It's 1968 and The Velvet Underground are in the studio, recording "Temptation Inside Your Heart". A microphone switches on accidentally, and picks up a casual conversation between members of the group as they mix the record. The ghostly voices of the musicians are incrusted into the song. We hear somebody mutter that "electricity comes from other planets".
The machine does not think, it only functions, records, activates its mechanism and alters the surrounding conditions.
In 2022, Lolo - at the other end of the phone line - says that "our works come from a crack in space-time". Their machines do not think; they only act immersed in a movement with no beginning or end. When we look at the machines we are entering into an unfamiliar world, held up by pure force, by the activating of forms that have no natural equivalent in our world. We are in a closed-off field, hermetic and self-sufficient.
Torque is a vector quantity that can be defined as the moment of force, or dynamic moment. It is the measure of force applied to a rod in order to turn an object. Torque, when referring to the power of an engine, only tells us the force and speed with which the engine can move, never its direction.
In 2022, Lolo & Sosaku suspend a car, at around a 90˚ angle, in the central space at Galería Alegría. It is their first individual exhibition at the gallery, and the first that is not designed as a site-specific piece, but rather as a silent exhibition of atrocities. The alien nature of this machine is revealed by stripping it back, in an abnormal reveal. The piece structures a showcase created by the simultaneity of several moments of force. An immobile machine, depicting the immanent reality of the perpetual mechanics surrounding it.
The engine is self-reliant and self-sufficient. Men need machines that think and reflect their own intellect back to them, organised into concrete action. The machines in Torque, though, do not need men to think about them. They live outside the fetishism of the automaton. That is why the pictures they paint, immersed in the silence of their perpetuum mobile, are impenetrable to us.
In 1968, an open microphone alters a song. In 2022, the same soulless ghost of the machine gives us paintings that barely let us intuit the unfathomable nature of their mechanical abstraction. In 2022, Galería Alegría becomes the epicentre of a machinic force: the realm of torque.
Electricity, that incandescent and invisible blood of the machine, comes from another planet. So do the works of Lolo & Sosaku. This is not the metaverse; this is another world.
"Method Acting", as David Roth's exhibition at Galería Alegría is named, refers to a technique which wants to enhance an actor's or actress's ability of slipping into a role or enacting a part. Remembering one‘s own experiences relating to a certain role is said to be helpful for filling the depicted character with first hand experiences and feelings. Merging one's own personality with the character represented does not only increase the role's authenticity, but may disperse something: The viewer might no longer see that an actor/actress is not the character he or she is playing. The artist's life could vanish behind the role or his/her compelling impersonation of this role may let us forget that it is just a performance. What becomes visible at this point is the trace left by what disappeared. A trace hints at what is no longer there, however, bearing testimony to its existence; capturing, what is merely a hint now. In the trace the vanished remains as the missing and the remaining evidence of what is lost: present and absent at once, a trace signals at what it withholds.
The process of painting means the searching for traces in several of David Roth's paintings. When he drags a canvas through a landscape, the traces of nature and the route travelled become inscribed into the painting. His "Flower Paintings" are the imprint of those flowers he uses for painting in lieu of brushes. In these works we find solely the traces left behind yet, they extinguish what created them. Paintings, opening up to perception while at the same time hiding from it. Strokes and painterly gestures as trails connect the persisting with the perished. In this sense, they are images of time/represent time, transcending beyond the painting's here and now. Each painting is more than its presence can reveal. The traces will only point out, that something has been caused to vanish. We see that something has become un-seeable.
David Roth's decision to use photoluminescent paint in his artworks follows those traces. This paint contains pigments with an afterglow effect in the dark. Usually, light brings out colours, here, it is the dark that makes the paints' (after)glow. With each work looking different in light and in darkness, one painting actually contains a pair: The appearance of one makes the other disappear and vice versa. With the light changing, one sees, something is absent, has been hidden, nevertheless as an absence remaining there: The picture turns into a trace or scent, tempting to investigate a vision, recognizing one will never see everything. Something will always evade the seeing and seeing will cloak what is seen, what we beheld, though, inextricably linked to and bringing forth the unsighted. This is the traces' paradox: Through revealing, it keeps hidden.
On his explorations of nature David Roth tracked bark beetles, which eat their way through trees, leaving behind a trace, forming a pattern of paths carved into the wood, that looks like a drawing. A sign of death on the trees, drawn by death. Roth treats these trees as printing blocks, taking wood prints off them. The impressions preserve the tracks, Roth then transfers to wooden panels, now like the beetle (à la method acting) follows them in his woodworking, re-tracing the paths the beetles chose. This way, one trace leads to another, creating images that expose something, while also testament of something withheld, nature at the point of vanishing or turning into "nature morte", a still life, the imprint indicating a life grown still. To pursue these trails lies in the eyes of the beholder, to see, what through seeing you cannot see (any longer).
Pliny the Elder tells the anecdote in his Natural History: the Greek painters Zeuxis and Parrhasius organised a competition to determine who was the best artist of their times. Zeuxis presented his now-famous still-life of grapes, painted so realistically that it caught the attention of passing birds, who darted down and pecked, hungrily, at the canvas. As for Parrhasius, he brought along a painting covered by a curtain. When it was his turn to show what was underneath, Parrhasius revealed that the work was in fact the curtain itself, painted with such skill that it could barely be told apart from real fabric. Even Zeuxis had to admit that Parrhasius' artwork was greater than his, because one thing is to trick the birds of the meadow, but quite another thing is to fool an experienced artist like him.
This story is relevant to Jorge Diezma (Madrid, 1973), since his work has always revolved around representation and all its virtues, conflicts and tricks. As such, in his new exhibition at Galería Alegría, the artist seeks to place himself somewhere between the certainty of pictorial matter and the uncertain representation that it allows. In "A Blind Mole's Eyes", Diezma tries to inhabit that space, ever in permanent tension, and turn it into a field of applied research.
Although Diezma's work has always been based on classic genres such as still-life, landscape or portraiture, this time he delves into abstraction, treating it like a genre of painting akin to those just mentioned. The forms that appear in this exhibition are not the result of an analytical breaking-down of reality. Quite the opposite: Diezma's approach is like looking at a place through an infinite zoom, getting so far in that you even see the microscopic elements that make it up. Sometimes we come across spaces of geometric contours; elsewhere we discover strange fields, gloomy and convulsing. Scraps of canvas, superimposed on the paintings, add to that almost scientific feeling of transcending distinct material planes.
We are observers, therefore, of a subatomic painting, which the artist activates by playing around with a kind of uncertainty principle. As such, he ultimately presents a series of paintings in which the very precipitation of the oil paint, over time, is what determines the work's final structure. This is a demanding and highly intense approach. Later in the process, there is a return to representation whereby the artist himself repaints the figure, and so on, in an endless loop.
Jorge Diezma is an outstanding artist, who deftly brings together his mastery of painting with his great conceptual soundness. He acknowledges, at the end of his investigation, that it is impossible to avoid the sublime deception of painting. But he also reminds us that, on occasions, artists must place themselves simultaneously in front of and behind the great curtain of painting - just as Parrhasius did in his day - if they are to create significant works of art. Given this paradoxical position of the painter, the spectator must rigorously assume the role of witness, and note the oscillations of the pictorial matter, ever in search of the traces emitted by its primary radiation by means of its different states and positions. It is therefore a pleasure for Galería Alegría to offer up its space to a unique experience, in which abstraction is opened unto the threshold of its own quantum dimension.
In 2020, the American artist Kottie Paloma (Huntington Beach, California, 1974) left Los Angeles for Alzenau, the small town in Germany where his wife grew up. The reason for this getaway was to find somewhere natural to spend the lockdown, and to flee from the stresses and forest fires of California, as well as escaping from the nationwide psychosis that was erupting amid the American presidential elections. So he spent a year in an odd state of mind, something which he calls a daydream in decay. This state is characterised by uncertainty and paralysis, but also by a permanent feeling of alarm.
The paintings presented by Galería Alegría in "Dream Decay", Kottie Paloma's first solo exhibition in Spain, are the fruit of that peculiar mental state. As such, one part of this show transports us to that small Bavarian locality where the artist lived with his family, while the other explores turbulent and frenzied visions of a world in crisis.
In order to map out this strange geography of distancing, alienation and panic, Kottie Paloma uses, in most of the exhibition's paintings, a furious colour palette. Urgent brushstrokes and convulsing colours suggest haste, disturbance and desperation, but also the exuberance of nature that duly becomes barricade, refuge and hideout. In the other pieces, Paloma revisits his traditional combinations of dual colours, speaking to the necessary equilibrium of forces at the heart of his work. Nevertheless, "Dream Decay" is not just dramaticism and neurosis, for it also offers a strange sense of humour that is reflected in the paintings' titles, which enrich, add nuance and broaden out the meaning of the works. The exhibition is rounded off with sculptures made from found materials, and they heighten the sense of dreamlike and contradictory decay that serves as the exhibition's unifying thread.
In this exhibition, Kottie Paloma continues to develop his style, which is somewhere between neo-expressionism and formalism. He presents his characteristic labyrinthine and modular images, arranged as if they were picture puzzles, thus showing the sheer vitality of his own peculiar working methods in all their raw directness. One characteristic part of this procedure is the artist's use of papers, pressing down on the canvas as if he were making imprints. He thereby reduces the distance between the hand that paints and the final painted representation.
Kottie Paloma leads us into a world in a constant state of flux. It is multifarious and turbulent, and yet it hints at the possibility for a more contemplative gaze. This gaze, although it does not completely rid the world of its decadence and turmoil, does allow it to become a more humane and habitable place.
For Víctor Jaenada (Barcelona, 1977) art is life and life is art. Simple as that. More transhumant than multidisciplinary, Jaenada's approach to his art is to wander around, to pick things up, to combine techniques, to construct paintings. As a conscious and vocational heir to a kind of flamenco life, his mental nomadism forms a work that multiplies, grows and changes organically. Now, this autumn, it finds refuge and freedom at Galería Alegría.
Víctor Jaenada does not search for, but rather gathers together the pictorial elements, materials and colourful objects with which he constructs his intuitive work, which is hard to explain but immediately enjoyable. It translates the somewhat tragic sense of life onto the canvas, twisting it and making it burn. A painter of the unfathomable, Jaenada composes his work in such a way that it gets under your skin and speaks to you from deep inside - but you are left wondering how exactly he manages to achieve such a striking effect.
Jaenada's work called for "My Own Collective Exhibition", consisting of paintings from the last year and a half, which, until now, had not left his studio. "Living things float", says Jaenada when referring to this exhibition. And he is quite right. This collection of works, almost all of them self-contained in their small and medium-sized formats, multiplies before your very eyes. It is as if the paintings paint themselves, while the artist is carried away by them. This exhibition has the solid lightness of real things, and the paradoxical weight of things that float.
