«How can social, political, economic, and ecological processes be convincingly transferred to autonomous and valid pictorial forms?» Adán Vallecillo’s artistic pursuit could be aptly worded in this or a similar manner, since the artist has been highly successful in conveying our contemporary civilizational environment into the most diverse aesthetic forms.
The inquisitive scientist
To do so requires true love for scientific experimentation, a good deal of unquenched curiosity—and, in addition, the ability to make critical and differentiated assessments and reach a balanced opinion. This in turn presupposes an intellectual and humanistic view of the world, a pragmatic attitude that is at the same time permeated by scientific, philosophical, and artistic thought. To artists endowed with these features nowadays, it fortunately doesn’t matter whether they have their sphere of activity in Tegucigalpa, Honduras or in New York, U.S.A. What is crucial is that they develop their «own» vision and find a viable path with sufficient promise of adventure and thrill of discovery.
Adán Vallecillo explores his subjects very thoroughly, in a near scientific manner. With in-depth and condensed appropriation of his current issues, he carefully carves out the elements that are important for his artistic process and then aesthetically synthesizes them in his works of art. From the very beginning of his artistic career, Adán operated on the premise of clearly formulated concepts, with a case in point being his work «Asepsiófono» from the year 2005. Today, this sharp-witted, biting, and ironic metaphor for our information and communication society in its aseptic state and utterly devoid of meaning comes across as an anticipated comment on «social distancing».
The transforming alchemist
Adán Vallecillo literally turned shit into art by upcycling human excrement into painting, as he did in 2013 for the Curitiba Biennial in Brazil. He exemplarily visualized human-produced refuse by aestheticizing its deposits to such an extent that its actual origin could no longer be traced. A similarly subtle aesthetic transformation takes effect in his works for which he morphed used, heavily polluted industrial filters into perfectly formed objects of a beautiful grace that seem entirely committed to the aesthetics of geometric modernism.
In recent years, Adán Vallecillo has increasingly turned to field work, exploring fascinating cultural and socio-economic aspects of our globalized culture. In his «Earthworks» of 2015, he investigated aspects of geophagy as found in Haiti, among other places. He advanced into a new dimension of land art by transposing the customary Haitian «bonbons terres» into the world of art. Soil is eaten there not only for lack of other food, but also out of folk medical beliefs: Medicinal clay as an antiparasitic everyday snack!
With Adán Vallecillo, perception and seeing with understanding turn into active engagements, both for the artist himself and for the viewer of his works. The artist does not shy away from raising nasty issues of our civilization; however, he aestheticizes them with the means of art, thus relocating them to the realm of the supposedly beautiful. As viewers, we find ourselves forced to cross the boundaries of what is familiar to us and to reclaim with our senses and intellect land that has not been staked out yet. Adán Vallecillo tries to deepen our insight and grasp of current civilizational processes, and he helps us with his aesthetic offer of art to perhaps understand ourselves and our environment a little better: A generous offer, at any rate, that proves philosophy and art to be capable of contributing to the development of our society.