Lawyer by formation, who has lived art - his passion - since childhood, Alan Jorge de Rosenzweig (Mexico City, 1963), whose artistic name is Peñalta, spent many years of his life without exhibitions, walkways or reflectors, submerged in a search without anxieties or hurrys. One day, however, sitting in the public bathroom of a shopping center in Cancun, he realized that a face was trapped in the ceiling. Then, he took out a piece of graphite that always accompanies him, to release it. He jointed some lines in the stone with other lines, in a process of reconstruction of the construction, so that this face appeared. It was his first encounter with a technique that consists of painting on a stone, whether it´s marble, onyx or quartzite; that is, intervene and populate it with faces, whether human or animal, which he helps to escape from its environment, says Peñalta, who exhibits "Piedra adentro" (stone inside), a sample of 26 pieces, at the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Prehispanic Art in Mexico, in Oaxaca.
Over time, the interviewee learned that it was a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia, which consists of seeing faces and shapes where there are none. Leonardo da Vinci was already talking about that.
Naively I thought it was a dialogue with the stone until I realized that it was a monologue with myself through it. Now I subordinate the concept to the object and its conditions.
For Peñalta, life is, after all, a large cut stone plate - not a blank sheet - in which its entrails are seen, that is, veins. We have two possibilities: self-compassion for that vein that crosses, dislocates and destroys a face that we had wanted to paint and draw, or accept it and start working from the veins of the stone that touched each one of us.
Like a trip in time
Working the stone has meant a return to the most elementary in this world, which is already full of realities that often are not. That is, virtual realities and technological and scientific advances that later cause us to forget who we really are. He considers his stones "a kind of magic carpet that travels through time. It comes from millions of years ago, it comes to this time when I climb and try to capture what we are as a human race, before it continues its journey. We are finally a nanosecond in the life of the stone, if not less. However, we are not always aware of this and then we are not interested, for example, climate changes; We think we are more than that.
Peñalta - a name that emerged two decades ago, when he isolated himself to reflect on whether it was worth living - works in the following way: First, I go to the place where I buy the big plaques, which go from half a ton to 700 kilograms; I ask for cuts that I take them to my workshop. There comes the most delicious process: observe who inhabits the plaque and is asking to be released. It is a slow, careful process, in which all angles are seen. Once identified where these beings may be, first I kill the brightness, because each stone is like a person: it has shines in some parts and some are not removed with anything. The different parts of the stone react differently to the application of the paint. Some absorb it and you do not remove it with anything, while in others you pass the brush and you can erase it later. From there I start basting one grain with another in order to free these faces.
Peñaltas paintings, two centimeters thick, and an average of 75 centimeters by 45, obviously do not hang on the wall due to their weight. For the exhibition at the Museum of Prehispanic Art of Mexico he ordered to make some iron structures, with a very fixed base, that support them perfectly. He says that in the enclosure created by Rufino Tamayo his pieces sit in their habitat. Fernando Gálvez, curator of the exhibition, explains that it is part of a set of exhibitions whose purpose is to complement permanent collections with current art. After its exhibition, on August 12, in Oaxaca, Piedra adentro will travel to Mexico City for its opening, on August 24, at the Library of Mexico. We will add poems made expressly by Luigi Amara, Josué Ramírez and Fernando Gálvez, with the purpose of emphasizing the narrative and poetic or literary nature of many of the works. Given the character of the space, there will also be quotes from writers such as Jaime García Terrés, Roger Caillois, Leonardo da Vinci and Miguel Ángel Bounarroti, who reflect or talk about the stone.