There is something inescapably strange about contemplating your own reflection. It necessitates the mental operation of flipping things from left to right and vice versa. This maneuver, which according to some psychoanalysts we learn to perform before the age of two, is a latent reminder that reality is woven by weak knots. Just pull a strand for the normal to reveal a hidden secret. What is taken for granted is only what would be unbearable to examine in detail: if suddenly the grimace in the mirror doesn’t match the voluntary gesture or the glass of water slips from the hand in the dark of the bureau, the cold sweat comes, an inescapable imminence.
In Andrea Villalón’s paintings we often witness these irreversible moments in which the alien awaits us at every turn of the corner: when the scissors are about to cut a lock of hair, in the frozen lightning glimpsed through a window, or in the free, albeit slow, fall of a glass of wine. In other scenes we see the putrefaction of fruits, the burning of a candle or the fragility of an egg shell as warnings that time passes; however, in the equanimous faces of the people represented, the mundanity of these events is encrypted. It seems that the serenity of their gaze is an accomplice of the subversion of what we consider normal. The apparent repetitions of our daily actions are manifested as unique events in this contrast of traditional scenes with sinister signs. The bathroom of a house conceals a personal universe inside the bathwater, the cats have an unrepeatable personality and under the bed lie a pair of familiar and watchful eyes.
Whoever contemplates these paintings must wonder about the moments when a stitch of whatever it is that lurks becomes visible. It may seem that threats are always other entities, or extraordinary events, but this is not the case. Nothing puzzles more than the sudden remoteness of the known. Like the feeling upon waking that something about us has changed during our sleep, which fades as the day progresses; or when viewing a painting for the first time, the overwhelming certainty of having had that same experience before, which someone else knew how to portray using a precise combination of colors.
Nayeli García Sánchez