DANIEL CARRANZA'S PICTORIAL UNIVERSE

Enock Sacramento

The text "Fabulinha fabulosa" that the late art critic Olney Krüse had written for the catalogue of the first individual exhibit of Daniel Carranza, held in Sao Paulo, at the Galeria André, in 1986, is one of the most revealing features about the life and work of the Argentine artist . Born in 1955 inBuenos Aires, Carranza lived in Brazil between 1982 and 1999. Since thatdate he has been dividing his residence between Westchester, New York, and the city of the Sao Paulo.

In Geek mythology, the minotaur is a monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull, which lived in the labyrinth on the Isle of Crete and was killed by the Athenian Theseus. Ganymede was a prince of Troy and one day he was tendinghis father's flock when he was seen by Zeus, who, stunned by his beauty, transformed him into an eagle and, seizing him, possessed him in flight. Zeusfell in love with Ganymede and led him to Olympus where he dwells and serves the gods the nectar that makes them immortal. In homageto the beautiful youth, whose name signifies "He who rejoices in virility", Zeus places him in theconstellation of Aquarius.

The paintings that Daniel Carranza developed in the 1980s and 1990s in Brazil, where his career as a painter brought him a professional prominence which hascontinued in the United States, are the result of a form of an ongoing refinement and development, enriched by reflection, intuition and maturation of his first artistic adventures into the rich terrain of myth, the narrative of the fantastic, the symbolicwhich projects a special vision or perspective of the world and which mirrors aspects of human nature itself. Myth, in the expression of Fernando Pessoa, is "thenothing that is everything."

Many of the works that were created by Carranza in the decade of the eightieswere oil paintings on wood, executed in small formats inhabited by small, welldetailed figures enveloped in a surrealist medieval climate that remit one to Brueghel and Bosch. Some of thesesmall works contain dozens of figures, which, of course, are so painstakingly detailed, it takes a very long time for the artist to create each work of art. At the time of the interview he said, "I am restricted bytime and by technique. I find chronological time too short. Ifone could merelyclap one's hands and complete a painting -but unfortunately, that is not the case For ideas of the infinite, there is only the sound of the ticking of the clock."

Ever since the beginning of his amazing career, the artist has shown an all -absorbing interest in the technique of painting, which he had begun to perfection Buenos Aires under Alfredo Carracedo and, which he had further fine-tunedin the Sao Paulo, receiving technical process of a work of art.

The works that Daniel Carranza showed in his first individual exhibit in Sao Paulo, in 1986, document the first phase of his professional production and reveal techniques and procedures that have accompanied him in the subsequentdecades. Carranza has always been a figurative painter. His representation ofmanwas conceived at first based on a figure that remits one to a homunculus a man who reminds one of a child, or a child who reminds one of an adult man. These figures were placed on a spatial plane, sometimes without a horizon, as though they were floating on air. In some casesthe shadows ofthe figures denoted the existence of the ground. In other cases, an openininduced one to a spatial level to the side or below, similar to a window opening or a space in a basement. The figures were represented playing withone another, performing on musical on musical instruments, bearing banners or flags, or lines of colored balloons, or undertaking some kind of work with wood, for example Gradually, over time, however, his art began to follow different pathways. The compositions with the homunculus became more complex. The heads were now protected by helmets, pots, teapots, while theclothing they wore were painted with much more sophisticated detail, and even the series of figures themselves took on a more complex delineation. The works in this series, however, became rarer as time passed.Meanwhilethe imagery of hybrid entities began to dominate his work, beings with thebody of a human being and the head of an animal.This world of the imaginarybeings reverts to his childhood. where he found pleasure in dreaming upmythological beings. Actually, Geek mythology remits us to a world of supernatural figures such as gods, deities , heroes and monsters. Among these hybridfigures arethe centaur, a fantasticcreature with the body and legs of a horse and the torso, arms and head of man; the minotaur,with the body of a manand the head of a bull; as well as the satyr, which associates humananatomical elements with the characteristics of a goat, imagery that is equivalent to a faun in Roman mythology, among others.

Carranza has created a vast and extensive gallery of hybrid beings createdbearing the bodies of men with the heads of birds, fowl, fish, hogs goats, horses, sheep, dogs, cats. All these strange beings bore an apparentbenign appearance, isolated, or in groups, undertaking certain tasks, and attimes conducting what appears to be certain rites of passage.

These hybrid beings, which are embellished with a pictorial treatment withgreatly detailed technical perfection and which remit the observer to differentmoments of the history of art, appear in his paintings dressed in clothing

luxuriously elaborated, bearing objects of various epochs of history in beautiful

environments. verdant fields and a limpid atmosphere, that reflect his concernover the preservation of the environment to the present day aging fire destroys the forest in the background.The same theme is explicit in paintings such as "Fantasia Amazônica" in which, on the left hand side of the painting indigenous people dwell in a tropical paradise, which alludes to the work of the famous travelling painters ( who visited Brazil sketchbook in the hand in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries)On the right hand side of the painting a forest is set aflame, while in the centerthere is a view of Sugar Loaf and an anachronistic silhouette of the sculpture"OsGuerreiros " (" The Warriors" ) of the Bruno Giorgi, currently installed in thePraça dos TrêsPoderes in Brasilia.

The seriesSonhos (Dreams), created with immaculate landscapes, also projects his conservationist ideals. The series begins with only a scene of nature in theearly morning, at dawn, and ends just after the sunset as night is falling, but lights is still projected in the upper layers of the atmosphere. Between one moment and another, many things seem to happen. People move in various directions, spurred by different motives.The artist wants to express the idea thatthe passage of man on earth may be pleasurable but cannot be aggressiveenvironment in which he lives.

By elevating his narratives through symbols,by exalting the power of emotionsand sentiments, characteristic of romanticism - Carranza produces his latest phase, a series of thin, almost transparent textiles floating, fluttering in the air, tied on the left to a branch, a stick or staff, The paintings Body and Soul, Glory, And Still... There's Life, Endless Knot and Lotus, focus on the ephemeralnature of everything that exist and the final fusion with the universe. The paintings of the textiles wavering in the air begin, on the left side of the paintingwith a very elaborated pictorial technique that dilutes formality with coloristiccontext up to the looser up to the looser brushstrokes on the right side of the painting, while the textiles merge with the sky and the colors are trans-formed, transmuted into light.

The painting of Daniel Carranza, which mixes disparate, diachronic culturalelements into a configuration of a new fantastic reality, is the crux of his surrealist work. And his landscapes, used as backgrounds or centered as the principal focus of his art, are veritable declarations of love to nature.

Member of the International Association of Art Critics