Camilo Milton –
A demanding scream for paintings

Dr. Angela Weber

In his dense and powerful, at the same time mysterious paintings, the artist Milton Camilo invents a third place and creates it as one of childhood. He acts out the complex pictorial movement of a return to his roots, meanwhile creating this very place, which is open, visionary and at the same time in line with the future itself. At this very place, the question of identity, cultures, time and space are negotiated and challenged constantly, which happens in the form of an open question that is never fully answered.

It is not the loss of a closed identity depiction that is in the focus of Camilo's art, rather the contrary, he opens this place of childhood, which he stages in his paintings as in-between/transitional places with the possibility to draw and shift the borders of his different home countries newly and to portray the question of belonging in an artistic/creational manner. The illustrated people, mostly children, come across self-confident, fascinate our view and confront us with an alien world from a dark foreshadow of a once familiar, long-forgotten place: This forever lost and longing world of childhood.

Thus, this specific strength of Camilo's paintings also lays in his ability to portray this place of childhood not as a melancholic one, but as a radically open space, which doubts constantly the imagination of a homeland as a fixed point of own orientation, as well as the observer's one. The implied unsettledness seems hence less disturbing since it is breaking its way in a highly creative manner, due to which we can enjoy the mystical and poetical paintings of the artist Milton Camilo. Just like this, his art originates multifaceted and fascinatingly and always leaves innovative artistic spaces, which are not a movement of searching but rather a gesture of finding. Moreover, Camilo's paintings are carried by strong pictorial power, which are simultaneously open, direct, mysterious and unfolding some sense of poetry, which entrances its audience immediately.

Scenically, Camilo manages to test the different possibilities of expression in each painting newly, and stay true to himself at the same time, carried by a unique, own style, unmistaken handwriting, which lets him avert the adventure "painting" in an almost dream- and dance-like manner. That painting is an adventure for Camilo, is sensible in each of his paintings, which next to the great joy of experimenting, impress by their composition and formal design of each one of the topics. The virtuosic pictorial designed image space characterizes the inherently emerging people, mostly children. These spaces are neither purely a scenery, nor a to the outside projected indoor-space. Neither reality nor fantasies are autonomous spaces, which emerge from the genuine gesture of the artist and depict a great presence to its pictured people. So, there thrones a small, naked, blonde boy in the image, self-confident at a kitchen chair in front of a surreal landscape of trees, in which a huge swarm of oddly graceful birds came to rest. The little one appears neither frightened nor lonely. On the contrary, the little boy seems to have arrived in his very own dream. In the painting, this experience has been staged, more so, realized, as a boarder one and at the same time an experience of happiness.

Or the portrayal of a woman extending into a room, whose perspectival distorted body does not seem to find a hold. In the energy-loaded encounter of body and space, coordination and orientation are shifting.

The movement of the disproportional body of the woman is continuing in the room (in lines pointing towards each other). Both, the extent, as well as the exact appearance of the room, withdraws from the comprehensibleness of the observer. Perceptibly, it is only the thrill of ecstasy of body and space, this turning the world upside-down of the external world, which the painter Camilo gives form.

Even there, where no person is emerging in the painting, Camilo creates the room as if someone would be present. This becomes especially clear in the miraculous portrayal of the chairoplane that seems to spin. Delicately, the chains draw through the mainly dark image space, structuring it meanwhile casually. Almost magically seem the butterflies, which step out from the dark, dance lightly around the chairoplane and breath new life into the scenery. The pictorial gesture is an everlasting adventure with Camilo. His certainty seems to originate in the creative work independently from schools and trends, but taking the freedom the image-object needs and yet staying true to himself. But how can his artistic style be described? Neither abstract nor too formative: Camilo's' paintings seem to withdraw from such a categorization completely. The pictured worlds appear powerful and fey at the same time. In that sense, the colour application contrasts in a single painting between pastose, carefully modelled spaces and a gestural, seemingly unleashed brushstroke. In doing so, the paintings pursuit a free, expressive, sometimes sketchy presentation. Always dominate strong contrasts and add to the tense appearance of the visual imageries of Camilo. The strongly contrasting, powerful and bright colours, as well as the courageous staged bright-dark contrasts, transmit the composition a very own, distinctive rhythm. The paintings convince by their enormous inner dynamic, which is sensible for the observer, as well as their courageous compository ideas, that transform each painting into an event. The strength of the paintings of Milton Camilo is, that he does not limit himself. This freedom is rewarded with much artistic know-how that never appears arbitrary but continuously coercive. Milton varies this know-how newly and according to the demand of each composition. His resourcefulness seems to be unlimited in that sense. Due to the power of painting, something can be expressed that the observer can only experience and sense. Moreover, Milton succeeds in accumulating the different pictorial styles and develops his very own, distinctive one.

A further subject: this very boat, full of people - reminds in an almost brutal way of the shocking images of refugee boats, that the media is delivering to our living rooms regularly. It is hence a symbol of an inhuman globally operating politics of Western national states, which denies refugees the right to hospitality and leaves them to a lawless place, defenceless, naked and doomed to die. At the same time, the boat reminds us of Noah's arch and stands thus for a timeless metaphor for the destiny of humanity, which originally is homeless and whose worldly home is only a temporary asylum.

Hence, Camilo's paintings can be understood politically as well. They demand a new perspective, by confronting its audience with the long-forgotten, distant and foreign place of childhood, in which the borders between the self and the other, inner and outer world, as well as past and future, similar to a dream, become fluid. This porosity confronts the grown-up observer with the experience of the unknown and uncertain of the permanent form, in which he\her has arranged himself and is being withdrawn from. Questions emerge, that seem to have been answered for a long time but return at the end of one's life. Camilo's place of childhood is less utopian, but rather a place of a transition, departure, and the uncertain, where the observer is asking himself about his identity and future in a surprisingly new manner. The labyrinthine ways of one's own life suddenly appear explicit and sensitize the observer for those nuances that otherwise stay unnoticed in the daily mainstream talks. Just like this, the observer's places of childhood and dreams are meeting each other in Camilo's paintings as an unspoken secret and confront him with his own existence.

The opening of the specific room in Camilo's paintings enables proximity to "the other" or alien, confronting us in the role of the child.

These eerily experiences of closeness are at the same time intertwined with the demand of another ethic in which the other is not alien anymore but perceived as a fellow human being. Something unloads which averts to the painting due to the power of art. Something difficult to be labelled, and not in the sense of the art of expression. Yet, the calculated image settings are drawn through from a power that not just results from the painting itself but from a genuine pictorially art of expression, that increases the presence of the portrayed and is reluctant against the assimilation by the gaze of the observer. This "rest" leaves a blind spot in the perception of the beholder. Something sparks, that sneaks into the paintings, which circulate countless in the multimedia mega cosmos. This short, fulgurous allowing of an immediate deferral, the silent in the midst of a loudly thunderous waterfall granting the painted image to exist. Here, it is not an anachronism, rather a tremor that originates from the material of the painted image, the distinctive trace of the painter's hand.