Characteristic of many of Giacomo Santiago Rogado’s pictures are shapes noticeable for the perfection of their lines or for their softly flowing colored structures, be they with fuzzily blurred edges or with sharp outlines. These are expanses of paint that appear to be in motion – a frozen state within a “development process”. Rogado creates the kind of situations in which such processes are triggered in a basin of water into which he has placed the canvas and, using that old, classic dyeing technique, then sprinkled salt and dye. Rogado’s pictures are the products neither of pure chance nor of pure composition. They are produced in a slow, autopoietic process in which all the artist does is to determine the starting point. There are traces of a practical approach to the material of paint. And these are provocative in their naivety. In his most recent works Rogado contrasts these free shapes with spear-like, clearly defined, hard surfaces. Working at several levels at once, he creates an idiosyncratic kind of spatiality. These shapes, often sharply delineated and in many cases rectangular and act as a kind of abstract repoussoir, a foremost level behind which everything else recedes. On closer inspection you can discern painterly structures. These have occurred through a process of removal. Proceeding radially from the center, the artist uses a brush to pull off some of the expanses of paint he has applied, producing grooves. This means that a garland of rays becomes visible through the interplay of light and shadow alone, such as is the case in “Shine”. With his subtle interventions Rogado is as persuasive as a magician with his sleight of hand, particularly since his actual “signature” is never visible. Painting as a perfect screen for projection for those viewers interested in modern alchemy who will not be fobbed off by fractals or by explanations of the world using computer simulations and instead look for the quintessence or transmutation? The direct transformation of paint into painting is the artist’s declared objective.
Giacomo Santiago Rogado was born in Lucerne in 1979, studied Fine Art at the Lucerne University of Art and Design and lives and works in Berlin. In 2007 he was awarded the Swiss Federal Prize for Art, in 2009, Central Switzerland’s Manor Art Prize and in 2013 he received the City of Lucerne’s Recognition Award. The most recent occasion where Rogado’s work was exhibited was in a solo show at Helmhaus Zurich which received a great deal of attention.