Santiago Ydáñez:Life in the woods
Aug 29 - Oct 10, 2019

Press Release

On August 29th, 2019, the second solo exhibition of the famous Spanish artist Santiago Ydáñez in China - “Life in the Woods" will be grandly opened in the WhiteBox Art Center. As the organizer, the WhiteBox Art Center has the honour to have him in Beijing to create. Dr Susana Sanz holds the post of curator again after“Santiago Ydáñez: Painting as Archaeology ” in 2017. This exhibition will present more than 20 works created by the artist Santiago Ydáñez in the White Box Studio in 2019.

Curator Susana Sanz defines Santiago Ydáñez as an infatuated  "hunter" who has a deep love for nature. He can capture the sound of birds that others can't detect, and perceive wild animal footprints. The painter's wonderful abilities for the art of painting give these creatures a new life. The second individual exhibition of Santiago Ydáñez in China starts with a painting depicting a sublime winter scenery. At this moment, he chooses to "back to nature", which reminds us through the works that human beings are nothing but a drop in the bucket under the power of nature. Santiago Ydáñez gives nature and animal's huge head the same dignity and importance as the human portrait. He chooses to move away from the anthropocentrism of the Greek-Roman civilization in the "Western culture" that has spread to all corners of the world in the unstoppable phenomenon of globalization.

The naturalist Henry David Thoreau once lived 792 days in a wooden house by Walden Lake during the wintertime. With this crucial decision, he was eager to get the most basic experience in the forest and grasp the essence of life deeply, so as not to waste the rest of his life. Driven by a similar sense of respect for nature and pursuit of harmony, the nature under Santiago Ydáñez’s brushstroke has the beauty at its best, but it's also dangerous and even fatal. Like in Thoreau's book Walden or Life in the Forest, his paintings convey a call for contemporary people to realize and change the destructive relationship between human beings and nature. The exhibition “Life in the Forest”, that will last until October 10th, remains us the ecological environment challenges are the most significant and hardest that humanity will face in the next few years.

Curator Article

Santiago Ydáñez — Life in the Woods

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.

Henry David Thoureau 

Walden or Life in the Woods 

Some footprints go into Sierra Morena. Suddenly, something stops that walk. An almost imperceptible animal sound. The bellowing of the deer has begun. Santiago Ydáñez, undoubtedly one of the most brilliant Spanish painters of his generation, has the soul of a "hunter". He looks for the sounds of birds and the traces, for others imperceptible, of the elusive animals that come to life under his agile brush. That tracker who gets lost in the woods is the same one that is fascinated by the artifice of Germanic culture, the baroque antiques of the flea markets and the recipes of Leonardo Da Vinci that he tastes in the most popular taverns in Rome.

But Santiago Ydáñez always returns to nature, to the forests. A great winter landscape painting welcomes us to his second solo exhibition in China. And it reminds us that man is nothing more than a footprint in that snowy, sublime and powerful nature, which is capable of delighting and destroying us. The masters of the Chinese landscape painting seem to understand much earlier than the German romantics that man is just one more part of nature, a microscopic figure between the nebulous peaks and the zigzagging paths. Ydáñez gives landscape painting and monumental animal heads the same dignity and importance as human portraits, thus moving away from the anthropocentrism of Greco-Latin origin of the "western culture" that the unstoppable globalizing phenomena has exported to every corner of the world.

Henry David Thoureau spent two years, two months and two days in a hut on the shores of Walden Pond, where he lived with the winter animals. Ydáñez's paintings are born of that same feeling of respect and balance for nature portrayed here with idealized beauty, but also dangerous and deadly. Same as the Walden, Ydáñez's paintings, generate a call for attention to the most urgent demand for a change in the vital paradigm of contemporary man: his destructive relationship with nature. The greatest challenge, the ecological one, is what  humanity needs to face in the upcoming years.

Curator : Susana Sanz


    Santiago Ydáñez

Installation View


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