Sparrow Song is the title of José María Sicilia’s sixth exhibition at the gallery. The sparrow’s song flows lightly through the space, as Sicilia returns to his fundamental research on sonograms and the translation of sound into form.
In the room on the right, the works on paper are translations of sparrow songs. It’s no coincidence that Sicilia chose to focus on a bird that was very common just 20 years ago, but is now disappearing from our towns and gardens at an alarming rate: as if he were confronting us with the portrait of a disappearance, with a threatened identity. Throughout his work, the artist has always paid particular attention to the tenuous, the fragile, the surreptitious. Over time, he has explored new areas and increased the complexity of his technique. After translating other sounds, such as the clamour of demonstrations in Madrid, and studying Becquerel levels in Fukushima, he worked on translating the data of a physics experiment about light.
In the room on the left and the rear space he pursues the same inquiry in this series, titled Light on light, while at the same time modifying his style: the complex tree structures make way for more minimalism, the repetitions have become more hypnotic. One senses an exploration that remains focused on the broken and disjointed, oppositions and digressions, but with a restlessness less pronounced than in his previous works. Spaces are left more fallow and multiple shapes emerge by default, almost reluctantly. Ultimately, there is as much subtraction as addition in this work.
Sicilia also plays with overlays, with materials, with the beauty of silk. One can sense frivolity, even joy in his work, and like a jazz musician, he improvises and lets himself be carried along by the contaminations that he himself provokes. There will always be time to play with the double layer of silk if one of the two wefts fails to please. The influences and interplay between colours and shapes can be deferred, as when he applies this second gauze of silk over the first. This cartography is unique. We witness the drift of continents that float and allow themselves to be transported without predetermined beginning or end. This emphasises the notion of horizontality present in the work, like an expansion or contagion. The motifs proliferate in rhizomic fashion, gradually, randomly crossing, as in nature. The term rhizome, as transposed from the realms of botany to philosophy by Deleuze and Guattari, applies perfectly to Sicilia’s artistic practice.
Generally speaking, the works of Sparrow Song raise the question of the network as much as that of transparency. Waves and flows are supported by punctuations, by the proliferation of lines in a constant movement to and fro, while appearing to levitate. Also note that many works lack a centre, and the absence of hierarchy is established progressively between the shapes and colours.
Inhabited by a desire to endlessly explore and praise the beauty of the world, Sicilia translates into a visual language the harmony and celebration of life.