Víctor Manuel Mendiola

Changing views without changing places. That is what Pedro Diego has done unexpectedly..

In this painter’s earlier work it is clear that there is a very strong relationship with two traditions: on the one hand, with that type of painting that sees an invisible structure in the proportions of the canvas, an essential weave that must remain hidden. If one observes his previous work carefully one can discover a geometry: angles, spheres, surfaces, even vanishing points hidden by a sarape or a table or a body. These forms linger behind like skeletons; they produce such an exact outline, so thought out yet at the same time so faint, that it must survive in silence. On the other hand, we can also see an intense relationship with reality in Alvarado’s work. This reality is an immediate, omnipresent ingredient. We could very well say that the representation of things and beings in his paintings carried as much weight as the drawn, colored surface. Which is why we could as easily find landscapes of the Valley of Oaxaca or a lake with a dark green, as an almost black, forest, or vases with gladiolas, a portrait of a woman in an unreal concretion, or the rooftops seen before arriving at a factory. To observe the color and the drawing represented the joy of seeing what the eyes can see everyday as well as the measurements established by the hand.

Naranjas verdes, mameyes y duraznos, 1999, óleo/linoToday, in this new collection there is an almost unperceivable, despite the contradiction, brutal change. Just as in the previous collection, reality is overwhelmingly large in these paintings, just as in the previous collection; yet, unquestionably, the control of proportions is generally calculated and done step by step, in detail, with a grid. However, there is also a big difference: this reality is deliberately fragmented and the proportions have begun to be transformed into an exterior weave, into knots that we can see and decipher. In this new collection we see pumpkins, watermelons, papayas, pineapples, apples, bananas in baskets, pears next to pomegranates, peaches next to oranges, boxes of mamey and boxes of limes, all pointing to a division and at the same time toward a vision enlarged into a type of superrealism. What we see jumps out at us and almost overcomes us. All of these forms of reality are the main subject and are, at the same time, a pretext.

In these paintings, Alvarado has invented a strange rhythm between the small and the large, between amplification and reduction. The format chosen by Pedro Diego to carry out this operation is a perfect square. It is a format that often does not work well, yet it has allowed Pedro Diego Alvarado to achieve a real cut or a cutout of a theme that, though it may often sound boring and create vulgar visions for us, in his case produces a refreshing sensation that rouses us. Like someone clearing a table, Alvarado has pushed aside the common places of still lifes and landscapes and has found in these perfect rectangles, not only a form of communication between tradition and modernity, but also what appears to be the irruption of his own language. We only have to see the incredible diptych of the prickly pears to realize that there is something disquieting and truly new in these paintings. It is the reality we know, but it is also the reality that we don’t know. It overwhelms us and we can almost embrace it. We are standing in the same place, yet with a different view.

September 2000

Salomon Grimberg
José Manuel Springer
Luz Sepúlveda
Gilles A. Tiberghien
A Detail and an All
Victor M. Mendiola
Miguel Fabruccini
Silvya Navarrete
Raquel Tibol
Miguel A. Muñoz
Olivier Debroise