Antonio Segura «Dulk», Protect What You Love
11 March – 21 April 2022, Tuesday to Friday
Antonio Segura Dulk connects, with aesthetic and ethical wisdom, his creation of the Municipal Falla, finally planted in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento of Valencia in 2022, and this individual exhibition in the new Tuesday to Friday space, titled Protect what you love. The artist projects on to the exhibited pieces his reflections about the conservation of Nature; his understanding of the problem in a global way and from a deep attachment to his land, he considers that the natural habitat is a treasure that should not be destroyed. Dulk contributes with his artistic work to make the unavoidable fact visible, the need to protect what you love.
Fallas are examples of art/life rooted in society; a popular festival declared since 2016 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO; in a way, they are pioneers of the most authentic urban art. Then, the playful can also include the artistic. Our exhibition is an excellent example of symbiosis: ephemeral falla in the street, painting and sculpture, with works exhibited in the magnificent space of the gallery, this is real, contemporary art.
Antonio Segura knows the importance of words and knows how to materialize them with his hands. It is not easy work. On the other hand, for our enjoyment, it is necessary to dedicate some time to the sculpture Protect what you love and scrutinize the scenes that reveal clues about his love for protected species and environmental commitment. Dulk models as he draws, with sharp line and focused contour; sculpture is complex, spatial by definition, which makes it easier to take pleasure in the treatment of detail, textures and colors. Its base reproduces the broken sea ice, and is also a target, the sign that implies danger in the artist’s personal codes. This is the stage on which the actors and scenery are arranged. Moving around allows us to travel through different ecosystems: the African savannah, the Arctic Ocean or the great Australian plains, where koalas are threatened by fires and advancing desertification. There’s no life without water. Dulk represents threats and their consequences with his figures. For example, poachers have destroyed the northern white rhinoceros solely for the speculative value of its horn, used in traditional Chinese medicine. Hence the visual metaphor of the antlers transformed into cacti and thorny branches, untouchable by humans, as if the animals had developed fantastic defense mechanisms against their most ruthless predator. A book reminds us of the absence of hundreds of extinct species. The small monument stands on a depleted iceberg. Its melting is accelerating due to global warming and the breakdown of the climatic balance. The consequence is represented by the figure of a huge polar bear that is dissolving, burning as if it were a candle, a great trope. Dulk marks his demise as soon as the flame finishes consuming the candle above his head. The central body amalgamates various symbolic elements: an hourglass that indicates the remaining time; the fish turned into cans by the intensive exploitation of the seas; the tortoise, whose shell protects the Tree of Life. Again heads and tails, in the back of the piece, the trees metamorphose into pipes and cranes, the fauna mutates with mechanical forms and adapts to the nightmare built by human beings.
Dulk paints as he dreams, with delicate pairs of cold and warm colors: cadmium yellows, oranges, yellowish ochres, and some broken carmine, opposed to light blue, bluish green, aquamarine, and violet. The Protect What You Love painting condenses what is substantial in its two dimensions. The characters appear in a twilight world, illuminated by hope and critical awareness. The fifteen beautiful grayscale drawings articulate the entire exhibition, they are studies of emotions and expressiveness, portraits of the three main characters; the toucan Grecia, the first bird cured with a 3D printed prosthesis, made to reconstruct its broken beak due to animal abuse; the endearing polar bear melting and our beloved hooded, enigmatic little character, who guides and points out the very meaning of Nature: if we lose all knowledge about it, we also lose knowledge of humanity. The message, although repeated but no less urgent, must be corrected, changing our habits of life and consumption, to save the Earth.