The works in "My Own Collective Exhibition" vindicate that special joie de vivre that comes from living life to the full, with all its light and shade. There is matter and feeling here: canvases darkened by the lighter's flame, stripped-down strokes, paint that rushes beyond the frame and a fascination with the objects that one finds along the way, be they simple pieces of wood or the autumn leaves that, without fail, always captivate children. We can also glimpse something hieroglyphic, tragic and impenetrable, in compositions that seem to disappear as soon as they are made, as if the painting had wanted to be a song instead.
Víctor Jaenada, like all good flamenco, lives life on the wire - that is, right where these magical, daring paintings come from - and he knows that life lasts but two days. That's why he paints fast, and lives slow. And this is how he cooks up his labyrinthine, conceptual and intelligent work, of which, today, Galería Alegría is proud to present this collective exhibition of his own. These works depict an all-round artist, ever in search of his place, even though he knows his particular place is neither in time nor in space.
Galería Alegría presents "Cut Out Paintings", the new exhibition by Enrico Della Torre (Tradate, 1988). The artist, from Italy, expands his research on the limits of painting by introducing new elements into his language, and questioning his own work dynamic.
As in previous exhibitions, Della Torre's pieces examine the boundaries and potential of the pictorial space, as well as the elements that are present and latent in the work. His style revolves around a possible degree zero of painting, and he looks into the relationship between gesture and structure, exploring the dialectic between expressive calligraphical lines and near-minimalist planes of black graphite.
However, the works brought together for this exhibition broaden out the artist's registers of composition, by incorporating fragments of discarded and unfinished works from the last two years. By being manipulated, sewn and juxtaposed, these scraps and offcuts have helped open up new avenues of development in the artist's most recent output. The different layers form new compositional spaces, casting light and toning down shadows, thereby enriching Della Torre's language. In this process of workshop archaeology, the painter calls himself into question, allowing irony, playfulness and self-critique to form an active part of the creative process.
In "Cut Out Paintings" we see, therefore, that ample and abstract surfaces give way to organic forms; we see how new lines and distinct silhouettes emerge, and a surprising aesthetic vocabulary arises, which embraces accidents and waste without any hesitation. The pieces invite the spectator to think about what elements a work of art should contain, what the limits of painterly language are, and what happens when this language, reduced to a minimum, undergoes a process of cutting, combining and recycling.
Enrico Della Torre is thus following a highly personal path, in which respect for the essential elements of painting coexists, naturally, with his questioning of the established discourses, and with the unabashed reflection upon the ideal modus operandi of truly contemporary painting.
The circumstances of the last two years have brought about an unprecedented hybridisation with technology, so the work of Julien Meert (Brussels, 1983), presented in the gallery's Room B, now takes on a disturbing timeliness. What otherwise could have been the exhibition of a strikingly original artist, fascinated by science fiction and the impact of cybernetics on our lives, instead becomes a disturbing reflection on the role of the human, as and when the world is reduced to a string of faces on never-ending screens.
Starting with a distorted image of himself, Meert pieces together a gallery of mutant characters whose flesh is arranged in strange forms. Some of these forms are reminiscent of robotic humanoids, while others are like macrocephalic beings of an unknown texture. In all cases, the paintings are realised with feverish meticulousness, giving this odd "new flesh" an opaque, synthetic and unsettling appearance. Meert seems to be suggesting that amplifying and exposing our face to infinity does not make us more accessible, nor does it lead to better communication with our fellow human beings. On the contrary, the characters' features seem to become petrified, and they give nothing away, other than the sense of unease and impersonal anguish that comes across in their blurry features.
Regarding the work brought together in "Interface", Julien Meert reminds us that portraiture is a key part of his painting. Throughout his career, the Belgian artist has used his own face in disturbing combinations and distortions. Meert acknowledges that he is interested in reflecting the vertigo of life today, with all its ghastly implications and stimulants. As such, these great facial balloons also reference the frozen images of video calls; the modified flesh of plastic surgery; the cyborg, lost in the orphanhood of their own programming; or the psychonaut trapped in a solipsistic fantasy, fed by virtual reality technology.
"Interface" therefore places us in front of an awkward mirror. Meert's serie, uncanny and disquieting work, of unquestionable painterly skill, invites us to think about the ever-ambiguous ideal of the machine-man. In turn, steel helmets, pupils that shoot infrared beams, and surgically- sealed mouths, following grotesque operations, all become brutal metaphors for our isolation and growing inability to see beyond our own reality.
With its first exhibition by Julien Meert, Galería Alegría brings to Spain an uncomfortable and unusual body of work, which is also very much engaged with today's most urgent debates. It demonstrates that painting can lead to unexpected and disturbing work, which is nevertheless essential if we are to understand the world we live in.
When contemplating a work of art, the apparent ease with which it was created is one of the most compelling qualities. We appreciate not only the material enaction of the imagination, but also the fact that said enaction seems completely effortless. This particular quality, which we might also call lightness of touch or finesse, is very much present in "Let the Children Play", the first exhibition by Thomas Kiesewetter (Kassel, 1963) at Galería Alegría.
Over his long career, Kiesewetter has always sought to imbue his sculptures with the simple depth of unpretentious things. Looking back at his whole body of work, throughout more than twenty years, his sculptures appear to the spectator as friendly enigmas and riddles; they appeal to the sense of surprise, the capacity for wonder and a profoundly human desire for discovery.
Kiesewetter, from Germany, likes to think that his sculptural works of assembled sheet metal reside in an intermediary space between figurative playfulness and abstraction. To ensure that his sculptures can inhabit such a multiple state, the sculptor has always tried to handle the metal with close attention to its own organic qualities. He works with the sheet metal meticulously, ensuring that the work has enough elasticity so that it can comfortably shift from matter to form.
There is something friendly about the shapes he makes, since Kiesewetter aims for a kind of modernity that, when stripped of all cynicism and desperation, allows us to form a simple connection with things. The pieces are mysterious presences that have the astuteness of drawing, the meticulous musculature of origami and the initial echoes of early Cubism. These are indeed somewhat disjointed and incomplete reference points; Kiesewetter's greatest achievement is perhaps that his work is open-ended, in such a way that the spectator's gaze is what confers its ultimate meaning.
In the sculptures that make up "Let the Children Play", the spectator will come across a representative vision of the elements that define the artist's style. The playful forms that we present in this exhibition can be interpreted as characters, situations, movements... or simply as sculptural groups, formed by regular modules of industrial air. Halfway between the avant-garde and the toy, Thomas Kiesewetter's work invites us to take part in a simple exercise that entails reconsidering how we look at things, letting our imagination form connections with objects, and allowing these objects the freedom to become humanoids, metal cones, interrupted movements, riddles or discoveries.
Does painting have limits? And, if it does, how do you know when you've reached them? Bobby Dowler (London, 1983) was faced with this dual conundrum when he had to deal with an involuntary creative impasse. To try and overcome this situation, the British artist, who has always worked with discarded materials, gathered some canvases he'd accumulated in his studio, and he got hold of some others which had been ditched by his painter friends, all in search of a material renewal that would ideally lead to similarly-renewed artwork. Furthermore, he came across a set of second-hand stretcher frames which, ultimately, would end up completing the raw material used for <<"100,000%!">>, his new exhibition at Galería Alegría.
Using stretcher wood as a tool, cutting and patching up canvases, painting or using other people's work: the artist laboured intensely, until he had a series of pieces that offered him new avenues for development. As such, in this new exhibition, Dowler organises his materials, blocking out large fields of colour that forcibly overlap or are decisively set against each other. This vigorous determination turns colour and form into primary, immediate compositions, in which his free and electrifying painting style has great dynamic impact.
Assemblages, superimpositions, cuts and joins become loaded with a new tension, adjusting to the vivid swathes of paint applied by the artist. Dowler thus finds the way for his painting-objects - as he refers to them - to take on new meaning, without losing their characteristic force. <<"100,000%!">> is an ode to the abundance of a material that can have many lives, becoming reincarnated in multiple different works, but it is also a reminder of how important it is to pay attention to the form and needs of the matter in question during the process of creation. Far from resorting to dry theoretical reasonings, Bobby Dowler prefers to offer us a visual and material journey which is rich, intense and exciting. The honest questioning of the limits of his painting-objects has resulted in an emphatic and beautiful exhibition, which immediately connects with the audience in a way that only bold, adventurous art can.
The strange man is all that exists, treading the long and lonely road. But who is he? A magician who turns everything into nothing, no-one into someone, nothing into everything. Is he a philosophy? A history? A drama, or a novel? A religion? An art? Nobody knows. He doesn't know either. All I know is that he's done something right, despite the crushing weight of futility. He's someone new, special, someone who doesn't only disintegrate trees, evil beasts, giants and dwarves: above all, he disintegrates himself.
What is the psychology of savage abstraction? Abstraction, here, means exaltation and detachment. Psychology becomes distanced from the subject, and it takes on greater objective meaning. Matters of psychology are no longer a mere human ingredient, but rather an objective function of the physical artwork, of sculpture. Psychology moves from the specific to the general, from interpretation to the purely material. The pendulum swings between savageness and abstraction. They are not mutually exclusive. They become one. Detached psychology, inherent to abstraction, joins them by means of a magical connection. Even before the great outdoors gives these stone images a semblance of scenic obviousness, the connection must already have been there.
What is time? It never actually appears anywhere. Nobody even denies this. It simply does not appear; it is not taken into consideration. Today is like yesterday, like tomorrow and like today.
In its pure state, time is spellbound. In this state, savage sculpture emerges. Without any friction. Savage sculpture does not engage with time; time engages with it. It is not affected by the pace of historical process. It does not float in the river. It stays on the riverbank, motionless, watching on.
Stefan Rinck (Germany, 1973) returns to Galería Alegría to present his exhibition Abstracción bárbara en la casa de los excéntricos. Joined by his characteristic cohort of stone figures and inscrutable idols, the artist takes over our main exhibition space with a new collection of sculptures that show striking originality and a bold central conceit. This exhibition further bolsters Rinck's position as a unique voice in contemporary international sculpture.
In this new show, Stefan Rinck explores the concept he calls "savage abstraction", a term he uses to try and identify that hazy area where history, psychology, ritual, fantasy, magic, aesthetics and manual skill all converge, those different approaches which bring to the surface all the mutant offspring and wondrous beasts that we have sought to hide away in the corners of our collective subconscious. Rinck, like a kind of modern shaman, throws himself into savage and unbiased sculpture, one which is capable of summoning supernatural creatures. The German artist revisits, as such, a recurring theme in his work: the persistence of the monster and the divine beast in the contemporary mindset. This time, however, he does not limit himself to exploring the mere concrete form of the idol, but rather its capacity to act as an echo chamber for more abstract concepts.
