“What remains of memory is something indistinct, a slow wave that carries with it the entire sensation of a period, but without the forms and contours, not even the shadow of the shadow, but only the infinite ‘negative’ of those remembered forms, rather than the limited, even indefinite, ‘positive’ “.
The forms Afro skillfully paints on the canvas should not be considered an enclosure, but an image that is transformed first in memory and then, purifying itself, on canvas.
Doing that, the sentiments connected with the aesthetic experience are the opposite of those felt in real life, and the emotions flow in cognitive terms when, as on the canvas, they are placed in connection to one another.
The theoretical nucleus of that experience is composed of a mixture of the human dimension and the emotional, abstract, bodiless transfer onto canvas.
Such a result comes from various phases, which Afro describes for us in some letters from that period.
“The images are a poetic counterpart of reality, of which memory conserves the most essential part, rejecting everything that is practice and experience.”
“I sense that the mystery with which my entire life emerges in the painting can be understood inversely so the images of the painting can retrace back to the origins of my life.”
“So I’m not afraid of the word ‘dream’, of the word ‘lyric’, or the word ‘emotion’. “
This is the paradigm of his new alphabet.
If we do not understand that we cannot approach his concept of abstraction, forms, lines, emotions.
In this way, the ‘real’ is dematerialized, becomes bodiless, but without becoming something imaginary or unreal.
The space of the painting becomes the space of dualism, of presence as well as absence.
So memory is just the starting point that is lost in the construction of pictorial space. Now there is only osmosis of colour and sign, and fragmentation becomes a synonym for spatial composition.
This is a way of going beyond an entire artistic grammar, an approach that was also – though we should emphasize, not entirely- provoked by acquaintance with the likes of Arshile Gorky, who “intrepid, emotional, proud to love, taught me to search for my truth without formalist hesitations. From this I have learnt more than from any other, to search inside myself where the images are still rooted to their obscure origins”.
Afro was one of the main abstract painters at the time. His abstract style is balanced by an elegance and refinement in compositions that are reminiscent of classical culture. Close to the Abstract Expressionism and enriched by his friendships with artists like Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly and Franz Kline.…