CALYPSO: Alejandro Cardenas @ Almine Rech, Paris
‘CALYPSO’ is the title that Alejandro Cardenas gives to his third solo exhibition with Almine Rech, and second one in Paris, following ‘PARADOXA.’ This time, Cardenas responds with paintings and sculptures to Homer’s Odyssey, and more specifically to the years Odysseus spent with the nymph Calypso in Ogygia. Before turning to the reach of Cardenas’ interpretation of that part of the poem, it should be noted that he has divided the exhibition into three parts. The main space focuses on Odysseus’s years in Ogygia. One room attached to it deals with the suitors of Penelope, while another offers meditations on the questions that the exhibition raises. Cardenas’ latest body of works constitutes a rather unusual moment in contemporary painting and sculpture insofar as it presents the reflections of an artist who quite literally engaged with a classical textual source, in an age where the tendency bends towards oblique presentations of traces of ideas, as Jean-Luc Nancy has shown in Les Muses. One can find in the very verses of Homer’s Odyssey the matrix of the paintings and sculptures from ‘CALYPSO.’ The works are nonetheless not mere visual ekphrases confined to the Odyssey. Cardenas weaves together webs of meaning across time. He intertwines Homer’s poem with Ancient Greek sculptures, as well as references from different periods and regions, whose significations thereby find themselves deepened or altered.
— Théo de Luca, Author, Yale University