Tránsito / 2011-2013

Tránsito. Passage or our transience . José Antonio Rodríguez

All of a sudden, there is solitude. People, tears, pain and memories have passed though those spaces. There are confrontations with oneself, with that which is unyielding. It is, certainly, a passing rite, as significant as a new member in the family, but not now. Now there is an ever appalling absence. Here, one is not with others. This is about mutual, forced and irreparable abandonments. There will be the remains of inanimate objects, but not quite -although they are always calm- since they have been inhabited and used by intense emotions. Those are the corners and vestiges of funeral parlors in this country. What is left behind the ritual: new abandonments that have acquired brief vitality; mutual passages of those who stay and those who leave. Such is not an empty habitat. On the contrary, from that apparent emptiness, intensities may be inferred.

Humberto Ríos has methodically registered the passing ritual that happens in funeral parlors in Mexico. Those are places of brief encounters, transience, because no one has stayed there, everyone has been there for a brief period of time. There only remain objects of some hours or an entire night, vacuity of formerly warm furniture. Spaces where only traces stay. Remains of a multiform and multi­spiritual ceremonial act. But, unlike other contemporary authors, where the explicit is hinted or there is no doubt of the social environment in Mexico in the beginning of this century, our artist has appealed to what is subtle and suggestive, Very close to the intangible, both in appearance and presence, his pictures become a structure of sensations, a search for traces of those we once were (a celebrity: the soft red carpet in the funeral of writer Carlos Fuentes in Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico; austerity of the plastic benches in the humble funerary parlor in Mérida, Mexico); or those who remained in the post mortem act, wandering. To stay would also be another impulse pervading Humberto Ríos´s work. We all become, generate, are (create) remains. A hinted, discrete, passing and light permanence.

Mirrors are here and there, momentarily. There, the passing bereaved faces him or herself. As Jorge Luis Borges wrote: Without anyone knowing, not even the mirror, he wept human tears. They do not suspect they commemorate everything that deserves tears. Maybe, because of that, in a corner there are paper handkerchiefs, which are not a minor requirement. Corners where meditations on life and death take place. There it is the fragile and ethereal: on the carpets full of traces; in the cleaning receptacles that arrive when everybody has left; in the beautiful petals left forever; in the flowers humidified with holy water; in the cups for the obligatory night coffee; in the slate where a name shall be shown for the last time; in the ribbon calling for memory; in the furniture to have some rest when facing sad times.

Let us then appeal to Bachelard in this essential The Poetics of Space. He cites poet Milosz and goes deeper: "To live and die in this sentimental corner, you told yourself; Yes, indeed, tolive and die there; why not, then, Monsieur de Pinamonte, you who so love dark, dusty little corners?? And all who live in corners will come to confer life upon this image, multiplying the shades of being that characterize the corner dweller. For to great dreamers of corners and holes nothing is every empty, the dialectics of full and empty only correspond to two geometrical non­realities. The function of inhabiting constitutes the link between full and empty."

Tránsito (Passage) is, therefore, a work where luminosity pervades, filtered light bathing objects. Lights going through the picture, creating, suddenly, a burst within an illuminated quadrangle, a geometrical segment (with whitish intensity directed towards hope) which, paradoxically enough, fights against semidarkness, thus creating a warm palette of colors. Light smoothness, carefully balanced, determining the picture, nothing but the presence of calmness; elegance of lines. Intimist lamps, scarcely sketching some light strokes. Together with the ochre, white and chromatic areas, as a pictorial painting ?here nothing happens by chance? that appears in one of his works (Puebla, Mexico). Always next to the shadow, that which is material­immaterial. That which is somber and stays in spite of everything. In those spaces which already keep a whole story, regardless of the briefness of the moment. Testimonials of times and rituals coinciding in the corners. Never by chance, but accurately. In an inevitable date where everything coincides: what is inside us and our externalizations ready for the ritual. Places where the senses are reverted, interlacing: the presence of the absent. After all, here, what is irreparable has become luminosity. Something has remained: the ever­present presence of those who have inhabited those spaces. Yes, is it ephemeral, but it always generates permanence. Humberto Ríos knows it: "If I had to describe my photography - he writes about his own work- I would say it departs from silence and the immaterial as a ritual to explore the human condition and its transience". In his work, he has called for every trace of our anxieties.