As a result, the analytical forms of contemporary life are called into question, given the frustrating survival of all those impulses that progress itself seems unable to quash. From these impulses, Rinck extracts his own peculiar and carnivalesque theogony. Furthermore, the idol's stony ruthlessness is joined, this time, by the contrasting nature of those "eccentrics", who could in fact be any one of us, as the powerless, confounded spectators we are. The present relevance of this work, which is both acutely amusing and disturbing, lies in its reverential fear of the unknown and the sublime ridiculousness of what is overly human.
The sheer mastery and undeniable quality of the sculptural work in Savage Abstraction in the House of the Eccentrics reveals a pantheon of cruel, parodic and inquisitive presences. The multiplicity of materials, the skill with which they have been handled and the overall sculptural calibre invite the spectator to become lost within the considered composition of these pieces, in all their emphatic presence. The work as a whole, full of detail, takes us back to our childhood obsessions with myths, monsters and marvellous beasts. As a new slant on this, and alongside beings that reflect the artist's own obsessions (crocodiles, skulls, gnomes and demons), we find new creatures defined by colder, more fearsome geometries. There is a certain chilling, mechanical quality to them, and there are also some more current and terrible gods... We witness new prophecies and new tensions: ultimately, these are new paths for such an extraordinary sculptor.
Stefan Rinck thus shows, in this new exhibition, that he can make stones talk, and he can bring to life those sardonic and sinister idols that we have long tried to forget, but which have managed to claw their way back to us, now in the form of his majestic sculptures. Therefore, it is a rare privilege for us that our gallery has become his "House of the Eccentrics", hosting work of such savage and uncanny abstraction.
Freedom is a cowboy, ever galloping towards the horizon, but never quite getting there. Freedom is also the horizon itself, it is the horse, and the stable fence too. More than anything, freedom is what the child feels when doodling this cowboy in their notepad, while, deep inside, their own lust for adventure begins to emerge. Freedom is what Xavier Mañosa (Barcelona, 1981) offers in "Cowboy Behind the Door", his second exhibition at Galería Alegría.
Xavier Mañosa, innovative ceramicist and founder of the remarkable workshop Apparatu, alongside his father Joan Mañosa, surprises us with an installation based on a drawing by his son. A two-dimensional cowboy awaits us, sitting on his horse, with all the simple greatness of a mere cowboy who's escaped from a notepad. As we walk around a wall of 24 lead-glazed ceramic tiles, we come across this figure who reminds us that, sometimes, it's good to look at things and accept that they are exactly as they seem.
The cowboy is held up by a ceramic structure, which is fascinating in its brutalism; Mañosa acknowledges the inherent curiosity of material shaped into a figure. Passing through the door and skirting round the leaden wall, the sheer surprise of encountering this stationary desert-centaur is part of the appeal of this unique, direct and compelling piece.
Following our cowboy, baked clay plates accompany us to the other side of the Pecos River. "Cowboy Behind the Door" evokes that childish joy of grabbing a pencil and scribbling until its lead wears down, over a non-stop, never-ending afternoon of drawings and stories.
This is an exhibition, therefore, that talks about art's greatest quality: it can captivate us with a certain alchemy, bringing a doodle to life, as we question whether we are the ones who breathed life into it, or whether in fact it was already there, embedded in the figure's material. And isn't this the rare thrill that we ever seek, exhibition after exhibition, from when we are children until we too must ride into the sunset?
Painting is a strange body. Its two-sided condition, as both representation and object, means that it has become a shifting and conflictive entity in this age of the digital image, which is instead ubiquitous and immaterial. However, it is not unreasonable to consider that this mutant, physical and paradoxical trait is in fact what has allowed painting to survive, by ever attracting artists who seek to establish, based on the corporeal, new terms that can speak to our time.
The practice of the British artist Lydia Gifford (UK, 1979) explores this binary condition. Her works, or objects, can be thought of as stems that merge gesture, colour, matter and memory. It is hard to pinpoint where the pictorial ends and the sculptural begins. Both elements come together to form an expansive ecosystem in which the limits between them are blurred; the same phenomenon often occurs in natural landscapes.
In Shape I Know, Lydia Gifford's first exhibition inthe gallery, the artist offers a presentation of works in which this hybrid quality is made clear. Gifford's work takes us into tricky nooks and crannies, amid the materials, colours and textures. Her works encapsulate time, since they contain residues cultivated by the artist as part of her day-to-day processes: fabrics, rags, organic matter... The works are like layers of vegetation that cover the plains. Forms that are familiar, thought-provoking and geological, which invite the spectator to surrender to this gesture of abstraction. To reflect, calmly, rather than trying to decipher the meaning of the brushstrokes, painted upon the uneven surfaces.
Emphatic and poetic in their realisation, the selection of works we present in Shape I Know is not only an introduction to Lydia Gifford's art, but it is also a great opportunity to gauge the health of contemporary painting practice. Painting lives on, in the 21st century, by absorbing languages and material from adjacent disciplines, and it still offers visions as personal and meaningful as those found in the work of Gifford.
"The reduction of meaning to rhythm, insistence and form feels ever more resonant when so little else makes sense. I have reconnected with the work of Gertrude Stein in recent months. Intuitive meaning connecting to the body's movement feels entirety relevant. What has emerged for me is a kind of choreography that is driven by material and an understanding through movement. Simple repetitive action as an affirmation of being in oneself. Connecting to improvised, intuitive movement through something physical. Connecting to the intimate rhythm of breathing, of contemplation and contemplative movement. A rhythmic encounter, punctuating, with a sense of repetition and shifts. The body, vertical and horizontal, shifting, dividing, portioning, positioning. A use of language to conjure form, shape and movement without enforcing definition." Lydia Gifford, January 2021.
Painting is surprisingly adept at reinventing itself. Just when it seems to be dying down, it always and inexplicably finds a way back, to the detriment of other techniques which are seemingly better-adjusted to the era in question. This dynamic and inexplicable quality of painting is where Mateo Revillo (Madrid, 1993) has decided to focus a good deal of his artistic practice.
In Pentimento, Revillo's first exhibition at the gallery, the artist presents a series of murals made with plaster, cement, beeswax and pigment, which serve as the focal point of the exhibition. These works operate in and around the uncertain terrain of mystery, drawing upon contemporary abstraction as well as the artist's own fascination with ancient times and Mediterranean civilisation. Pentimento thus traces a vast timeline, linking the primitive frescos of the Minoan cultures, on the one hand, with the breaking of the rectangular format as proposed by the early proponents of Minimalism. Curiously, even if the more attentive spectators notice these references, they will still be surprised by the radical innovation in this painting, which surpasses itself in its sheer vitality and energy.
These works are keen to evoke a hectic, immediate and savage world. Their colours make reference to the hours around dusk and dawn, when the world appears rough and unreal. Even so, they reveal a willingness for order, represented by the modular arrangement of the plaster slabs, which in turn shows the artist's interest in matters of architecture and construction. Again, Revillo works with a broad frame of reference, and this can take his work, and all its possibilities, in many wildly different directions.
Revillo himself acknowledges that one of the most beautiful aspects of his working method is that he is never completely certain about where the different elements in his peculiar shards begin or end. This is why he refers to "pentimento", the kind of regret, and revision, as referenced by the name of the exhibition. As such, painting rewrites itself, it borrows from tradition while, at the same time, chipping away at it with new strips, grooves, daubings, colours and techniques. A kind of painting which is not devoid of all possibilities once complete, since it apparently retains the potential to change its materials into some brand new manifestation. Ultimately, this is a kind of painting conceived as the permanent rewriting of time upon its own body.
It is not strange, therefore, that this exhibition references Dionysus, the Greek god who represented the irrational, the excessive and the forbidden, but who also symbolised the constant expansion and transformation of life. Expansion, transgression, vitality, tradition and transformation... and, during some periods of the aforementioned excess, perhaps some degree of regret. All of these attributes were indeed present in the myths about Dionysus, or Bacchus. Mateo Revillo makes use of these elements not only to introduce and bridge between the vastly different interests and tensions that we can find in his work, but, perhaps, also to establish a parallel with the practice of painting, a practice that always seeks to exceed the limits within which, often in artificial ways, we seek to enclose it.
Good painting is not only about the harmonious composition of different visual elements. Similarly, an exhibition is far more than just a series of canvases on a gallery's walls. Humberto Poblete Bustamante is well aware of this, given that his work seeks to explore the complex game of counterbalancing that is so inherent to the experience of painting in the 21st century. This task of his takes place in the ambiguous interzone, located somewhere between the visible surface of the painting and the areas hidden in the shadows of the colour fields.
In 1+1+1+1+1+1, his new exhibition at Galería Alegría, the London-based Chilean painter take a further step in his exploration of the multiple universe that exists in and around each of his paintings, and he inverts his own practice, showing that one plus one does not make two. As such, he paints with an exuberant, rich and explosive colour palette, one which, in previous works, was hidden under monochrome tones, but which now seems to want to burst out from the canvas, in all the force of its intense brightness, almost aggressive in its beautiful warmth.
But let us not get carried away: it is also an exhibition in which form and composition are key supporting features. Poblete takes what were previously abstract graphic elements and turns them into barriers, supports and counterbalances that hold the gaze and prevent the work from veering towards merely brutal or sterile expression. This painterly physics brings about a fascinating dynamism: we seem to be witnessing a kind of painting that lives beyond the painter's own hand. These are active paintings, and they keep working even after leaving the studio, thus transforming the exhibition room and the spectator's retina and mind into the echo chambers of their own particular becoming.
This is a bold exhibition, in which the artist shows his mastery, temperance and maturity when sparking a dialogue with tradition. It is also an open exhibition, insomuch that the work resists being a static object, and it defends its own character of being painting in action. As a result, this exhibition reveals to us the maturity of an artist who is finding new ways to explore his language, and he translates them into paintings which are beautiful, intense and alive. They are enormous, not only in format, but above all in terms of the inner space that they open up, beyond what is represented.
Therefore, Humberto Poblete Bustamante's work cannot easily be summed up with a label, or a set of references. Good painting is more than the sum of its parts, those elements from the past and present, placed in harmonious order - it is also a force that can be projected onto an uncertain future, to invent a new world.
Is it reasonable to use the pandemic itself as a way of talking about the work realised by artists during the lockdown period? In the case of the French artist Jonathan Binet, in his first individual exhibition at Galería Alegría, it can't be helped. His practice, based on the idea of painting-in- expansion, and the exploration of spaces that stretch beyond canvas and frame, was forced into a situation in which the new rules completely contradicted these ideas. Reclusion and monotony were the adverse conditions in which he had to create his work. It is unfair to highlight the particular circumstances that led to the creation of the paintings in PIZZA, and yet it is inevitable too.
