'Detroit', Maíllo

Artist: Maíllo
Dates: November 14th 013 till January 10th 2014


Art is a personal action that may serve as an example.
It never has and exemplary value, though.
Isidoro Valcárcel Medina

Let it all burn!! Let it all burn!!

Maybe, the most shocking images coming this year from Detroit, an automobile empire turned into ashes after its bankruptcy, are those from Michigan Railway Station, an empty, forgotten and abandoned colossal neoclassical building. The days on which crowded trains arrived and departed from the station and its galleries were full of shops and restaurants are long gone. Today all what is left is a skeleton made of concrete in the middle of nowhere, remains of better times. The citizens of Detroit also remain. These have seen their town be turned into empty streets, boarded houses and youngsters dealing with junk and scrap. And they now have to live with it all.

But there is no need to go to Detroit to talk about these involutions, about failed models and citizens with no future alternatives. I like it when Maillo tells me that Detroit could be Baltimore – with all the imagery that The Wire offers – but also Getafe, his home town. That is why Maillo approaches from his painting a reality that keeps him awake at night and worries and enrages him. From this partial vision that characterises those who want to show their contempt through painting, Maillo brings us on this occasion a solid and mature work, sincere with his concerns and, as always, filled with references that work as anchors to tie us up to his message.
I would say that his work functions as a big conceptual map pinned to the wall, where all ideas mingle, get contaminated, re-inhabit spaces and provide encounters and resistances. There are also some names, such as David Simon, Bruce Nauman, Robin Rhode or Nicolas Burriaud, and amongst the copulative concepts that let us connect ideas, we find relational art, periphery, post-industrial landscapes, resilience, re-appropriation, counter power and revolution, and also others that are continuously being born, because Maillo never gives up. He is restless in his search for answers, which he finds in big canvases covered with enraged movements.

Maíllo wanders around this map in shock. He wants to know what point he is at and what lighthouse he is moving towards. That is what he has done on his canvases, put them on the floor and walk over them, step on them, scratch them until getting right to their core. No brush traces can be noticed, cause this time the movement seems more instinctive and crude; there is also some texture and matter, since the studio, his experimental lab, is also part of the work. Where one see crisis, another sees an opportunity, this pairing game is shown on the canvases, which have been faced as the positive and negative of a same medium. Maillo explains the painting process, within the very same painting, that is why we see flaws, blots and cross-outs that he did not want to eliminate. This way, they work as a reminder of what has to be re-done. All this kaosmos, this dynamic welding, is reinforced by his usual use of words and phrases as well as a colour palette more limited than in previous occasions, what strengthens the integrity and coherence that this painter has shown for his ideals and his painting, which, at the end, come together as just one being.

Jone Alaitz Uriarte
November 2013