David Lach’s marginal avant-garde
Text by Mar Gámiz
Photographs by Jamex
“—And, just like Asimov, do you believe in the kindness that science can bring to man?
—Of course, it’s the foundation. The atom, electrons. The predator, atomic bombs, those are the evil. If we spent more time on love among human beings, in solving inner conflicts, and spend more time conquering the universe, wars would end. Instead of using money to make bombs and nuclear weapons, we could use it to create a technology that would allow us to explore other worlds.”
Interview by Juan Carlos Aguilar to David Lach, October 8, 2006.
Retired in his workshop in the State of Mexico, together with few but malleable materials, David Lach lives conversing with other universes through science fiction, inorganic chemistry and fiberglass paint, a technique he invented in the seventies and perfected for more than 30 years.
Through a trajectory where he has mixed science and art, Lach has pursued innovation at a material level, which is why his art is also known as “material paint.” This innovation is registered in the history of plastic, architecture and humanity: after WWII, unexplored materials were introduced in fine arts and, with the invention of fiberglass paint, Lach integrated architecture and stained glass windows with pictorial forms and murals:
“First off, I worked with conventional paint materials but I felt they were inadequate to express my view of the current world. I then began making stained glass windows, and soon realized that the techniques used nowadays have not changed since medieval times and that the modern industry has not contributed much technologically speaking, which is when I began my plastic material experiments in 1971 […]. I felt like an alchemist when I realized that through chemical reactions I could get very different quantities and qualities than those I got from using glass exclusively.”
It is obvious that Lach spoke before the technological revolution that took place from the nineties to now, since the latter made art opt for the possibilities of digital creation and not so much for those that gave material experimentation. Despite the isolation caused by his creative decision, Lach kept up to date with the technological development focused on exploring other worlds, other planets.
It is in said exploration that Lach considered collective catharsis to be produced, sparked by the vision of sidereal landscapes and reflections on the evolution of humanity. It is no wonder then, that among his favorite writers Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne stand out.
And he states: “I invented landscapes of worlds that suggest different planets,” “the material gave me amazing landscapes,” as he is amazed (because, what would we be without that amazement?) at how small we are.
In his search, he has been able to capture transparency (acrylic attracts light), explore the expansive and contractive movements of the molecule and has asked himself about the profoundness of being. It has not only been a conceptual search: his body also reflects it because the gases that the materials release when coagulation occurs have damaged his lungs.
Among resins and two tables that are the most faithful witnesses of his artistic process, David Lach recalls his multiple exhibitions and interventions, that go from a few city subway stations and the Convention Center in Acapulco, to receiving the Gold Feather awarded by the government of ex-Yugoslavia, and two great homages to Isaac Asimov, one at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library and the other supported by the Casa Universitaria del Libro.
With his gaze divided between Earth and the cosmos, although he is satisfied with the results he has obtained, he hopes his path will be travelled by other people that “will also explore those materials to find new horizons in them.”