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Artist Rafa Moreno debuts large format at MT Gallery with 'Maps'.


After two years of research in various formats and using different procedures, the creator from the Canary Islands shows the public a dozen pieces that take advantage of the characteristics of the material to formulate a personal vision of his memory beyond the fetish image that usually activates our memory.


Upon entering the artist's studio the first thing that haunts us is the invasive smell. A familiar, familiar mixture.


The hydraulic floor typical of the houses in the Alcaravaneras neighborhood greets us full of stains and unswept debris. Papers, racks and plastics are piled up in every room, showing signs of intense creative activity. The light that peeks through the interior courtyards shows us a house that we would like to inhabit, friendly to those who arrive and walk through it. MorenoTapia occupies the space of the MT Gallery destined for production. A set of rooms that in the last five years has given shelter to more than twenty artists of various nationalities. The project, born in a humble way a decade ago in an area of the city that is not usually associated with art, is already a firm bet in the regional cultural scene and will be so outside our borders. Its next international presentation at the Munich Art Fair, ARTMUC, with artists of four different nationalities, will be the first stop of many others that are already defined in the calendar for 2024 and 2025.

We wander through the space with our eyes lost, not knowing whether to delight in its architecture or enjoy the creative laboratories that dot the walls of each room. There is no order but no disorder either. It seems that chaos is necessary for the head to activate, the heart to accelerate and the hand to flow over the materials.

On a vast methacrylate table are piled all kinds of tools and graphic tools. The brushes dialogue at the same time as pencils, inks and papers of all kinds. Some altered photocopies, a marked catalog and a book that opens with MorenoTapia's latest graphics. On the right a multiple piece that fills the space and crams it, which fits almost up to the four meters high that the house has. The polyptych is part of the series "Maps" that the artist is finalizing for June 16, when he will open his first solo exhibition at the gallery that bears his name.

The adjoining space is larger and has more light. The constant inquiry continues to hover on the walls. Our attention is no longer lost and is focused on visualizing and understanding the creative process followed. The brain machinery is activated and sits down. She takes her time to enjoy what we have in front of us, a format of four square meters in which some human figures are intuited and that is in the last phase of concretion. It is easy to appreciate the amount of plastic that adheres to the structure of the frame precariously gripped with paper tape and tweezers. Without almost wanting to, we think in unison about the intention and the chosen order of each layer, about the controversial fragility of the material and about the connections with the environment.

The discursive contradiction seems inevitable as it is an issue that is glimpsed almost daily in everyday life, but we understand that the explanations will come later. We continue reading the work. The image is diluted in a gray, ghostly and nebulous tangle, intentionally dense. We can hardly succeed in constructing a map, a concrete pattern or a visual discourse that makes sense of the shadows. Pieces of a barely chromatic puzzle, discontinuous, that seems to us even erratic. A composition that associates with itself in a repetitive way, layer by layer, to transmute into a final assembly intentional and pursued, although it does not seem so.

The construction becomes prey to itself. MorenoTapia says that the research process began years ago from casual sketches that added the plastic material on paper. Those occasional mischiefs remained on the walls as vestiges of lines to be worked on. Gradually, and almost unintentionally, they began to occupy spaces in the artist's workbooks, especially dazzled by the possibilities offered by a material that he consumes and discards every day. This support allowed their juxtaposition and exponential variations, a new variant that had not been possible until now. The previous series was built from drawings that were systematically cut and cut up, giving rise to new constructions that the artist had never intended to generate. The inclusion of the transparent element multiplied the graphic options and opened the door to an unexplored and interesting territory, while at the same time generating doubts and conflicts about its durability and behavior with certain techniques but, above all, because of the degree of rejection it could generate among collectors in general.

"If a visual creator conditions his process from the beginning, he is condemned to walk in circles that he hasn't even drawn himself," he says aloud. After more than a year building the pieces in small format and having conditioned his work space in the production center of the MT Gallery, the step to the large format was a natural achievement. A step that materializes pieces since the end of '22 and that obviates the paper as material and support, something that has been present in his career constantly in the last three decades. Leaving the comfort zone, the well-known territory, brought with it the commission of mistakes and the discovery of great successes, but especially the possibility of substantially altering the composition that was being forged. Each week allowed us to savor first-hand the fundamental essences of the creative process.

The head does not stop spinning and the eye keeps going back and forth across the canvas from corner to corner. The image is broken, intentionally smudged with overlapping plastic that makes the outlines of the first layers barely visible. The omnipresent black of the oil painting contrasts sharply on the outer surface. The retina is blinded and confuses the background with the figure, building characters that give rise to many others.

MorenoTapia speaks to us in his proposal of the maps that inhabit our consciousness. The remnants of multiple experiences that are agglutinated in the same container. The years go by and the moments worthy of being kept away from oblivion are reiterated, blending together like graffiti on a Roman wax slate that sometimes confuses us. Memory becomes clumsy, gray, ghostly and nebulous, intentionally dense. We can hardly succeed in constructing a map, a concrete pattern or a discourse that makes sense of all those shadows. Pieces of a barely chromatic, discontinuous puzzle, which even seems erratic.


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