Antoni Socías is an artist who is always processing. He reinvents himself constantly, as Basilio Baltasar rightly explains in the text below these introductory lines. We could say that most artists are more interested in the conception and/or realisation process of their work than in the results, which are ultimately a consequence of this process. Having said this, not many of them achieve a state whereby we, as observers of the work, place the accent precisely on the path followed for the realisation of it. We could also say that this is one of the great functions of art, taken as an exercise and not merely a result for contemplation: educating the gaze, but also, and above all, the way in which we confront a piece, the way we confront life.
“My other self with some contradictions” is a project that explains the manner in which Antoni Socías works extremely well; in this case, the project is carried out with the collaboration of the Hispanic-Gambian artist Caramo Fanta. Actually, this work in collaboration is not an isolated case for Antoni Socías, it is not the first occasion, and will probably not be the last one in the Mallorcan artist’s career, that he has collaborated with other artists: remember, at the beginning of his career, how he did so withMiquel Barceló, both of them extremely young. Later, we find him with Enrique Irueste, with Pere Joan and, amongst those one can recover without too much effort, with Luis Pérez Mínguez or with his own son, Enric Socías. Stories of affinity,at the end of the day.
Caramo Fanta’s story is also one of affinity and mutual enrichment, beginning with a fortuitous encounter in Africa, where Antoni Socías had been approaching other ways of life with curiosity since the late ‘80s, many years before he met up with Caramo. Huge differences in the culture experienced, in the vital resources, but coincidentally Caramo spoke Catalan, had been born in Lleida and his family had decided to return to their place of origin just as he was beginning his adolescence. Common interests, too, in searching for new forms of expression: Caramo Fanta, insofar as he could, with a first-generation mobile phone, took photos and was remarkable for his skill at drawing, as one of his teachers from Lleida tells in the video projected in the exhibition; and he was also one of Lleida’s first graffiti artists, something the friends he left behind in the Catalan town remember perfectly.
Antoni Socías puts himself in the other’s shoes. Caramo Fanta becomes imbued with Socías, needs to learn and be able to develop with more and better resources. A form of collaboration begins that results in “My other self with some contradictions”, an exhibition whose title bears witness to the relationship that has arisen between the two artists.
Some older works by Antoni Socías,which are the testimony of the years that have passed since he set out on the path of Africa, are now taken up again with intensity in works proven not to be so far removed from those early experiences. We also find Antoni Socías in the act of presenting people or imposing his hand to demonstrate, very probably, this capacity and/or need man has to relate, to communicate with others. And amongst many other series, as this is an exhibition that denotes the capacity for work of both artists, we find Socías recovering the old photographs from Caramo Fanta’s mobile phone to position them as enormous images on roadside billboards, in a dual project, Dual Products.
“My other self…”,I want to be you, you want to be me. However, above and beyond an affinity and a rapport that by no means remains on the surface of things, we have the difference. Which is why, when I said that we find Antoni Socías especially in that dual series, it is because above and beyond their close collaboration, each of the artists has kept his place, fortunately. Because Caramo Fanta, painting faces white with gestures of colour, or multiplying his self-portrait nearly infinitely, maintains a plasticity one could say Antoni Socías renounced practically at the beginning of his career or which he has at the very least always left far in the background, to shine the spotlight on the concept and also on the exercise of realisation.
I remember now an image that Socías sent his friends years ago, and which is recovered for this exhibition: Cambio de personalidad (“Change of personality”)is contemplated as a totally unorthodox self-portrait that marked out this path of the interaction between cultures and races. Social interaction lends numerous, valuable resources to intercultural communication. Actually, on establishing communication between different cultures, the awareness that all construction of reality is subjective becomes even more necessary, as does the knowledge that there is no single reality, but many, and that the truth is not found in one or another of them, but in relativizing them.
I would not like to finish up this text without thanking the Agencia Española de Cooperación y Desarrollo (AECID – Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development) for their contribution in this catalogue, as collaboration exercises such as this one are part of their purpose. Neither would I like to forget the authors of the texts, Basilio Baltasar and Santiago Olmo, whose contributions multiply the interest of this catalogue and the comprehension of the work exhibited in it. Finally, in a very special way, I should like to thank Caramo Fanta for his enthusiasm and availability and Antoni Socías, who has contributed to this project with extraordinary eagerness, savoir-faire and personal effort.
DirectorEsBaluardMuseud’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma