AURORA CAÑERO: LIKE A CLAIRE DE LUNE IN THE SHADOW
"Like a claire de lune in the shadow" - Enrique Banchs
Let us start off by saying that, of all the jobs worked at by mankind, the job of sculptor is one of the most sincerely admirable. Not only because it involves creating wonders of beauty, first in the brain and then after that with the skill of the handworker, which in itself would certainly be a strong enough reason, but also because peopling the real world with new, unrepeatable forms is a never-ending task.
On entering Aurora Cañero's sculpture studio in the traditional old Madrilenian Plaza de la Morería, with its echoes of Maestro Rafael Cansinos Asséns at the foot of the Viaduct, an outsider such as I feels as if he has slipped intrusively into a private garden, a secret enclosure belonging to a host of singular, Attic personalities who are, at the same time, members of an eternal race.
There they are, apparently asleep yet in actual fact wide awake, perched on the highest rungs of their ladders, always seeking the heights offered by a pedestal to ensure that they will have a good vantage point, the high ground where they can lie in wait and from which they, who have such an overriding need to be looked at in order to exist, can, in their turn, also direct their gaze upon us in surprise.
They are men and women who refuse to tread on the ground the way the rest of us, their poor flesh and blood brothers and sisters, have to do. They aspire to being light enough to be able to walk on air, or they daringly set out to sail the restive pliability of the waters. There is something of the actor about them, playing comedy or drama in the free space of an open stage, and there is something of the pieces of an enormous chess set about them as well, immersed in a game that we intuit to be as vitally important to them as it is to us.
They hold out an invitation to the adventure of dreaming, because they feel themselves to be an important part of a wondrous world in which the magic they give off makes it possible to take an active part in their fables or even to enter into the plot of their story, putting our own dreams at risk.
Why do these doubles of ours, so meticulously crafted and cast in bronze by Aurora Cañero fascinate us so? Perhaps because in them we are able to see so many disturbing traits, to find and recognize beauty or emotion, fragments of our memories or instants that we may once have imagined as possibilities.
What light-headedness is there in that seductive encounter between our fleeting gaze and that silent piece? Have we not thought, perhaps with an ineluctable tinge of envy, that they, the sculptures, are both unchanging and immortal, while we, on the other hand, are fated to grow old and die?
We can only feel a true debt of gratitude to artists like Aurora Cañero, whose work is not limited to merely reproducing beings identical to our own selves, who refuse simply to be mirrors that reflect the mundane of the everyday, but instead set their creatures free from the familiar underpinnings of the real. They are bestowing their dreams upon us, they are trusting us with their greatest secrets, they are baring to us the labyrinthine depths of their souls. Fortunately, they are oblivious to tawdriness in a society that is already overburdened by ordinary, lacklustre commonplaces. Is that not in itself quite a lot?
If it is truly to be art, art must have the power to kindle awe within us, and that is the splendid lesson to be drawn from Aurora Cañero's sculptures, "like a claire de lune in the shadow".