It is not too far-fetched to claim that Binet has come to realise, in these bizarre days, that art is a lifeline, albeit a very delicate one, that can help us get through the kind of commotion we've experienced over this past year. The central elements of his work have been annulled, given the circumstances, so Binet has had to rein in his ingenuity and try something else, a gesture of working get to the point. And, with this as his starting point, he embarked upon a new exploration which would lead him to invent a new, alternative language, one that speaks of learning and resource economy.
If his work, to date, has been defined by the sculptural modification of the canvas space, he would now work on prepared textiles. Instead of the formal exuberance of a work in permanent expansion, he would make use of the repetitive movement of the hand, drawing vertical or horizontal strips using only one colour. Instead of the wealth of artifacts, inventions and trompe l'oeil, he would resort to the stripped-back traces of a monochrome, austere form of panting. Finally, if his work always had a distinctly airy condition, this time his pieces are frontal, closer to the ground, seeking greater proximity to a spectator whose own movements have also been greatly limited.
In PIZZA, there is austerity, but unapologetically so. The painted work on display is the result of repeating the same gesture, again and again, of accepting limitations, of conforming and trying to keep going. The use of one single profile, always the same, is no coincidence. This is not a reflective exhibition, quite the opposite: it talks to us about the possibility of moving when space closes in on us Talking about speed and movement, about the need to stave off boredom by means of routine, and about discovering what to do when such a vast calamity shrinks the world's limits to a bare minimum.
Is it possible to speak of these matters without mentioning the pandemic? Possibly, but then these stark, beautiful and poignant paintings would lose the immaterial quality which coats this bulimic painting, as the author puts it: the stubbornness to resist. This is where the strength of these hypnotic paintings lies, which arrive at Galería Alegría as a gesture of obstinance, more than any call for reflection.
"He soñado algo que ya no recuerdo" Serie de 100 dibujos a lápiz sobre papel en formato DinA3 acompañados por un video de 20 minutos, que los secuencia. Esta mínima narrativa es suficiente para que adquieran un sentido cinematográfico.
Algunas veces tengo la suerte de despertarme despacio. Entonces intento capturar el sueño que aún perdura usando una metodología particular: no debo abrir los ojos ni mover la cabeza, pues creo que la imagen onírica flota impresa sobre una superficie líquida y cualquier movimiento la termina por disgregar. A ciegas, tanteo con la mano y anoto y esbozo en una libreta que tengo preparada al lado de la cama.
El problema de anotar los sueños es que las tramas que proporcionan se deben remontar, y esto es muy difícil. Ni en la duermevela podemos recordar su discurso profundo, del que apenas nos quedan las últimas escenas.
Cada capítulo del film parte de una anotación matutina y ha sido dibujado con la ambición imposible de emular la dramaturgia de los sueños para poner en duda que necesiten ser olvidados para poder cumplir su función reparadora.
Halfhouse y la Fundación Suñol han producido algunos de los siete capítulos realizados hasta la fecha.
"El peso del fotón matutino" Proyección sobre mesa de comedor con copa de vino. La luz ejerce presión sobre las cosas que ilumina. Es un empuje ligero pero no irrelevante, que fuera de la atmósfera puede acelerar naves espaciales hasta velocidades muy superiores a las obtenidas hasta ahora. Esta pieza reflexiona sobre el alcance de la presión lumínica en lo cotidiano y sus consecuencias físicas y psicológicas, la antagonía entre lo radiante y lo iluminado y el desajuste temporal que sufren las sombras.
Cuanto más primo, más me arrimo
Both Enrico Della Torre and Matthew Musgrave share a very similar understanding of painting. In a figurative sense we can say that Enrico and Matthew are cousins. They are cousins because they are part of the same family that understands painting as an exercise of synthesis.
They develop a sober and austere language. An exercise in containment that avoids and ees from effects. They are discreet, silent paintings, without any fuss or technical display.To be appreciated in its totality, one ends up -inevitably- coming close to them to savour all the nuances that these paintings have. In both artists, each gesture, each mark, each failure, each success has a signi cant value and con gures a universe full of details that investigates the essence of the painting itself.
The proposals presented by Luis Bisbe in the Galería Alegría are ordered and disordered based on the attractions and repulsions that arise between the diverse elements that constitute them, establishing both natural and artificial concordances and conflicts, through which they are temporarily linked. Disconjunctivity brings together relations, abilities and potentialities, similar or opposing, which are displayed in the form of a fixed set. However, this apparent stability comes from the balance caused by opposing tensions, giving rise to conjugations in which the static and the dynamic participate simultaneously. Disconjunctivity proposes a trialogue between the conditions, the pieces and the individual, in such a way that they are all decisive and influential at the time of the experience. Beneath the superficial calm of these presentations, there are latent expansions and contractions, gravity and levitation, fractures and unions, folding and unfolding, turns and inverse counter-turns. An immediate mini-everything, which is able to connect and disconnect, do and undo itself, be something and no longer be something at the same time, thus creating an excrescence of reality that cannot easily be named.
It is often said that painting consists of solving problems that the painter has invented. The case of the Dutch artist Robbin Heyker, who splits his time between Beijing and The Hague, refutes this cliché, since his work seeks, above all else, the clarity of an all-encompassing gaze, and the forcefulness of sincere realisation.
In Birding, his first solo exhibition at Galería Alegría, Heyker uses the motif of bird-watching to make us aware of the fact that discovering something which so floods our field of vision with brightness can occur anywhere. He takes the world that surrounds him as a starting point for reference and, from there, he composes works that, via the language of abstraction, offer an agile, open and welcoming result. There is apparent immediacy, radiance and mystery, in paintings which use aesthetic impression as a way of bringing about a calm reflection on how form, plane and colour construct a new space, based on the real.
Robbin Heyker's painting looks quick, easy; it has a surprisingly playful quality that draws you in immediately. Yet it is also a work of serious and methodical composition, which affords it serenity, consistency and breadth.
When speaking with Robbin Heyker, the passion with which he talks about his childhood love of birding is striking. This passion also comes across when he describes how, in China, illegal fly-posting is dealt with by just painting straight over the posters or flyers, with layers upon layers of paint. This passion for discovering the extraordinary in the everyday is evident in Birding. It is astonishing to see how these magnificent paintings, exquisite in composure and immediate in gesture, turn into a catalogue of common birds in the enchanted gaze of the spectator, if only, moments later, to settle back into their autonomous and glowing pictorial condition.
On the other hand, Heyker is passionate about revealing his tricks - this is somewhat unusual, for both magicians and painters. He does not believe in painting that is falsely heroic, self-absorbed, serious and opaque. What Heyker does is something else: there is a beautiful simplicity, a calm earnestness as he observes the passing of nature, and a generous open-mindedness. All of these elements give his language a very powerful appeal and closeness.
If the biblical birds of the meadow did not have to worry about finding food, because divine providence guaranteed they would have it, Heyker's birds in turn are allowed to fly freely until they are birds no longer, so that, with this same lack of concern, they can live on as endless colour fields in the retina of the spectator. This might well be his best trick.
Robbin Heyker manages, in this exhibition, to make us feel indifferent about whether we are looking at a bird or an abstraction; like that child who took his eye off the scenery just when the sudden appearance of sparkling flight turned the whole view into something else. That other thing is, in this case, an exhibition with an outstanding collection of paintings.
David M. Morán
You're changing places, you wake up under another sky, wine is better and the bread here is a real substance.
You are lost as always, but you can't help it. There is nothing you like more than to wash your feet in the tornado. Wayfarer, there is no path!
Do you really believe that a tube of colour will save your life? or that it will justify something in her? Do you truly believe that it is about truth?
Scraping the pavement with your head, you have already walked upside down. You have won, you are your only hero, the village idiot, a spasmed dancer, the stammered singer, the blind and joyous painter who puts little rocks in his shoes.
The children have arrived and will not leave, the place is propitious, the blankets are light, the wind is favourable, meaning adversed. Finally nothing shines anymore, everything is True.
For over a decade Bobby Dowler (b 1983 in London) has collected the paintings that nobody else wants and used them as a starting point to make his own works out from. Pre-existing paintings and their wood supports come in all different shapes, sizes and styles - some have been carefully made, exhibited, sold, cherished, destested, neglected, laughed at, badly damaged and aban- doned on street corners - others have found their way haphazardly and without artists' signatures to flea markets in various countries. Eventually some of these paintings will end up in the works- hop of Bobby Dowler's where, for better or worse, they will meet their fate and be repurposed.
Bobby Dowler deconstructs his materials with his hands, tools and utilises paint, staples and glue, in order to assist the evolution of them into roughly-made ‘painting-objects'. Each painting-on-can- vas gets separated from its original wood-support (which is also later re-used in a wrong way!), re- worked, built up, broken down and partly destroyed, leaving only partially mutilated paintings and somewhat disfigured wood supports.
It is as if Bobby somehow wants to get inside the ‘painting' so that he can turn it inside-out.
Finally, after a protracted struggle (sometimes weeks, months, years pass), something unintentio- nal happens in his workshop and this surprise action helps guide a work towards it's eventual completion.
We continue with our programme during this summer holidays. We are traveling accompanied with several works by artist that we have invited to use a towel as support.
We will show them around the Spanish coast were we are going to spend our family holidays.
Our goal is to share a contemporary painting proposal out of our usual environment.
Elena Blasco, Razvan Boar, Ernesto Burgos, Enrico Della Torre, Bobby Dowler, Jorge Diezma, Sabine Finkenauer, Ricardo González, Robbin Heyker, Victor Jaenada, Rasmus Nilausen, Beatrice Marklund, Mattea Perrotta, Humberto Poblete-Bustamante & Alfredo Rodríguez.
If a painting is a window, a tiny painting is a tiny window. The smaller the window, the bigger the difference between the worlds that it separates; this explains why looking through a keyhole is the ultimate form of voyeurism.
It is as if, in order to see something intimate, we inevitably have to peek through a tiny gap. One gets the impression that if the window gradually got bigger, then the worlds that it separates would slowly become the same, until, if they were to merge, we would be left with nothing but an empty white loft, with little to look at.
The idea of putting together a series that includes what we like the most, both aesthetically and emotionally, is present in the mixtapes that we make for ourselves and for our pals, as well as in the collages of images plastered over teenagers' school folders. With this series of tiny paintings, I am trying to do exactly that.
My current works represent an investigation of the possibilities of the space of the painting. My intention is to reach the limits of its capacity to be occupied by elements, signs and mass. The search comes from an effort to discover less explored places and compositions, by legitimizing a gesture or an empty space as the only element in the painting. I work in layers, which often end up collapsing into monochrome, detached from its rhetoric and historicity.
I could perhaps refer to awareness of space, not in the sense of a limited three-dimensional entity, but rather in terms of perceiving the simultaneity of manifest and latent forms. But my interest is not only in how elements appear in a space; rather, it is the space itself that has a place in the experience of the person facing those elements.
