis moves from fabric to whimper, from bodice to stoat, from the figurala object the conceptual warp of art, from the flogging doublet to the epithelial tissue, from the knots to the naked forms, from the frame of the canvas to the blush of the body becoming transparent, from the dress itself to the cross-dressing, from the silkworm to the worm’s silk.
Today, an artist can ill afford to make stitches without thread and he must turn the veil of his chimeras into armour, shutting himself into his ideas, although he is left with only a very faint voice. It is easy to fall into the temptation of thinking like others and there is nothing worse than stopping being ourselves; nothing worse than following fashion or becoming mistaken with ideas that are not our own. Verbis seems to want to tell us that when we discover the irremediable, that art is the dwelling place and the cross, that painting is the shroud of the eye trauma, that the white or black or blue canvas will be the final shroud, until the steel curtain falls and brings an end to this labyrinthine wandering, we have no choice but to entertain ourselves by rewinding the thread of the sense. Dressing up as our other selves (cross-dressing) to offload the desire to another, of being just another person. We must put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, cross – dressing to cast off our prejudices of reason and of the absurdity of injustice, as there is a great deal of tissue to cut, many strippings of the self, a great deal of uniform to deform, many layers of skin to shed and many negligees to tear. The artist is only left with questioning his “work” trusting that the spectator knows how to find a common theme: this audacity of the objects that undress, this blush of the bodies that do everything they can, this profound nudity that becomes light.
Daniel Verbis is a Graduate of Fine Art from the Universidad de Salamanca. He has exhibited in many galleries and public institutions, amongst which the following stand out: the CAB de Burgos (2004), MUSAC de León (2006), Patio Herreriano de Valladolid (2013), Sala Amós Salvador in Logroño (2016), DA2 de Salamanca (2018). His works may be found in private and public collections, such as the Banco de España Collection, Coca-Cola Foundation, Unión Fenosa Collection, the Town Council of Alcobendas, Caja Madrid Collection, CGAC Collection, L´Oreal Collection, Folkwang Museum (Germany), Reina Sofia National Museum Collection, AENA Collection, PAMM Collection (Jorge Pérez, Miami ), amongst others.