Third force. New York, 1984.

Triptych in oil and graphite on canvas. Measurements of each body: 204 x 178 cm / 80.31 x 70.07 in. Total size, 204 x 534 cm / 80.31 x 210.23 in. The work was reproduced in "Perez Celis", by Frederick Ted Castle, Peter Frank and Rafael Squirru (Ed. Shapolsky Publisher).

“In this first series of paintings that Celis has produced since he settled in New York, the vibrant inflections of this urban metropolis can be appreciated in clear and even surprising balances with respect to the rhythmic and monumental formalism that has characterized his work during the last decade. This inflection is embodied in an extension of his textural and color contrasts, contrasts that reach a dramatic extreme rare even in Celis's pondered formal language, often glorious but always substantial. (...) The dynamism that Celis always worried about can be achieved, he has known for a long time, only through an arrangement of balanced forms, almost classically, beyond the volcanic intensity or the harshness of the forms. This measured sense of composition is immediately apparent in his new work. Beyond the variegation of brush strokes and thunderous arrows of flashing colors, the basic formal premise that is maintained is the confrontation of main planes, usually two or three in each work. Some planes penetrate others or are penetrated by other plastic incidents. Other planes seem to invade each other in overwhelming, devastating or even disintegrating waves. Others slide along like tectonic plates beneath the earth's surface. In these last cases especially, the material violence of the oil paste or the graphite used give evidence of the cataclysm. The agitated zig-zags of color suggest seismographic readings capable of recording the violence of these pictorial earthquakes”. We reproduce this paragraph of Peter Frank's critique in “Perez Celis.” (1) The title of the work, "Third force", refers precisely to these compositional forces, and the three, to the number of paintings that make up the polyptych, but also to the number of planes or "tectonic plates" that are at stake in the present work, carried out during his stay in New York.

Celis Pérez, better known for the inversion of his first and last name as Pérez Celis (Buenos Aires, 1939-2008) was an Argentine visual artist of international recognition. His work was expressed through painting, sculpture, muralism, and engraving. He studied at the Manuel Belgrano School of Fine Arts, where he had as teachers Leopoldo Presas, Líbero Badií, Juan Batlle Planas and Santiago Cogorno. At the age of 17 he held his first solo exhibition at the La Fantasma gallery.

He was part of the New Man Movement, promoter of non-figurative art, guided by Rafael Squirru. Since the 1950s, he has produced numerous large-format murals, including the one at the Universities of Morón and Belgrano, the one at the Mercedes Benz factory in Japan, and the one at the Boca Junior stadium. He lived in Venezuela, Paris and New York -where he painted the present triptych, in the mid-eighties, when his painting reached a high price on the international market. He won his first prizes in painting and engraving in the years 1956/1958, in 1965 he obtained the Di Tella Institute Prize and the Esso Prize. At the beginning of the seventies he received the Alba award at the LXI National Salon of Argentine Plastic Arts. In 1979 he participated in the Monte Carlo Grand Prix International d'Art Contemporain, receiving the Special Mention from the Jury. He exhibited in Caracas, Bilbao, Tokyo, Lima, Bogotá, Paris, Miami, New York, Birmingham and Budapest.


1. Frederick Ted Castle, Peter Frank and Rafael Squirru: Pérez Celis. Ed. Shapolsky Publisher, 1988.

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