I try to investigate the nature of space, through radical manifestations that subvert the usual manifestations, thus allowing its essence to emerge. The chromatic aspect is suppressed for the sole purpose of reducing the pictorial variables to a minimum. In using charcoal, an accessible and elementary material, I try to take full advantage of its properties while using the simplicity of the media as a stimulus.
Enrico Della Torre
"En vez de dibujar me imagino fragmentando la mina de grafito de un lápiz de grandes dimensiones hasta construir una herramienta tubular, horadando una boca que pueda hablar por mi, cantar o callar, echar el aliento y respirar.
Veo claramente que estoy construyendo instrumentos y que las piezas se asemejan a una flauta o una trompeta donde la posición de cada agujero marca el sonido final de la melodía"
Bobby collects and re-uses found paintings-on-canvas and wood-stretcher-frame devices that have been pre-used in the past by others. Years ago, in a state of financial restriction he started to buy these cheaply from street markets however, more recently he has been receiving donated ones presented to him by friends. He adds these to his own artistic offcuts that have built up over the years. Once in his possession he analyses the paintings through separating them from their stretchers and through ordering each (the stretchers too) by approximate size, style, format or shape.
However, in general he will physically manipulate the materials with hands and with tools, often cutting with knife or scissors, applying paint by brush and in general doing whatever he feels like needs doing, until he discovers an unlikely procedural manoeuvre that can instigate the event that will help guide a work towards its final completion.
"Developments are innately unpredictable. Sometimes I won't use a certain painting or its stretcher wood for years, or I might totally destroy it, or I will use a part one day only to put it back in storage for a future consideration the next."
The materials all have their own history, and their particularities serve as an aspect of subject matter, giving Bobby a sense of what to do and how to proceed. During a protracted struggle, a ‘wrong' stretcher is often deployed to connect and frame the painted content.
It is in the nature of the work that he cannot foresee what precipitates the completion of a particular work. The discovery experience is subversive of predictable results and in the end his conclusions are not quite - or just - ordinary paintings, but what he refer to, in his naming of them, as Painting-Objects - that is ‘paintings' that have been reformed into 'objects'.
I thought to myself I should make something to remember summer by so that is what I have done. I used clothes, papers, and other pieces from my home, out of sentimental necessity, to create a likeness. Where objects preserve something of the eyes that look at them, they amass their own lifetimes. Thirty-one summers ago I was born.
Antiquity (The Egg)
The world was born from a crack
in the great egg in the sky:
From the yolk, the sun;
From the shell, the earth;
From the white, the clouds;
Dust became stars;
And from this egg all things hatched
Visions (The Sun)
Hot hell, deep north in the Carolinas
I spend summer away from the city.
Barefoot, bare-chested, sunburnt
I build an egg carrier;
it is a cradle of wood and rope
foraged from the workshop of my grandfather.
He won't see his workshop again,
so I use his shirts and tools to make a
scarecrow, his burlap and drop cloths
become my paintings.
I'll remember how to turn seeds into
flowers and plant them somewhere
between the bamboo and red tomatoes.
Kuebiko (The Finger)
This scarecrow looks like me
It wears the same shirt, jeans, and
boots as me
And it knows what I know, but I feel it
Things without eyes can often see more
In shadows of the sun, guarding eggs,
I reach for it with my finger
Hay un sutil principio de malicia -una malicia juguetona y en los límites, sin objetivo manifiesto ni enconamiento alguno- que recorre prácticamente todos los trabajos de María Sánchez (La Horcajada, Ávila, 1977). Es la malicia del que, como reza la vieja máxima latina, disimula el temor con la audacia. La malicia inocente del que juega con los demás para poder enfrentarse a sí mismo. En piezas performativas anteriores, desnuda contra una esquina, atrapada, casi aplastada por un cristal que rompería al moverse, a la vista de todos, o frotándose Uvas y queso por su cuerpo y entregándolas luego a los invitados de su exposición como ofrendas de otra relación interpersonal posible, María Sánchez sigue esos parámetros clásicos de la performance como una vía para llevar el cuerpo y la mente más allá de los propios límites del performer, y entregarlos de forma ritual al que la contempla. Y, a veces, incluso al que ni contempla ni es partícipe de que está siendo sujeto u objeto de una acción artística. El yo y el otro, contrapuestos casi con una curiosidad relativa rayana en la envidia, o un temor indescifrable a lo que la otredad pueda depararle a uno mismo, es solo una de las oposiciones sistemáticas que, desgranadas con sutileza, parecen darle sentido y unión a un corpus donde la urdimbre es casi tan relevante como la trama. María Sánchez trabaja en la intersección, también en el intersticio, de muchos conflictos tanto intelectuales como emotivos: la realidad y la representación, la presencia y la ausencia, la timidez y la osadía, lo privado y lo público, el robo y la reposición, el cuerpo y el objeto, lo legal y lo ilegal, lo íntimo y lo ajeno, el conflicto y el acuerdo.
Dice la propia artista que "desde que tengo recuerdos, en mi infancia, he querido volverme invisible, y algunas veces convertirme en otra persona". Su propia timidez y su indefensión ante el mundo han terminado por provocar un proceso contrario: una búsqueda incesante de situaciones de conflicto donde encontrarse, a la vez, protegida. Un impulso vehemente y arrebatado de relacionarse con la gente, y una dificultad notoria para hacerlo en los términos socialmente aceptados, habituales. En cuanto a esto, su trabajo termina siempre por convertirse en un revulsivo de formas ínfimas y alcances épicos.
Esta exposición, Atlas Elipticalis, parte de un robo. La artista levanta el título de otra exposición coetánea de otro artista presente en esta misma calle del Doctor Fourquet, convencida de los privilegios del apropiacionismo como un robo disculpable. Quiere ver qué pasa, qué se suscita, cual será el roce. A esta primera pieza puramente textual y sin materia, le sigue un roce más real y aún intangible. En un camino que se revela ascendente, presenta el resultado de varios años de No nos demoramos (2014-hoy) pero también de Metro (2015-16) y Los afectos (2016-17). En la primera serie de trabajos, a base de pequeños robos, se alza con trofeos nimios de lugares públicos, sustituyendo lo robado por algo propio, traído ex profeso de su casa: una taza de café de un bar, una toalla de un hotel, un salero de un restaurante, una planta de un parque... principios de un contacto vicario con el otro, que ha utilizado antes ese objeto -a veces de forma harto íntima, rozándola con labios o con el cuerpo- y al que no conocemos ni vislumbramos, y que se convierte en fetiche: pasa a formar parte de su vida y de su entorno doméstico y queda retratado como tal, en una instantánea. Con todo el asomo de la vergüenza y la satisfacción de la exposición: María Sánchez nunca regresa al lugar del crimen. En la segunda, posiblemente en su pieza más conocida y celebrada, acaricia mínimamente a desconocidos en sus viajes por el suburbano madrileño, mientras lo documenta con su móvil. Son caricias casi etéreas, apenas perceptibles: lo suficiente para que el sujeto pueda darse por enterado o no, pero nunca por ofendido o agredido. Apenas interpelado. Hay también en esto un interés comedidamente antropológico, no exento de cierto poso moral, y una culpa imprecisa, un castigo imperceptible, lógico y usual en una atea que ha crecido inmersa en la cultura cristiana. Y que, como tal, parece conocer bien y hacer suya aquella frase de Feuerbach: "La sensación es el órgano de lo absoluto". En Los afectos, la caricia se torna aún más imprecisa: toca y "se relaciona" con las sombras de los desconocidos. Anoten mentalmente el sentido de esta "relación" que es y no es a un mismo tiempo. Un espacio de nadie, pero cargado de individualidad simbólica. Intersticio.
Hay, en esta exposición, otra pieza escondida. Se titula Injerto (2018) y no ha de ser desvelada, puesto que ha de suceder y ustedes no deben estar prevenidos.
Guillermo Espinosa, mayo de 2018.
Felipe Talo is a 39-year- old man who has a son aged seven.
Felipe Talo is not called Felipe Talo but Luis Díaz.
Felipe Talo does not sign his canvases as Felipe Talo nor as Luis Díaz.
Felipe Talo signs his canvases using other names. For example, León
Fénix. For example, Lotar Fernand, as in the case of the Galería Alegría exhibition.
To sum up: Luis Diaz, aged 39 and the father of a son aged seven, whose
artistic name is Felipe Talo, does not sign his works using the name
he himself chose, but the names of other heteronymous painters
that he created and who have identities, oeuvres and lives of their own.
I have talked about signing canvases but, of course, that is
the least of it. What matters is that there is a presence behind the signature. And as
anyone who has ever suffered a loss knows full well, regardless of the nature
of that loss, great absences can turn into the most intense presences,
ghosts that cover the inner space with a vast opaque sheet.
I'm not putting my signature to this essay as an expert in art (which I'm not) not
as a great friend of the artist (which I am). I'm doing it as a witness,
because I have been close to Felipe Talo in Berlin over the last year
and a half, the period during which he has written these poems and has worked on the
pieces presented here, a time in which he has had neither
a studio nor a home and has lived by renting rooms, eight of them,
and sharing them with his seven-year- old son.
Felipe's response to this unstable and itinerant state of life
was to intensify his artistic activity, not to wait until the end of the
storm but to surrender himself to it and to find respite, refuge and a cave in the
word, a sheet of paper and some coloured pencils, in a canvas and some
oil sticks. It is, then, a body of work in the first person
that does not seek to put forward an aesthetic or to reflect on aesthetics,
but which instead uses it in a bid to survive, to conquer a
territory or to build a home and live in it: a home in drawing,
a home in painting, a home in the word.
These paintings and drawings, these Confessions of a extrem lover,
represent the landing of the artist in the most instinctive and
biological part of his existence, a landing forced by particular circumstances:
the search for a home out of love for his son.
Extract from the essay I, TALO by J.S.T Urruzola
It is 2018. I am thinking about the maps that we used to draw in elementary school where you used a strong line for the outline of a country and filled it in with softer shading. When you ran out of colors you would have to start again keeping the greens and yellows and pinks as far away from one another as possible so nobody would get confused.
When i think about Flat Earthers it conjures a magic carpet and visions of the earth from above. The earth as we know it isn't a thing, it's our experience of everything. A place of magic as much as a chart with a grid laying over it. Flat Earthers presents the work of four artists whose commonality is an embrace of the natural universe, in all its beauty and unpredictability.
Al Freeman's soft sculpture of a blue lobster residing in an aquarium filled with plants is a ersatz flip on conventional home decoration and domesticated wildlife.
Chris Hood presents new paintings rendered kaleidoscopic through backwards application. Using clip art and his own drawing Hood's paintings describe the vaguery that is romance and human experience.
