Artist: Santiago Ydáñez

Exhibition title: Side Glance
Curator: Omar-Pascual Castillo
Dates: 09.10.2015 to 10.01.2016
Place: CAAM – Los Balcones 11. Planta 3. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain
Produce: Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno and Cabildo de Gran Canaria
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Santiago Ydáñez

Santiago Ydáñez’s work (Puente de Génave, Jaén, 1969) bursts into the Spanish visual arts landscape at the end of the nineties thanks to a series of early national awards. These endorsed the extraordinary and astounding quality of a charismatic pictorial series accomplished very quickly, which revealed the artist’s obvious expressiveness as regards the acrylic technique. His amazing skill and sensationalist gestural resolution established him as a breath of fresh air in the dull and boring visual arts scene in Spain, which was –only with great difficulty– moving out of the belated stagnation of Post-conceptualism.

Ydáñez’s effervescence and productive speed, as well as the dazzling and sarcastic sense of humor of his first works, placed him in less than five years as one of the very new promises of the long-awaited Nuevo Arte Español (New Spanish Art), inside and outside Spain’s borders.

The central column that has kept his work together all these years has always been the truthfulness to his concerns around the unwavering voracity of the gaze. All of Ydáñez’s work is based on the dichotomous and paradoxical invective about how the artist likens the fetishistic nature of the depraved voyeur –that we all carry within– with the credulous naivety of the religious devotee. With this in mind, he researched, collected and accumulated material for years, like some kind of Diogenes in the painting Pupila I, and turned it all into a democratic «taxonomy of the gaze» as an apolitical, timeless and de-hyerarchized legacy by the human subject of the 20th century and the human embryo of the contemporary 21st century.

Santiago is in constant search of new media to use in his work, without ever underrating any artistic language of nowadays. His range goes from the most traditional oil painting to the recurrent use of acrylic or the economical and reductionist language of drawing; also watercolours and all the resources of graphic art, and most specially the source of all of his work: photography. Photography is, then, the cause of the delirious and immune universe of images that is ousting the logos to establish a superficial (laminar, Deleuze would say) dictatorship of the imago.

Ydáñez does it all as an act of indolence; as a mocking, destabilizing trick and as an elaborate flirtation with intimacy, De reojo (side glance), without a trace of ingenuity and with full awareness of his unruly, dissident attitude. He brings to light a distinctive art with a «neoromantic aftertaste» that refuses any simplistic complicity or the theatrical effectiveness of opera. Instead, the artist prefers the torturing little music of the barrel organ in the carnival-like, irksome funfair.

We are offered an incidental «alter corpus» to look at sideways («De reojo»), which completes our view of the huge and ever changing entirety of his work. Nevertheless, the artist speaks humbly to us –as if in a low voice, confident enough not to raise it– looking to tell us stories about the multiple Santiagoes that Ydáñez is. 

Omar-Pascual Castillo


Presentation to the media of the exhibitions by Santiago Ydáñez, Julião Sarmento and Abraham Lacalle

Inauguration of the exhibitions by Santiago Ydáñez, Julião Sarmento and Abraham Lacalle

Children’s opening of the exhibitions by Santiago Ydáñez, Julião Sarmento and Abraham Lacalle

Skip to content