Daniel Senise

Daniel Senise

Marco Veloso


Published in the catalog of the artist’s exhibition at the Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1999 

“Being an artist now means to question the nature of art. If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art. If an artist accepts painting (or sculpture) he is accepting the tradition that goes with it. That’s because the word art is general and the word painting is specific. Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting, not questioning the nature of art. One is then accepting the nature of art to be the European tradition of a painting-sculpture dichotomy.” Joseph Kosuth

Daniel Senise’s work shows us that as painting questions its own nature it is also questioning the very nature of art. Senise teaches us that the opposite assumption – that questioning the nature of painting obstructs questioning the nature of art – must be discarded. His paintings have become, over the course of time, a unique interrogation of the definition of art and its contexts.

Daniel Senise possesses his own ideas about the meaning – the significance and the contexts of a work of art. He considers this awareness a basic principle in the formation of any artist. In this sense, Senise partakes of, as few artists I have known personally, the proposition of art as art, of art as a context for and commentary of possible contexts for art. As he affirms, an artist can be understood according to different measures: based on his personal biography, or through the filter of history, or in relation to universal references. And accordingly, the assessment of all such perspectives can function as a permanent mechanism for self-criticism.

In such, although his work cannot be described merely in terms of formal permutations, they offer us a closer approximation to the artist’s mystery. I propose a brief observation of his paintings aiming at the following aspects: first the pictorial background; then the emergence of figures; the material constitution of each image (an analysis very well-initiated by the British art historian Dawn Ades), and finally considering the types of anti-gravitational forces present and/or visible in the works. Though these forces are more explicitly present in his recent paintings, they can also be found in some of his earlier pieces. In the paintings he is showing in Buenos Aires, these forces of separation take over the entire wall, and for the first time make themselves visible as such, through a visual universe of suspended images.

Although Daniel Senise can communicate within the realm of cosmopolitan culture, he goes way beyond it. In works that precede this exhibition, the painter concentrated on the concept of landscape, as understood in its more general sense, according to the definition attributed to it since the romantic period. The figure, in the past simply isolated, was related more actively to the sublime-emptiness, creating the landscape without necessarily depending on naturalistic illusion. In the more recent paintings, with the development of the apparent anti-gravitational forces, the same process occurs, which is the deepening of a creative sensibility in respect to the nature of art and its expressions.