Santiago Estellano’s work refers to various topics through different techniques, based on photography and merging with his knowledge on digital animation.
In his series Estudio en Rojo (2013), he uses five pictures to refer, in his own words, to fractal structures moving to infinity, creating bonds and outcomes that join and cross roads. From this perspective, and using the terms coined by French mathematician B. Mandelbrot in 1975 from the latin fractus─ it refers to broken and fractured paths in the search for infinity.
However, these fractal structures, taken from nature, with big and small thorns and also referring to barb wire, represent more than a similarity between each of the pictures, such as a similarity in aspect and statistical distribution that the fractal element assigns to them. These pictures serve as magnifying glasses that increase or decrease the same object, by moving closer or moving away, they allow us to see that the complexity of the weave is really repeated. And this quasi-mathematical argument shows unintelligibility and a complexity commonly attributed to pure sciences, but that are present in our psychological nature.
This approach – not recommended for enemies of logic – ends up disappearing through the stepping stone created by Estellano in his concepts and pictures. The meandering and complex roads refer to human essence, to the essence of life and to the essence of human spirit. Life’s voyage, often full of problems and meandering roads that lead to unknown paths and destinies, is captured and sealed – without tricks – in nature’s daily existence.
The different interpretations of his imaginary are highlighted by the red color and its symbolism – of love, passion, power, wish, vitality, ambition, self-trust, courage, optimism, but also anger, irritability, impatience, non-conformity, violence and war – already used by Cupid or The Devil cleverly summarizing the ambivalence of human nature.
Far from repetitive, the universality discovered in his images uncovers inavertedly higher concepts that human beings usually try to unknowingly ignore or simply endure. Tortuosity, difficulty, temperament, sharpness, roughness, pain and the unknown are present in these sanguine reds of spirit and existence to remind us that our human essence, capable of overcoming suffering, can redeem, find and rejoice itself until it overcomes any obstacle in this never ending path to finally recognize the importance of the journey in detriment of destiny.
Based on this apparent repetition, Santiago Estellano masterfully suggests us, introduces us into and even makes us think about a simple, plain and complex life, open and devoid of taboos, forcing us to experience the eternal dichotomy of stress between good and bad, the sacred and the profane, the known and the unknown. These dichotomies are mixed up, intertwined and unjustified as if the road were the only thing that existed for us and destiny was nothing but a wish, an unachievable dream shown by our nature to make us walk and wander before vanishes from the land (not Earth). And the only possible destiny seems to be this infinity to which, death itself, bloody and violent refers as redemption and spiritual resurrection on another plane, no longer existential, but spiritual.
Estudio en Rojo by Estellano paradoxically strips ─with an intricate simplicity─ the finite, mortal, confusing and entangled essence of each and all of us.
Hugo Martínez Rapari, January 2014