Amparo Sard, 'Precarious reactions [Half hand in/out]', 2020;
polyurethane; 5 x 22 x 8 cm.
From 1990 the artist Amparo Sard uses a refined technique of perforating paper. In series of these reliefs of 32 x 46,5 cm. a female figure in a lace dress elegantly leads the observer of the work along episodes of the artists life. The resemblance with the artist is striking. Yet, looking at these works, we sense a feeling of not quite.… because there seems to be some acting, a kind of fake upleveled to the point of theater. With uncanny things in the works…. like for instance the Amparo in a great gesture with scissors in the hand cutting the refined dress, or carrying another self portrait as a doll in a suitcase. The theatrical links to the films in which Sard acts, that were from the start the basis for obtaining the images for the reliefs – but the images were further adapted and became more intriguing. In any case, as self portraits these works are superb. They are of an extreme beauty and outstanding in technique – using the smallest needles to obtain different, up to the most refined perforated surfaces. These delicate perforated reliefs are included in many important private and museum collections (Teylers, Guggenheim, Moma, DB etc etc).
In the meantime over the years there is an upscaling. We see the holes of the perforations in bigger sizes, for instance in a paper work of 1.50 x 2.50 m. the drilled holes are up to 5 mm. in diam. But also large scale sculptures in fibreglass and polyurethane appear. A boat, a half boat with holes.… very daunting. And huge perforated hands and arms that embrace each other to form a crown, which to Amparo also is a ‘Lifebuoy' with reference to ‘Caring for’…. These themes were earlier seen in the small reliefs and the crown stems from a small film, ’salvavvidas’ 2012, in which the slow, cautious touching of the finger tips of both hands gives a thrill, when you look at it. ‘Crown’, ‘Lifebuoy' and ‘Caring for’ – in the time of ‘corona’ it is as if the artist forecasted the pandemic we now live in. In general larger scale works intensify the feeling they inhabit. There is more and more focus on essential feelings, and on a search for intuition. In PHŒBUS•Rotterdam we did the exhibition ‘Slowly through water’ in 2018. To Sard, moving slowly and heavily through the water, brings one in the end to sense what really matters.
In the work of Sard brightness and splendid aesthetics are related to incomprehensibility and darkness – even more penetrating now than in the very beginning when, in a perforated white paper suddenly could appear a dark mask …. In the Dutch exhibition project ‘Unlocked / Recollected’ we show the recent sculpture, 'Precarious reactions [Half hand in/out]’. In it, the sculpture of a hand lies on a table. The fingers and a part of the hand form a partial self portrait of the hand of the artist in white polyurethane – with all caracteristics of Greek verismo. Whereas the second half of the hand consists of black polyurethane. The white part of the hand seems to crawl out of dirty gook, seems to refer to the dark, the literally and figurative not understood background of, or what is behind, the perforated work. Both in the past and in recent works, and particularly in this work, Amparo keeps to the sublime in which beauty and repulsion meet
mdw 25 mei 2020 PHŒBUS•Rotterdam