Santiago Ydañez

Participating Artist
Santiago Ydañez
May 20 - June 28 2014
May 20 2014

Santiago Ydáñez (born 1969) captivates through the brutal directness of apparent ugliness, which has an oppressive and yet familiar impression on the beholder because the poetry of beauty lies dormant within it. His works doubtlessly break with artistic tradition. For some, this is a clear sign of the degeneration and decadence of contemporary art, for others, the combination of these aesthetic contrasts is simply brilliant. Santiago Ydáñez is a multi-tasker – he rarely fixes on one and the same motif. Almost measured, scarcely finding peace – a workaholic in his craft – he doesn’t shy away from any compromise. Expressive, radical, direct, rough and yet vulnerable, he presents works from the last two years in his first solo exhibition in Switzerland. It is a wide-spectrum composition of different working groups. The artist, who grew up in a small village in Spain, socialised and surrounded by Catholic questions of faith, religious customs, statues of saints and heavily influenced by his father, who was a hunter, he dissects wild dogs, horses, cats, budges and other animals. At first sight, everything seems very brutally taken out of context. Human faces, which are presented like relics, but are gruesomely picked to pieces and become grimaces. Aggressive dogs with bared teeth and a fixed stare disturb the image or better the association of the revolting and repellent, for it is exactly in these supposedly dead eyes that we can discover a tearful vulnerability. Without doubt, Santiago Ydáñez is able to stir emotions in us, which we cannot always control. There are voyeuristic emotions, which make it hard for us to avert our gaze, capturing it in fascination. This is not least because Santiago Ydáñez allows us to take time to study the expression of his creatures and portraits. In the end, we can even detect a hint of fragile vulnerability. The pastose layer of paint and the selection of motif are reminiscent of traditional works from the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the lavishly staged studies of the surroundings are missing and all of the colours are heavily reduced. More like the colour has been sucked out than effusively unnatural. A conspicuous and evident indication that this is an artist of our time – progressive, modern and open. Catrina Sonderegger, 2014