ANTONIO SEGUÍ, Antonio Seguí

05 April > 11 May 2019

2 Av. Matignon, 75008 Paris


The din of restless city dwellers and the circular memory of wardrobes
Round and square surfaces
Here, in 2019, in the Laurent Strouk Gallery, Antonio Seguí proposes round and square surfaces, his colorful, lively, cheerful paintings. Intense hues surprise.
All the square works have the same size: 100 x 100 cm; they are painted in a mixed technique on canvas. The other works are round; the tondos are painted with acrylic on cut wood, each tondo measures 121 x 121 x 8.5 cm. [...]
Thus, in 2019, Seguí's round and square surfaces are found in an Encyclopedia of Symbols (La Pochothèque, 1996), the circle and the square are the most important and widespread geometric symbols. The circles highlight the Sun and the Moon. Mystics often represent God as a circle whose center is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere, and who demonstrates a perfection inaccessible to humans. The circle knows no beginning or end, no direction or orientation.
The symbolic opposite of circle would be the square which represents the earthly, human and material world. The square allows humans to orient themselves in space. The square establishes a system of coordinates; it imposes a structure on chaos...
Memories of a wardrobe and the void
In 2017 and 2018, Antonio Seguí represents a strange circular wardrobe. It would be a wardrobe in which dresses, jackets and men's pants, women's and men's underwear (therefore underwear), hats would have been stored. The wardrobe could be a disordered wardrobe, or a disrupted dressing room, or the mess of a closet, of a disturbed closet.
Seguí represents then a chaotic jumble. A family would have scattered and disturbed the old tops and bottoms, thrown on a floor. The space of a vast closet would evoke the memories of fathers, mothers, children. Inside the periphery, you perceive tangled clothes, a jumble, a disarray; you find the profiles of some humans... But the center of the wardrobe is the void. The center is a non-place. It is perhaps a partial amnesia, a zone of forgetfulness. You would choose the non-action, the non-saying. You would move away from the heavy accumulation of things that would become useless, senseless, vain, negligible.
At the same time, near the circular checkroom, Antonio Seguí highlights the activities of city dwellers in square cities.
Antonio Seguí observes the brief scenes, the fleeting moments of the cities of South America or Europe. You watch the gestures of men and women, the movements of animals, the smoke, the cars, the birds, the growing palm trees, the houses, the stairs... Often the heat exhausts; naked men or women bathe in the cool water of the holes in the streets' tarmac...  
Anonymous people and brothers meet, Gustavo, Tio Juan, doubles and cousins, Señor Alfredo, the man without qualities of Musil. For a moment, the destinies of humans cross. [...]
Antonio Seguí creates terrains without scale, uncontrollable, rebellious. The space is deviated; it is flexible and subtle. The laws of perspective are forgotten. Often the paths are useless. The feelings are changing, uncertain. A great carpet is suspended with houses, palm trees, dogs, walkers, with the smokes, with enigmatic proverbs (like those of the painter Brueghel). In the nocturnal tangos, the dancers "feel in their faces the blood that rises with each cadence"; they dance "like perfumed wildcats". No one stops; but who would dare to say to stop?   
The regiments of the living and the machines pass by. The puppets are in a panic. Since his childhood, Seguí loved newspaper cartoons, comic books, circuses. Rats gnaw at the foundations of houses. "The reading of my paintings (he says) is neither clear nor ambiguous." His legends are floating; his fables are inconclusive. With a bittersweet irony, with the smile of an alert dandy [...]
The noise, the screams, the heckles, the chaos
You hear the noise, the howling, the insults, the barking of rabid dogs, the onomatopoeia, the laughter, the groans, the rumors, the gossip, the slogans, the appeals, the proclamations, the protests, the testimonies, the songs, the music of the bandoneons, the horns, the explosions, the detonations of the revolvers, the roar of the car engines, the hum of the nightly agitation, the tumult. It would be the heckles, the bacchanals, the brouhaha, the hullabaloo, the hooray, the brawls, the racket, the carnivals, the hullabaloo, the din, the noise, the tintamarre, the disturbance, the crush, the muddle, the zizanie. The musicians pity themselves on the pains of the Earth, on the sorrows of the solitary ones.
Harmonious crowds, ordered chaos, meetings, crossings, loves, duets, duels, scuffles multiply.       
The glory of the great hats
At many moments, Seguí admires the beautiful hats of Argentina. When I was a child," he says, "everyone wore hats. They were German hats, Italian hats, of course, and Panamanian hats. The famous Panama hat (straw braided hat) was never made in Panama, but in Cuenca. My favorite are the Italian Borsalinos.               
The men of the cities never leave their hats. They sleep in their hats on the bed. They fuck with their hats. In church, during mass, their hat is placed on their lap. When they were little, at school, without taking off their hat, they would heckle the teacher. They will push their grumbling into the gutter, a knife in the heart, their hats pulled down to their ears...
Antonio Seguí was born in 1934 in Córdoba (Argentina). When asked who influenced him the most, Antonio answers: "It was the child I was.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Gilbert Lascault




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