Andy Robertson's temporary sculptures fall apart in the wind and are put back together infinitely by way of documentation. Composed of everyday objects rendered mysterious by their placement, Robertson's sculpture is at once too physical and too ephemeral for the gallery space.
Adrianne Rubenstein paints bucolic scenes of nature, distinguished from reality by their mixed use of descriptive and carefree brushstrokes. "The Flat Earth", a painting named for the exhibition, is a layered seascape with one onerous cloud floating in the sky, taking up all of the space.
La serie Parque Natural está compuesta por doce fotografías en las que se ofrecen diferentes vistas de un parque natural ficticio.
Un camino y un río recorren cada imagen, proponiendo una ruta por una sucesión de escenas: paisajes idealizados construidos a partir de estereotipos, referencias pictóricas y herencias visuales con las que se ha construido nuestra mirada sobre la naturaleza a lo largo de la historia.
Los métodos utilizados para la creación de estas imágenes aluden a la época del pictorialismo fotográfico del siglo XIX, cuando la fotografía, recién inventada, busca sus propios lenguajes y hereda inevitablemente los códigos de la pintura.
Cada imagen está compuesta digitalmente a partir de una biblioteca de fotografías de elementos de la naturaleza. Este archivo fotográfico está creado desde mi entorno próximo, como si de una cartografía personal se tratara, y se fusiona utilizando fondos azul-croma, métodos propios de los efectos especiales del cine. Cada fotografía de Parque Natural es el resultado de un imaginario que recoge diferentes capas y niveles de lectura, entremezclando la relación sensible con el entorno, la mirada personal, proyecciones históricas sobre el paisaje, lo sagrado, lo mitológico, lo político y la mirada analítica de la ciencia.
El concepto de parque nacional aparece en el siglo XIX. Un parque nacional puede definirse como un espacio institucionalizado dentro de la naturaleza, preservado en un supuesto estado originario, una especie de edén a medida de las inquietudes culturales de una época. Aquí se produce un paralelismo entre el concepto de monumento y paisaje. Un monumento construye una memoria ensalzando unos valores y es la escritura de la historia desde un determinado punto de vista, una imagen producto de una ideología. Se puede dar un efecto de monumentalización del paisaje cuando se convierte en depósito de esos valores representando un paraíso perdido que conecta con orígenes míticos. Parques nacionales, naturales y espacio protegidos son variaciones del mismo concepto pero atendiendo a las relaciones históricas con el medio, específicas de cada territorio.
En esta época Estados Unidos pone la mirada sobre sus enormes extensiones de tierra, que ya han sido retratadas por sus pintores paisajistas, influenciados por el romanticismo europeo. Yellowstone es el primer parque nacional y el primer territorio no expuesto a la velocidad con la que la revolución industrial va modificando y explotando los entornos naturales. Estos planteamientos son rápidamente importados a Europa. Por ejemplo, en Francia, los pintores de la escuela de Barbizón, plantean la necesidad de proteger los bosques de Fontainebleau de las sistemáticas talas, mientras que el macizo montañoso Picos de Europa se convierte en el primer parque nacional de España. La montaña pasa a ser el icono protagonista de los parques, el sentimiento de lo sublime; la inmensidad de su escala lo convierte en una atractiva imagen que, sumada a la revolución del transporte con el ferrocarril, propicia la industria del turismo. El Grand Tour, previamente destinado a las élites europeas, se populariza y la experiencia del viaje empieza a ser más accesible.
En Parque natural 1, un camino nos dirige la mirada hacia una lejana montaña, una maqueta realizada al modo de los escenarios del teatro o del cine, aludiendo al icónico monte Cervino. En Parque natural 2, un arremolinado cielo sobre la montaña evoca la furia de los dioses del Olimpo, quienes originaron los relatos mitológicos occidentales. Desde el renacimiento, la pintura ha escenificado los mitos en localizaciones naturales, bosques, ríos, etc. Por eso, a lo largo de la serie Parque Natural he representado igualmente mitos clásicos pero utilizando sus epónimos botánicos, las denominaciones científicas de plantas nombradas a partir de las divinidades. Así, el relato del racionalismo taxonómico de la ilustración se funde con el mito. (ej; Mercurio - Mercuriales perennis).
Como señala el geógrafo Denis Cosgrove, la invención de la perspectiva implanta una supremacía del sentido de la vista en el renacimiento, al identificarse visión y conocimiento. La perspectiva instaura una racionalización y sistematización del espacio, todo es susceptible de ser representado y acotado mediante coordenadas. Al mismo tiempo, los usos territoriales de la época feudal dan paso a una era de apertura en cuanto a propiedad y explotación, a lo que se suma el descubrimiento, exploración y explotación de nuevos territorios, como el continente americano por parte de Europa. Estos cambios proliferan la producción de cartografías, mapas de delimitación de territorios y sobre todo, el auge del género pictórico del paisaje. En Parque natural 7, se ponen en práctica las pautas que Leonardo da Vinci señala en referencia a la perspectiva aérea, una variante en la que la geometría es sustituida por la recreación atmosférica utilizando el color, los tonos claros y azulados denotan la lejanía. En la imagen, el paisaje se extiende literalmente hasta el espacio exterior, siendo la luna el punto de fuga, pero su imagen se acerca hasta el primer plano por medio de su reflejo en el agua. Este artificio visual, que tendrá su máxima expresión en el barroco, funciona en la imagen para representar el sueño de Endimión. Cuenta el mito que Selene, diosa de la luna, se enamora del hermoso pastor Endimión y que mientras él dorme, la diosa lo acompaña reviviendo cada noche un romance de ensueño. En la fotografía, el romance se produce cuando la luna, con su reflejo en un charco de agua, se acerca hasta la flor Endymion hispanicus, planta epónima del mitológico pastor.
El carácter visual del origen de los parque naturales nos remite al encuadre, a la ventana, algo que inevitablemente nos hace pensar en lo que queda fuera del marco, el fuera de campo. Vemos que en la historia de su creación han sido mayoritariamente lugares colonizados, regiones de imperios, territorios donde se aplica la tabula rasa, borrando los relatos y sistemas de relaciones previos, un proceso donde lo trágico está implícito. En Parque Natural 8, desde el mito de los trabajos de Hércules, en el que él debe partir hacia el inframundo, se alude al imaginario de la aventura, de lo exótico, la isla desierta. La escena representa la vuelta de Hércules desde el inframundo una vez capturado el can Cervero, vuelve de una versión exótica de la Isla de los Muertos de la pintura simbolista de Arnold Böcklin, donde exuberantes palmeras sustituyen a los fúnebres cipreses.
Toda cultura se ha desarrollado y evolucionado en mayor o menor medida gracias a la explotación de los recursos naturales, si bien es a partir de la revolución industrial cuando esta explotación se vuelve más agresiva y global. Una montaña, un río o un árbol, pueden ser el vehículo hacia lo sagrado y trascendental, del mismo modo que pueden ser materia prima para la producción. La tristeza de Ceres, diosa de la agricultura, en el mito de Proserpina parece ser muy representativa de esta época. Parque natural 6, ambientada en un paisaje invernal, narra en su versión romana el rapto de Proserpina. La desesperación de Ceres por encontrar a su hija Proserpina raptada por Hades en el inframundo, paraliza el ciclo de la naturaleza provocando un eterno invierno. Para parar la agonía de la tierra, Júpiter envía a Mercurio en busca de Proserpina y es en ese momento cuando brota de nuevo la primavera. En la imagen, la escena mitológica viene representada por la especie acuática Proserpinaca palustris acompañada de la Mercurialis perennis.
La naturaleza ha sido el nexo con lo trascendental en múltiples culturas. En concreto, la mística ha utilizado el paisaje como figura metafórica y espiritual. Parque natural 9 hace referencia a esta proyección sobre el paisaje, con la figura mística creada por San Juan de la Cruz de "la noche oscura del alma". En su "monte de perfección" plantea un recorrido hacia la purificación del espíritu, con un parada en una cueva que invita al retiro eremita, un lugar para el silencio y vaciamiento de los sentidos. El paisaje nocturno es un estado espiritual buscado en la mística, una atmósfera que es representada en la pintura española del barroco con su característico tenebrismo.
En definitiva, Parque natural plantea un paseo por 12 paisajes explorando los mecanismos de construcción de nuestra mirada sobre la naturaleza pero, sobre todo, intenta ofrecer la sencilla experiencia sensorial de un paseo.
Jorge Diezma's exhibition at the Botanical Gardens presents still-life paintings of flower vases that point us to the bourgeois tradition, though executed in a style that gives knowing nods to amateur and genre painting, alongside other abstract and colourful paintings which, in this display, serve as a link and loudspeaker for paintings of flowers. These canvases of colour, which we might (cautiously) term ‘abstract', call to mind, in their size and hard-edge, certain Minimalist artworks, such as a number of pieces by Sol LeWitt or Ellsworth Kelly. Despite their cold outline, however, these canvases painted using many overlaid strata of oil paint generate a texture rich in reverberations of colour and rough impasto; recognisable and somewhat romantic sweeps of the brush - without going quite as far as gesturality - that seem to wish to invite us to appreciate the mere pictorial matter as we make our way from one painting of flowers to another. The piece could be compared with a subway line, with the flowers as the stops and the geometries as the journeys between them.
In these paintings of flowers, it possible to identify another connection, one slightly more deeply buried, with a certain avant-garde genre of painting. The still life was a motif repeatedly used by painters in the early 20th century and, if we look back, we can see there is no ism that did not find in it a good basis for its expression. Bearing in mind that the still life was at the very bottom of the classic hierarchy of genres that held sway up until the 19th century, one might infer that there is a subversive aspect to the choice of the still life as a subject for avant-garde paintings. What artists were doing in such works was challenging the very idea of a hierarchy, understood as a sort of stairway with steps that rise from the insignificant to the sublime. Painting in the early 20th century brought the good and the bad together in the same canvas, thenceforth forcing opposites into a strange contiguity, opposites that till then aesthetics had been bent upon keeping as far apart as possible. The paintings by Derain or Renoir in his latter days are good examples of this cohabitation, but if there is one recurrent pictorial reference for Diezma in recent years, then it is the Italian painter Filippo de Pisis, in whose work painting without any value whatsoever and painting of incalculable value are done using the same brush in a strangely simultaneous manner.
Such a mélange brought with it an entire set of new problems: if the bad and the good are now presented to us together, how are we going to be able to distinguish them? The answer was the rise of criticism, which became essential as a means to establish the value of new works, while at the same time the external signs that indicated that we were looking at an important piece multiplied. The small, tacky work painted impulsively and carelessly on a cheap, cracked canvas demanded a vast white wall, which in turn required a distinctive, immaculate building. In this way, with the passing of time, some of these paintings that were both good and bad were simply endorsed as good. How else could the market value of a work be established or a comprehensible history of art be told? However, if we look closely at many of those paintings again, or virtually any painting produced since then, we can see that they are still good and bad at the same time, and it is fascinating (and sometimes frustrating too) to perceive how opposites cohabit in a tightly interwoven intimacy that is impossible to undo.
