From "Art as an experience of reality" exhibition catalogue

Miguel von Hafe Pérez

Miguel Leal announces right away in the first room the creative range of his third individual exhibition: two monitors show black-and-white images captured within the exhibit room, while a camera pointed to the exterior captures colour images, that can be seen In a monitor in the same room.
So this is about facing the spectator with the mediatized apprehension of reality, entrapping that apprehension with the very fact of distinguishing the projected black-and-White from the colour images; in fact the colour images are linked to a more tangible reality than the black-and-white images of the gallery, an "artistic" space, functionally more controversial, restrict and also hypothetically inapprehensible. The difficulty the common sense found in justifying the need of art, if not anchored in its worst and most fearful supposed qualities, the decorative aspect, pushed the artist to fields out of the pure aestheticism, with the intent of alerting the spectator to the way he stands when facing the wider imagery system he is framed into every day. The documentary, informative, advertising, artistic or virtual images blend in an amalgam of dissimilar intentions, where, sometimes the author's capacity to manipulate surpasses largely the critical capacity of the potential receivers.

Alerted to this fact (or, in a more pessimistic, but maybe more realistic perspective, angry because this is not what he expected of a "art exhibition"), the spectator moves to the remaining rooms and is confronted with photographic objects where the dichotomy colour/black-and-white is equally and intentionally used: some reproduce hands of important artists in the definition of the creative course of our century (in black-and-white and taken from books or magazines), others, hands of anonymous models (in colour). Once again the artistic sphere is characterized by the lack of colour, an effect that separates from reality, to which is added an unconcealed grain, a clear indication of an photographic appropriation. But do these images contain a potential of veracity smaller than the colour images that are juxtaposed to them? No, because Miguel Leal identifies them, connecting them immediately with the connotative aspect of the portrayed personalities, of their place in the history of the art and inclusively of the place that they will have in the space of the formal or intellectual references of the author in question.

Here we come upon the central point of this exhibition: the choice of the artists; by choosing Mondrian and Duchamp, Miguel Leal aims at two artists generally known as paradigms of two points of reference of modernity: the constructvist/abstract and the conceptual. Out of the set are, therefore, the surrealist, although this does not claim of the modernity, rather demands a creative trans-temporality, and above all the expressionist. Neither Van Gogh, nor Schiele (the most upsetting hands in western painting), nor Bacon, for example, were chosen.
On the other hand, the choice of Beuys, Warhol and Broodthaers suggests a definite connection with the principles that are fundamental to contemporary art, that I refrain from commenting here, seeing that this type of references aims at instilling in the spectator the curiosity of finding for himself where this present interpretation belongs, along with the interpretations of the proposed artists. A hint: beginning with the sixties and with the way art intervention intends to enlarge the scope of its into the social area, and trying to understand how, from then on, the concept frequently overlaps the artistic object itself, then the spectator will be in the right path to a better apprehension of this exhibition, carefully thought to make him more critical of the images that are, constantly, imposed upon him.

April 1995