Layon and the Expression of Pain

Por: Deia Leal

Elias Layon, painter of mists, of landscapes whitened by the fog that hides the sun, clouds, and Baroque manors in the region of Inconfidentes, goes far beyond the misty opacity of his other works of light, colorful, sensitive lines in “A dor do mundo” (The World’s Pain), part of the collection “As 2000 faces de Cristo” (The 2000 Faces of Christ).

The Layonian mist substitutes glow, erasing sun rays to maks what is being seen and demand contemplation. The effect of the mist is the same of opacity, hiding wihtout  obscuring, subtly, transparently, lightly.  The opacity of the mist reveals lightness and volatility.

It is said that the artist and the poet have spirits enlightened by God, as they have been chosen to represente what the eye can’t see, but the souls, the heart, and the spirit feel. Artists have also been chosen to go over and beyond exhuberant landscapes or terrain ruined by humans. They go beyond the screaming obviousness to reveal the quirks of the soul.

Does man imitate nature? No, man recreates it and reinvents it surpassing the limits of science.

Layon, in “The Pain of the World”, shows through vigorous, precise, nervous strokes Munch’s “The Scream”, a reflexion of human tragedy. It is about pain in its most elusive conception, one that cannot be seen in dictionaries or imagined, a grotesque and grand display that any linguistic symbolization, close as it may be to the truth, would still not be enough.

Layon does not describe or narrate in soft, loose strokes of light color the pain of the world. He surpasses an external vraisemblance and achieves, with his eyes facing the world, internal vraisemblance, a revelation of melancholy that resides in souls maimed by catastrophe, by all these apocalypses that devastate worlds built by human dreams.

In this place, there is no mist, pain does not hide; it is manifested and requires visibility.  In moments of pain, man seeks faith and finds the face of Christ, a strength that resists all pain in the world. The pain of the world, here, is not inflected or pluralized, as the name of the of painting, in the singular, is the masterful and definitive stroke of pain. In “The Pain of the World” there is no happenstance, but a goal, rationale, and a thematic proposition for a bold, hard to represent work.

Layon starts painting 2000 faces of the Christ. Why faces of the Christ? Maybe because Christ is the image of the pain of all the living, it is He who screams in the screams of all those who despair in the edge of suffering.

The world turns in the red and black face of Christ, in a cycle, in traces fragmented of ruined buildings and faces contorted in pain. The wonder in the awestryck expression, bulging eyes and tongue sticking out, the extreme fatigue in an exhausted face, is that the metaphor of the via crucis is manifested whenever humans are shaken by a catastrophe, be it an intimate catastrophe, a personal problem with no solution in the realm of possibilities, be it a collective catastrophe (tsunamis, earthquakes, accidents) in which the shockwaves reach even those that are not directly involved in them.

“The Pain of the World” is not only a face with an expression of pain, but rather the expression of pain in the face of humanity.


Andreia Donadon Leal – Deia Leal

Post-graduation in Visual Arts – culture and creation

Masters in Literature – culture and society at UFV

Founding President of ALB-Mariana