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Under Constant Pressure

Paintings by Claudio Fantini

February 24, 2003 – March 27, 2003

AMA | OAS Gallery
OAS Main Building
17th Street, NW (Corner of Constitution Ave.)
Washington, DC 20006

Claudio Fantini’s work is characterized by layers of paint. Each layer is applied and then partly washed or scraped away before adding the next layer. His use of layering techniques combined with silkscreen printing provides his work with carefully crafted backgrounds that set the stage for his ironically heroic depictions of human beings.

Contrary to the formalism that has dominated Costa Rican art in the last few decades, Fantini tends to focus on the conceptual aspects of his work. He appropriates illustrations from old medical texts, mechanical appliance manuals and old sales catalogs, as well as images from traditional Western art and modern photography.

He reconstructs his figures in extravagant ways. For instance, the transparent figure with shortened arms of “La sangre tiene puertas oxidades” (left, 1999) seems to hold a gravitational pull for the seven old-fashioned aircraft that hover around him. Apparent cracks in the canvas seem to protrude from his body in a web-like fashion, as if they were strings pulling the planes into the surrounding area.

Such cracks are characteristic of Fantini’s willingness to deliberately age his paintings. The simulation of rusty iron and bronze call attention to the materiality of the canvas - while the airiness of the subjects creates an interesting contradiction to this.