Iván Tovar Forever Unique

April 18, 2023
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Iván tovar conquered Paris. When he returned to Santo Domingo he was, at the highest level of French and European artistic circles, a personality, with an impressive bibliography that continued to expand after his return. This recognition is more valuable in surrealist creation, which requires developing a new discourse and maintaining its purity.

When Tovar was only 26 years old, the top specialist in surrealism, José Pierre, published a text very extensive and passionate (we reproduced very brief extracts). This ponderation for the very young painter, had a premonitory character: it already announced our only artist valued and truly recognized on an international level.

In his works, Iván Tovar reinvented the world, it disturbed it. Transformed it. In a sense, he conserved the still life, the landscape and even portrait, pillars of the old academy, but he changed completely its identity, in his own way, how he felt it, how he dreamt it, how he explored it. Objects and subjects, themes and anathemas, unknown, disturbing, hypnotic, brought us to the aesthetic climax, during more than half a century, the pleasure of the unknown, reaching the fourth dimension that André Breton required. A permanent, almost insolent relish!

The Tovarian seduction 

La seducción “tovariana” conjugates a beautiful smooth matter, dreamlike, with supernatural colors in tonal subtlety and light saturation, dotted at the same time of a fickle lightness and a unique density in Dominican art. At the same time, lines and contours that exalt the rigor of design and the purity of a drawing that the painter placed as supreme value.

The initial stage of the fovere long painterly process of Iván Tovar was esencial, and he expressed: the painting is stopped in its morphology and organic principles. The artist meditatites his oneirism on the canvas, he sketches the elements, paints the successive layers of paint, quick sometimes, others… leaving the canvas rest for weeks. Unconcluded paintings are masterpieces. The window, the flame, the sphere, the horns-basic surrealist accessory-, the wall, the spiral, the curves, the rectangle, the hypersensitive geometry, the carnal estructures, translate the sensual esplendor of his visual metaphors. Weren´t Those incomparable dreamlike “machines”, to which they attributed an unknown pictorial sadism, rather the sublimated expression of a kind of masochism, unstoppable for a fragile health? An itinerary. His life was an itinerary: without mentioning other trips, San Francisco de Marcorís-the natal lar- Santo Domingo, Paris, Santo Domingo, Jarabacoa, Paris, Santo Domingo, Santiago de Compostela, Santo Domingo-the fatal month-. Years, days, stages… the last stay in Paris turned out to be very brief, the Paris that Ivan loved no longer existed and soon he came back.

With that unmistakable laugh that crackled like bubbles sprouting in the still water, Iván Tovar used to say “painting is a nice way of complicating one’s life”. This proposal sounded very simple when heard, fascinated in front of his painting, but then, after Iván´s passing, we starting to rethink what it meant, and the reflection becomes inextricable and obsessive…Iván Tovar was not only “The Painter”, he was also a sculptor, draftsman, engraver -let's remember Tovar’s alphabet- and a poet, the words fluttering like brush strokes. More than uncontrollable and virtuous in all categories, he was a genius: for Iván Tovar, the qualification does apply.

We do not want to say more. With Iván Tovar, owner of an incredible international bibliography –french above all–, there is always the risk of thinking improperly, of repeating, of subtracting more than adding. Rest in peace, Ivan. Many of us are hurt by your departure, and we share the anguish of your close ones, Maria, Danielle, little Ivanna.

… Allow us to reproduce two very short excerpts by French essayists and writers, the first by José Pierre - a painful death for Iván in 1999 - the second by Jean-Michel Goutier, the last published and dating from the year 2000

By Jose Pierre. The snake, the eagle and the tattoo.

“For those who consent to looking at Iván Tovar's canvases, this evidence is essential: they are to such a singular point and from one to another full of the same tension, that, from now on, they will be recognized among a hundred other of the most diverse painters . Of a painter of this age, and today, when artists do not like anything more than to walk in the footsteps of others, here is what belies this propensity to personality, denounced with great shouts by the spokesmen of planetary banality. Precise and cold, the light that bathes these fabrics seems to emanate from the beings that unfold in front of the black curtain: no escape from the terrestrial landscapes is allowed, no fun”. 

“Above all, as is the case for Iván Tovar's painting, its novelty is not due to the mere fact of his birth, but to a new contribution to the knowledge of man and his dreams, to the contribution of a new diamond where it can be refracted differently the light of desire ”. Paris, January 20, 1969

By Jean-Michel Goutier. Iván Tovar. 

"Far beyond the appropriation of the object, which has the effect of extending the painter's approach to the three-dimensional spectrum, I would say that in this discipline Tovar appears before my eyes, now under the aspect of the great swordsman, now, depending on the material used, under the aspect of a builder who hurries in raising a totem as soon as he feels the need to wing his claws ”. “Man proposes and disposes. To belong entirely to each other, that is, to maintain the fringe each in an anarchic state. scariest day of his wishes, it is up to him. I am convinced that Tovar will not contradict me if I finish the analysis of his work with this ‘Breath of oxygen’ by André Breton, which has the merit of leaving the Castillo open bets for tomorrow ”.

Paris, December 17, 2000.