portraits of Armando Cairo in Zienagoog
Excellent portraits of excellencies are the characteristic part of the
work of Amsterdam painter/graphic Armando Cairo shows in De Zienagoog.
The portraits of the Dutch minister J. van Kemenade, and secretaries
of state G.H. Veringa and G. Klein of the Ministry of Education and
Science from the former cabinet, show Cairo at his best.
His portraits are - and so it should with a good portrait - more than
a recognizable portrayal of the person. From the portrait one can read
the subjects character and slowly the portrait exceeds the photograph.
These portraits, an assignment in the tradition of the ministry, are
not always flattering. Secretary of State Ger Klein is portrayed as
a, pretty skimpy looking man and his superior Van Kemenade appears to
carry the burden if the whole ministry on his shoulders, almost succumbing
by the load.
It's the vision of the artist, although practice learns, that such a
quality often is more obvious to the audience than the painter was aware
of himself. The portrait takes an important place in the work of Cairo.
And the drawings, with their strict lines even stronger than his brush-strokes,
that due to their refinement sometimes appear a bit unnatural.
The development of the work of the 26-year old painter is apparent:
from the first lithographs he made during his study at the Rietveld-academy,
that show a surrealistic impact, to his recent work that is much more
natural. In his development he stayed loyal to the lithograph and the
pinnacle of the exhibition is a lithograph of a blind accordionist that
shows a touching beauty. The same situation of this man, against the
background of decaying brick-work, is also the subject of one of his
most recent paintings. Here the urge for naturalism is apparent. The
strong attention to technique, in earlier work leaning towards mannerism,
has stayed, but now the subject gets more attention.
A logical development, because - due to experience - the technique becomes
a matter of course and by this takes less awareness of the artist. Armando
Cairo also exhibits a series of etchings, but with these he does not
reach the level of his lithographs, drawings and paintings.
Sculptor Jef Wishaupt is his companion at this exhibition. The bronzes
of this Limburg artist, whom is also gold- and silversmith, with their
round shapes and polished surfaces create a solemn atmosphere. One can
admire them for their control and subdued character (very rare for polished
bronzes), but next to the lively world of Armando Cairo they are somewhat
moved to the background, despite their elegant form. Nevertheless they
deserve the attention of the audience.
Jan de Carpentier