What Jorge Diezma suggests in this exhibition is precisely that we halt to look at the paintings just at the moment prior to putting them in their place.
In the novel ‘1984' by George Orwell, the protagonist Winston Smith, a secret rebel, yearns for liberty from the draconian control of Big Brother. During an impulsive walk through the streets of London, Winston purchases a glass paperweight from a junk shop. The paperweight is a heavy lump of glass, embedded in which is a strange pink convoluted object that recalled a rose or sea anemone. For the character Winston, this ornamental object represented something queer, outside the boundaries of the everyday and thereby becoming a conduit through which to project different conditions of being and alternate ways of thinking; allowing him to dream of other possibilities that had been previously oppressed.
The way we interact with objects is based upon specific social values that could infer a certain status or membership to a specific group. The fetish quality of an object can be manufactured and consumed through its branding, cultural status and high production values. When these capacities are overdetermined and the notion of value is associated with an exchange value rather than one of production, the object takes on a significance that is over and beyond its simple consumption. The word fetish derives from the Latin word ‘facticius' an adjective, meaning "made by art" or "artificial". This was translated into the Portuguese noun "feitiço" meaning ‘charm, spell, sorcery'.
When does an object move beyond its original determined value into an overdetermined sign that is not merely consumed but is enjoyed at a level of fantasy, desire and reverence? The fetish paintings are a reflection upon the rituals of African Shaman who use nails hit into carved wooden figures to grant wishes or to dispel unwanted curses for members of its tribe. The original man-made application of the nail is supplanted and elevated to the status of magic, sorcery and wish fulfillment.
Alongside the paintings are two over-sized intricate carved wooden panels that are exact copies of the soles of the artist's studio shoes. The viewer is asked to examine a piece of overlooked tread design from a pair of HI-TEC® squash trainers, which has been re-presented as a ritualistic or ceremonial object. The carvings are not straightforward reproductions but re-authored simulations, which attempt to alter and shift the viewer's understanding of the design's original meaning, value and application.
I got a girl named Atlas,
She gotta work for the sky-ay
And me, I am a slim daddy
But she got muscles oh my-ay.
Thai Phin Dragon
You drive my pink pink wagon
I see a passer by-ay
I pluck the string and you cry.
S - S - S - Snake Snake Woman
S - S - S - Snake Ache Man
T - T - T - Tight hip pocket
You cause me real hard pain.
Oh Snake Woman
I got the devil's atlas
Oh Habibi ri-ide
Fill me up with your chalice.
We play the bury your bone
This is my Ju-Ju- Song
Lipstick - Pickup
Body - Stone
O - O - Oh baby...
O - O - Oh yeah...
I - I want U-U
T - T - T - To - To take care...
Take me ma beby
To the Pa-Palace...
Of Snake - Snake Woo-man
To Lyre of Atlas.
He plays so Goo - Oud
She plays so fai-air
It's so bla-a- ack
So black - her hair.
Atlas I - I
Oh Atlas I - I
I love your shoulders
And I love your hair.
Well, the title refers to Petra, a shop owner from Port Andratx. Fresh Meat is how she is considering me and shark pool is her metapher for Mallorca.
Tempted by the beauty of the pool of Guillermo Rubi we will bring a whole body of work to his fantastic house in the middle of nowhere. The focus will be his beautiful pool which he designed himself. It is 3m depth at the deepest and has an outstanding stairway.
Some of the sculptures will be displayed inside the water that they could only be discovered while swimming and diving. The visitor is asked to bring their swimming suits, their goggles and if they have their waterproof cameras.
Arrastramos, arrastro, al menos desde 1975, un sentimentalismo venenoso que no se va. Tengo en la cabeza canciones, sentencias heroicas, letras, rimas, melodías y armonías emotivas, acordes llorones que me atraviesan el cuerpo, establecen relaciones y condicionan decisiones. Atracción y repulsión que cíclicamente retorna al núcleo de mi cerebro; hace no mucho, también a las plazas de nuestras ciudades. Hacer algo con eso, en pintura: proceso incierto que encuentra en el camino asuntos ya tratados en París hacia 1913 o en Atenas en el S.III a. C.
A sandglass that measures the passage of a single second watches us, immobile.
The seeming quietude is just another time.
That which is slow remains silent, the acute as well, the extremes kiss each other silently for us alone.
How much earth can be contained in a second?
And what do you use this given timespan for?
A few grains of sand, little matter, question our temporality and action.
The entire Earth is sand. Or everything is sand, sooner or later or always.
There are miniatures that look you in the eye.
Buck is the name of the quarter of the village in the southern black forest I grew up in. Actually it's not a real quarter, because it's only an accumulation of five to six houses on a hill at the edge of the village surrounded by woods.
Buck, pronounced [buk] in german, is an old slangword, an idiom of the area for hill. But nowadays nobody uses it anymore nor even knows its meaning. I also didn't know its meaning for a long time. I always liked the sound of the word. It has this onomatopoetic quality to me, it could have a certain meaning by its sound, but it didn't have one or more precisely I didn't know.
I used to fill it with a specific content and imagined what content the word could carry.There is an analogy to my paintings. As the idiom Buck, the forms in my works are close to meaning, but do not have a certain substance.
While painting, I like to play the game I used to play with the term Buck. I imagine and fill the forms with a certain meaning. But like it was filling the word with content, its with the paintings, the imagination changes every time I look at them. I find different meanings to it while looking. I get thrown back to myself, mirroring my perception of myself, my surrounding, the world...
Also I can imagine that the forms had a certain meaning, but it got forgotten or it is real somewhere else (like it is in english for example).
TIRITITRAN TRAN TRAN
Las alegrías las empezaron a cantar en Cádiz mientras los franceses intentaban vencer la ciudad. Ya se sabe: con las bombas que tiran los fanfarrones se hacen las gaditanas tirabuzones. Emplea el compás de la soleá, ese cante grande y dramático, pero tiene un aire festivo. «Cantar por alegrías», aunque uno no sepa nada de flamenco, es una expresión hermosa. Ocurre, sin embargo, que suele confundirse lo festivo, lo alegre, con lo superfluo. Hay una alegría que dice «aunque pongan en tu puerta / cañones de artillería / tengo que pasar por ella / aunque me cueste la vida». Vale que no es un verso de Góngora, pero me dirán ustedes si ahí, en esos cuatro octosílabos tontos, no están resumidas la mitad de las verdades del amor.
«¿Cómo voy a hablar de estas cosas tan terribles sin color y sin humor?», me dijo Elena la única vez que hablamos. Me contó que su proceso comienza cuando se encuentra un material. La arcilla le parecía que era como una tela. Después, trabajando con ella, entendió que la idea de un Dios alfarero no era descabellada. Con las lanas, algo similar: una fascinación. «Nada es racional», me dice. «Hacer las cosas sin saber por qué es lo más interesante». También me dijo que para ella la decisión de comprar o no un material es una batalla, igual que si estuviese pintando. Una refriega de estímulos que no sabe muy bien qué pretenden. Va a ciegas, sin premeditación, y se topando con las cosas por el camino. «Yo lo acepto graciosamente».
Al color le pasa lo que a los cantes ligeros, que lo toman por frívolo. O por decorativo, esa palabra que con tanta crueldad se usa en arte. «El color es el gran desconocido del mundo». Bajo esta divisa, la obra de Elena Blasco despliega una paleta atrevida y luminosa, cuidada y precisa. Hay en todo ello algo liberador. Las cerámicas de esta exposición son una presencia amigable y hermosa, una atrayente yuxtaposición entre lo pulido y brillante y lo mullido. Hay en ellos como una naturaleza de cronopio. Son unos enseres felices con los que uno desearía convivir.
Al fin y al cabo, lo «serio» no es más que una trinchera, que exige llegar con el paso marcado para que a uno le dejen pasar. Si ha de haber algo medio revolucionario, espero que venga cargado de ironía.
Joaquín Jesús Sánchez
This Condition, named after a short text by Lydia Davis. This Condition might be stirred by anything opening, anything dripping, anything tightening or filling, anything coming out of anything else. Infact it could be your very presence in the gallery which provokes this condition, be you man or woman, fat or thin, naked or dressed, or it may be the sounds you make which arouse it; your soft cry or grunt or indeed your movements; your figure slipping in and out of the doorway, your hand searching in your purse, alighting on someone's shoulder or stroking the smooth white walls of the gallery with it's curved corners. C?ould they be little indents in the platitude of our existence?
When we look to Ricardo´s paintings it seems to be somehow contradictory. If we think that the LIDL logo is a result of countless tests to reach a "perfection", it will automatically lead us to something that resulted from something methodical, clean and functional. Unlike Ricardo´s painting that requires a good level of self-discontrol" as if he has no respect for the canvas itself but respects the aesthetic of the logo design.
Ricardo Passaporte rejects his painting skills, focused only in the medium and in the matters, he paints with his right hand as if he couldn´t control the spray can properly or if it was the left hand. There is a relation between creation / destruction where it´s impossible to know what comes first.
El trabajo de AlfreDo DomÍnguez (Madrid 1976) trabajo se caracteriza por una incansable búsqueda a través de la experimentación y un exhaustivo estudio de los procesos fotográficos como fin en si mismos. Una sugerente obra que cuestiona los límites de la fotografía y abre nuevos caminos que desconocemos hasta donde pueden llegar.
Limbo es una instalación fotográfica donde priman los efectos y las consecuencias de la acción de la luz sobre las superficies y las emulsiones que encierran los restos de un material documental, un material compuesto de una serie de imágenes que nunca llegan a ser puestas en evidencia, imágenes de las que se ha perdido información a consecuencia de los propios procesos que intentan revelarlas, pero que sin embargo son el verdadero detonante que conduce a las piezas que componen la exposición. La instalación quiere dejar entrever la presencia de un material que existe en otra parte y que es prueba de una experiencia pasada registrada en forma de imágenes fotográficas susceptibles de ser olvidadas. En esta instalación predomina el uso de emulsiones holográficas, fabricadas, aplicadas y reveladas por el propio artista, estas emulsiones son de delicado trato y cualquier variación durante el proceso afecta profundamente al resultado final produciéndose multitud de posibilidades plásticas que dejan su huella y merman la información contenida en las imágenes primigéneas.
The combination of such brazen scenes and such a singular palette make it tempting to imagine that Michael Horsky's paintings are the progeny that would have resulted if Goya's cartoons had been painted by De Sade. Horsky practises a painting so rude to the spectator that it would fail were it not for the fact that there is something hypnotic in his works that forces us, amid the heap of bodies, so many gonads and so much aberration, to continue looking at them.
