By Federico Curutchet | April 12, 2023

In March 1985, a breakthrough in filmmaking was released in United States’ theaters. Signed by Woody Allen and titled "The Purple Rose of Cairo", the search for the purple rose is nothing more than a way of approaching the impossible. With technical mastery, ingenious script and Allen's characteristic humor, the film portrays not only a romantic period atmosphere, but also updates the classic and ever-present ontological fiction-reality duo. The search for purple is a Sisyphean symbol, a mythological reminder of our human condition, of our tireless tendency to connect with the unknown in the search for a meaning that allows us to breathe again the next day, that keeps us alive, with desire at the surface. Perhaps, therein lies the spell of art: the power to turn real stories into existential questions, to fall in love with shapes, colors, people, day-to-day situations that can also be eerie. By blurring the limits of reality, a gate opens that transports us to another possible world, as if by magic.


They say that purple is the color least seen in nature. Maybe that is why its symbolism is loaded with mysticism, fantasy and fiction. For the extraction of this precious color, the ink of a very specific mollusk, the Murex brandaris, is used. It takes more than ten thousand bugs to dye a single gram of wool. In its exclusivity and scarcity lies its desire. Kings, priests, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Pliny the Elder, Aristotle, pre-Columbian cultures and the Pope are just some of the great names in history who were bewitched by the color purple.


"The discovery of purple" of 1636 by the Flemish painter Theodoor Van Thulden, portrays the legend that attributes to the dog of the god Heracles the discovery of this pigment by biting a snail on the beach and coloring his mouth. The god, in admiration, would have promised his beloved a purple dress.


In Purple Spell, enchantment can be seen in the rooms of Tomás Redrado Art Gallery where Brigitte Hoffman and Santiago Paredes confuse reality and fiction by showing us strange, familiar scenes, ghostly doodles, violet-tinted walls, a possible table, twisted from here, but totally plausible from there, a gigantic vase, insane, almost monstrous fruits, witches and haunted houses. Clearly gods have passed and artists have captured on canvases, walls and objects, domesticating the sublime, what we mortals do not see: a new reality.


We are social, cultural, and fictional beings; characters in a story, participants and spectators, our own gods. Brigitte Hoffman and Santiago Paredes spread their purple spell and turn art and domestic intimacy into a divine fiction. May the spell take effect, may the paintings bring us back to reality, may it be magic.

Purple Spell. Exhibition by Santiago Paredes and Brigitte Hoffman.


Tomás Redrado Art. 8163 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, United States.


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