"Paintings, Engravings", 1990, Tomás Eloy Martínez

Paintings, Engravings

There are two kinds of artists: Those who obey the command of one world in which they bury their eyes and let their feelings burn, like Van Gogh; and the ones that fly within many worlds at the same time, nurtured by the water of change and the bread of surprises, like Picasso. But both artist of change, as well as the artists of fixed things, are recognizable by their perpetual fidelity to what they are. They never betray themselves: they go from one technique to another, from water colors to engravings, from ceramics to acrylics, and the being they are is constantly hovering around the same obsessions and the same truths.  

Isabel de Laborde belongs to that race: The one of the artists that impose their mark of their most deep being to everything they do. Those who approach her engravings will discover landscapes without a beginning nor an end, where the black bastions of the leaves have the rhythm of the ancient sacred hymns, and where bullocks, foxes, and blood, run “laid on the navel of the earth, sunken within an enclosure of turquoise”, such as rendered by the Toltec songs destroyed by Hernán Cortés. 

And who among the ritual body of her oils and acrylics will wake up with the same shivers, asking: From what river of dreams have those terrible Condors come forth as the gods of war? Upon what lost threshold of reality do inhabit the moon men, rapists, stones of time and lines on the water, that Isabel de Laborde has captured with light from another planet?   

Nobody can go through with impunity the aqua forte and water inks of Isabel, and likewise, nobody will remain the same upon crossing the boundaries of her paintings: blues, earthy, purple, for whosoever has read the mystery of her signs, will feel they are as disturbing as the feathered writings of an Aztec god.   

Isabel de Laborde has woven in these Works of her, with a unique thread, the infinite breathing of a multiple world. Her realm is made up both of movement and stillness. But what is most extraordinary is that it is not only about a realm in which we can recognize with each step, her most personal voice, but also where we find the reflections of our most remote dreams, those each one of us carries unobserved. 

Tomás Eloy Martínez

Translated by Eduard D. Adamson