Ricardo Coello – ‘The end of all certainties’

December 5, 2021


Casa del barrio Gallery
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Curated by Eliana Hidalgo
Casa del Barrio

Climate change is in the news every day. In recent decades, natural disasters, desertification, depletion of natural resources, climate change refugees and species extinction have been concerns that have been addressed in art. The earth is warming because of human activity. Climate catastrophe is a reality and an urgent problem.

For this new series, Ricardo Coello Gilbert (Guayaquil, 1980) creates a world where we see a triumphant nature, with no evidence of human, animal or plant life, perhaps a post-human earth. The gaze turns to the usually unnoticed backdrop; the landscape becomes the main character, to show with reverence the natural forces that form an imperturbable and beautiful geological system. Books such as Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, Leonardo Valencia’s El libro flotante de Caytran Dölphin, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Bill McKibben’s Eaarth, Chris Marker’s short film La Jeteé, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, and Frant Gwo’s The Wandering Earth (based on a short story by Cixin Liu), among many others, serve as references for the creation of these apocalyptic landscapes where sea levels have risen, where cities are completely flooded, or where a rarefied atmosphere is manifested by the chromatic treatment. Coello Gilbert works with the same freedom that fiction writers use in the creation of their works, to comment on the influence of our actions on a majestic, fragile and living nature, and on our own transience.

Works such as Witnesses of Wind and Witnesses of Ice show us the drawing of mountains on graphs that explain the increase of CO2 over the years and its relation to global warming. The artist includes the data with the same subtlety with which he has approached his previous work: for many, the information might go unnoticed, in a gesture that alludes to the way we choose to ignore this reality, even though it confronts us daily, and even though its most terrible consequences will confront us in the future.

Through drawing and painting, Coello Gilbert creates images that question established doctrines or truths. For several years, his practice has been driven by an immense curiosity to challenge the written word. Always surrounded by literature, scientific and religious texts, the artist maintains a tireless search around these dogmas.

– Eliana Hidalgo Vilaseca