Works on paper and cardboard

Jose Dávila’s works on cardboard depict geometric compositions that accumulate and blend together, generating a certain spontaneous rhythm and a sensation of order.  Previously, Dávila has used cardboard for executing a series of “local adaptations” of iconic minimalist sculptures; this process can be described as a material desacralization, since it translates easily-recognizable sculptures into generic volumetric presences, as simple patterns for occupying space. Cardboard materializes these patterns, communicating them from its own fragility, symbolic connotations and locality. 

With these graphic works Dávila takes these ruminations into the pictorial field. Different cardboard segments are arranged in an almost accidental way; the geometric shapes that appear are reminiscent to the language of modernist abstraction. With povera elements Dávila creates a contradictory modular system, the sensation of order is intermittent and is interrupted by the material itself; this system does not assure the repetition of the formula it illustrates. Despite these compositions behave in a modular fashion, each of them remains encapsulated within its own uncertain condition. 

Other works on paper include the Exercise of the possible series. This series of drawings reveal chance as their producing agent. A helium balloon holds a brush or pen in balance, hovering over a sheet of paper. The process plays with the idea of authorial control and completion in the work of art. Evoking abstract painting and automated processes explored by 20th Century Avant-garde, the drawings establish a dialogue with the legacy of modern art history.

When arranging the instrument to create Exercise of the Possible, Dávila places himself as an indirect drawer. Thus, both physics and chance are part of the artistic process, becoming coauthors of the work. This process recalls Donald Judd’s ideas, who, when asked if real artists make their own art, declared that methods should not matter “as long as the results create art”. Therefore, as a sort of collective signature, the artist presents the image of the “drawing instrument”: a balloon tops the balance machine and holds the counterweight that takes over the making of a fortuitous trace on a plane.