Voices rightly denounce fatphobia, ostracism aimed at very fat people, especially women, of course. The Colombian painter-sculptor Fernando Botero, who died last week at the age of 91, while celebrating after Auguste Renoir, the circles of the earth, still avenged them a little. Under his hand, the busty forms of the heavyweight muses, in flight with lightness, began to twirl, defying the law of gravity. He played with the brush and the chisel in the intoxication of volumes. In his eyes, El Greco’s emaciated models could put their clothes back on. Her Mona Lisa sported jowls, her dancers, plump calves that would scare away Edgar Degas and his easel. Inspired greatly by Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and by pre-Columbian works, his monumental approach stuck to the Spanish-speaking and indigenous roots of Latin America. He will have wrapped himself in them to watch them flourish everywhere.
Did I discover any of his works in Paris, at La Nouvelle-
Orléans, in New York or in his major retrospective in Quebec at the National Museum of Fine Arts in 2007? They all waltz together in my memory with their opulence and their lasciviousness. “I’m not fat. No sir ! Just wrapped! » protested Obelix. THE
Botero’s creatures seem to speak the same way.
Some criticized him for the absence of mood in his faces, his detachment, steeped in humor, when carving out curves worthy of sated Buddhas and Callipyge Venuses. A repetitive process of an artist, it is true, and an artist who did not disdain commercial success. His excessive bodies have colonized the entire earth. Pop with their recognizable silhouettes, precious artistic buoys of familiarity.
So famous that they appear on lots of fridge magnets. We sometimes think we see them come to life through people we meet in the street or observed on the screen. When Geneviève Schmidt, a vibrant actress adored by the public, won a second acting prize at the Gémeaux on Sunday evening, I thought I saw a Botero of movements and emotions undulating on the stage.
Moment of poetry of the gala beyond the irritation of these non-gendered categories in excess of zeal. The process ultimately reduces the number of award-winning actors and actresses, whether curvy, skinny, hairless or hairy. Might as well open doors without shooting yourself in the foot.
Botero’s works scattered throughout the world’s great museums, sculpture gardens and parks continue to perpetuate his memory. More than 3000 paintings and 300 sculptures; figures as round as its models. We promise to greet the shadow of the master in the temples of art and in public squares during our travels. Its wounded or languid masses of flesh catch so many eyes in the four corners of the world. Also closer to us, on a private lawn at 76 Maplewood Avenue in Outremont. Passers-by admire its bronze from the street Voluptuous Man on a Horse landed there after wanderings in New York and Montreal. Long life to him!
All women, but also horses and donkeys, oranges and pears blown apparently with helium, plump families who come to fill the space by packing in the decor. Also in bulls. An artist does not dream of being a bullfighter for long without retaining a weakness for bullfights with their theatrical rituals of power and blood.
Moreover, his birthplace in Medellín rhymed more often than not with violence and drug cartels. Enough to contrast her full forms, a triumphant sensuality. Without forgetting the political torments of his country or elsewhere. He who considered Guernica by Picasso as the flagship painting of the 20the century had denounced in its wake the horrors of humans capable of the worst. He recreated on his canvases the American tortures in the Abu Ghraib prison, howls of silent revolt suddenly echoed. During a deadly attack in Medellín on San Antonio Square in 1995, his bronze The bird had been damaged by a bomb. He donated a new sculpture to the city, The bird of peace, placed near his first crippled bird. In 1974 in Spain, his four-year-old son lost his life in a road accident where he himself was seriously injured. Death lurked in his wake like a vulture. The Colombian artist kept the imprint on his shoulder throughout his wanderings around the world, between Medellín, Bogotá, New York, Paris, Tuscany, Madrid, Mexico and Monaco. Before finally flying away for good last Friday. Leaving us to share his songs of freedom.