Even though Horsky's painting is figurative, his commitment to representation is open to doubt, not just because of the way his subjects are fragmented and remixed, but because of the fluidity of his brushwork, which is fundamentally decisive and placed at the service, not of figuration, but of a sensuality that reveals itself through the voluptuousness of the colours. The inhabitants of his tumultuous scenarios are heaped up and gasified and, as a result of the dissolution of their edges, we are offered a kind of profoundly pictorial, powerfully colouristic vapour.
The formless, as philosophers have said at length, tends to be immoral. In our nostalgia for clear and different ideas, we remember that confusion only leads to failure. The crudeness of the scenes Horsky paints is based on this idea and is twisted by the artist through his use of traditionally decorative forms: pastels and oval and round formats. Decorative, deeply bourgeois art demands the soothing and the inoffensive. In contrast, Horsky presents a catalogue of deformities and elongations that are unlikely ever to preside over a tearoom. Clearly, it is not just a matter of the gruesome nature of the scenes but the way they are produced. In the line or brushstroke, we see a selfless determination, a violent and contingent exercise that applies the colour of an intentionally kitsch palette. The spectacle Horsky portrays confronts the spectator, and only if the viewer is able to hold its gaze beyond his initial and more than justified rejection of it can he enjoy the sensuality of a sinuous and playful painting. The ease with which Horsky resolves expressions and gestures is very often astonishing. He paints by layers and the final scene, the one closest to the surface, does not necessarily tell of the others. Horsky's painting buries his subjects without any concern for them or, for that matter, the spectator. Horsky is only interested in his painting and is prepared to ride roughshod over everyone and everything else.
Joaquín Jesus Sánchez
The Ethernal comedy of the creatures.
When we look at ancient sculptures, we expect them to talk to us, but the fact is that they do not even see us, they "ignore us". The "botany of death" cultivated by the West has turned these "mutilated traces" of bygone civilisations into lifeless museum pieces or "art of the flower-pot". These are words taken from the beautiful argument put forward by Chris Marker in Les statues meurent aussi, which takes us back to the times when these "severe dolls" that we call idols were the "guarantee of accord between man and the world".
The pieces by Stefan Rinck bear witness to the breaking of this pact between life and death. They are aware of the silence of the stone, of the profanation of their enigma over the centuries, of their subservience to Manichaean idolatry and demagoguery.
As an act of humility, though one imbued with a delicate irony, Rinck demonstrates, for example, the impossibility of interrogating an African mask: his subconscious mixes it with the vision of a GDR Stasi agent and a hipster from the Neukölln neighbourhood in Berlin (Observer).
He uses sandstone, the same type of stone employed in medieval capitals and gargoyles to reassign diabolical characters to the rich bestiary of Graeco-Roman and Byzantine times. He restores the signic ambivalence to these sly monsters (simians, dragons and the like).
He plays with ambiguity and misunderstanding by laying down a number of different strata of interpretation in a single icon: pointed hats are a reference to the Inquisition's hood but also to the headdress worn by fairies; ruffs elevate figures to the nobility, but other attributes betray their chimerical status (masks, jester's hats, etc.). Fable and history are inextricably intertwined.
His syncretic sculptures are the result of casting nets out over the history of forms and meanings, eventually joining Mayan pyramids with Brancusi's Endless Column. Both poetics of ascension, based on the belief that we transcend beyond death, are mocked by Pinocchios and other charlatans whose busts crown these perfect geometries.
Skulls are common in Rink's iconographic repertoire. However, far from representing "the roots of the living" (like the ancestors sculpted by Africans or revered by Mayans), they remind us of tragic fates (Orpheus and Eurydice, despotic rulers, etc.) or laughable beings such as Priapus after death, a skeleton with an erect phallus whose regenerative symbolism is cancelled out by its own fleshless condition.
The blind troglodyte led by a minotaur's mask sums up this struggle between instinctive violence and the spiritual aspirations that have always guided human beings, who are incapable of finding a way out of the labyrinth that they themselves have constructed using the bricks and mortar of superstition, deception and an urge to dominate.
The difference between abstraction and figuration-this opposition being viewed in the light of a new strategy to defend the main traits whereby we recognise them-is probably not determined by the aesthetic dogmas that are inherent in and which share in the poetic and presential flow of their respective universes. Rather, it is the outcome of the relationship of these two territories of diverse interpretative signification with and their commitment to Time as the ‘maker' (other, invisible and parallel to the making of the artist) of the formal construction of the work. These two realities are, of course, ‘poetic'; moreover, they are ‘poetic' in the same way that Barthes understood the concept of ‘poetry in art': the search for the inalienable meaning of things. ‘Things', facts, can only be ‘time', but whereas in figuration time bedecks itself as identificatory, relational or historical, in abstraction it chooses to immerse itself in a perceptive emotion that lacks a compass by which to navigate-the cardinal points that that are always a ‘place in history' having been eliminated-opting instead for an oceanic dimension (which is undoubtedly also a ‘place' but one that is unrecognisable, a ‘non-place') that restructures the very idea of ‘seeing'. There is, however, a point at which abstraction and figuration recognise each other in a fleeting shot/reverse shot, coming to see each other before a single reflection. This point stems from a shared desire to prevent any escape, as Pavese magnificently puts it in This Business of Living, in which he says "no thought, however fleeting, however secret, passes from the world without leaving a trace."
In the exhibition of work by Humberto Poblete-Bustamante(Santiago de Chile, 1966) at the Galería Alegría in Madrid, there are as many tracks and traces as there are thoughts and reflections, the former being visible and signified, whereas the latter are invisible and organise meaning. In this show, entitled Ooo SHE DOES, YES SHE DOES!, the artist presents us with works from his "Garden Paintings" series. One highly significant fact when it comes to commenting on the work of an artist with whom I was unfamiliar till now is that this ignorance allows you a certain ‘explicative' liberty, or it places you in the open territory of ‘free' speculation that is not indebted to previous temporal referents nor contingent on prior knowledge of the artist's work or life. Consequently, the analysis forces you to a consideration en abyme, not so much vis-à-vis the artistic work being discussed but instead as regards your own position in relation to it. In short, you have to accept a degree of agitation in your own thinking and writing. Or, to put it another way, you have to re-inscribe yourself in the strange temporal cadence you are pushed into by the very act of contemplating the works.
Are we really certain that what we are looking at is ‘solely' well-executed paintings, canvases painted with an unconcealed mastery in the resolution, strategically positioned blots and bands of optimistic colours, abstractions signalled by the boldness of the brushwork that could be described as ‘cheerful and confident'? The artist is undoubtedly hiding something from us, perhaps unwittingly, and he is of course even less interested in confusing the spectator with ‘conceptual' traps. Even so, it is the abstract imagery itself (so sophisticatedly ‘European' or historical/avant-garde yet keeping at an arrogant distance from these cultural parameters) that leads you to suspect that there is an extra measure of mystery, an additional refined enigma. As we draw closer to the paintings (as they demand and which is advisable), it seems that the abstract ‘oceanic dimension' mentioned earlier recedes, giving way to a ‘figurative' consideration of these blotted canvases. It is now that we see appear, with great subtlety, the signs and marks of the artist's body in motion, the traces of a humanity in the exercise of a creativity that it is always more demanding than it seems; the successes and failures of a pictorial gesturality that refuses to make do with being solely ‘abstract' but also wants to be ‘figurative'. Having reached this point, we can state that the canvases have indeed been painted, but it would be no less important to say that they have also been manipulated, prepared, ‘insulted', blotted or spotted. They have, without question, been lived, but not in the sense that every work has been ‘experienced' (to do otherwise would be impossible) by the artist during the process of its configuration, but ‘lived' as a constituent element in the germination of the piece, and this is what the spectator will interpret as enigma and mystery, or as a certain idea of intelligent and productive artistic clandestinity.
The work of Poblete-Bustamante is undoubtedly ‘Time', but we would not be wrong in saying that it is also expanded ‘Nature', pictorial land art, earth art on a canvas on a stretcher. As you enter the gallery, the ground gives under your weight; in other words, you feel the gravity of your own ‘physicality': the floor of the exhibition space has been covered and maintained using a natural grass lawn. Nature unquestionably also ‘paints'. We can also say that in the artist's work Time-an essential element in his oeuvre-is ‘European', which I put within inverted commas due to the elegant distance from the continent where he was not born but where he lives. Now, the treatment of Nature, which is no less essential than Time, is decidedly South American, namely Chilean, and here no inverted commas are in the least bit necessary, as there is no distance or problem in relation to this reality. I am convinced that the wise union of Time and Nature from different cultural and geographical realities is the main factor that sparked my (considerable) interest in Poblete-Bustamante's work. Yes, Pavese was right: nothing passes from the world without leaving a trace (and this is where the work of this artist becomes strangely ‘figurative'). Of course, the finest art must ensure that the trace persists. In Time. In Nature.
Luis Francisco Pérez
This photographic series reflects on the concept of the landscape as a cultural asset and product. A natural park can be defined as an institutionalised space in the natural environment intended to be preserved in its supposedly original state, unaltered by human hands. A kind of Eden that matchesthe cultural concerns of a particular time, a space for scientific research, a place that will not only safeguard but can also meet the needs of constructing an identity, that can serve as a setting for myths and, from a more practical perspective, as a consumer asset for the eyes, a tourist destination.
Every society develops and evolves to some extent as a result of its exploitation of natural resources, though this exploitation has become more aggressive and widespread since the Industrial Revolution. Modernity, with its tireless machinery, has modified not just the land but also the ways we perceive and interpret places. A mountain, a river or a tree can be a means to reach the sublime, just as it might be raw material for manufacturing, a duality and redefinition wherein perhaps the function of the concept of the landscape may lie.
"I am interested in the possible parallel between the concept of the monument and the landscape. A monument constructs a memory, it extols values, it is the writing of history from a particular point of view. It is an image that is the product of ideology. The landscape can become a monument when it is turned into a repository of moral values, into a representation of a paradise lost related to origins.
This imaginary is always the projection of a particular culture, and in western culture it has been defined by the history of painting, literature, the performing arts, film, etc. In short, an idealised representation of its condition as habitat that must be unspoiled and wild, beautiful and sublime. Humans do not inhabit it, they only look at it, travel through it and interpret it."
This group exhibition is the result of our wish to bring together a group of artists whose work is both interesting and disturbing at the same time. The sellection has been easy - we just have let ourselves be seduced by the pieces, and the mistery they hold. We find very interesting making these artworks talk with each other and see what happens.
Tiago Carneiro da Cunha, Michael Horsky, Stefan Rinck, Lamarche & Ovize and Pablo Morata belong to the same generation and, althought they come from different cultures, they all share a similar way of seeing, understanding and dealing with the artistic work. A common place from where they confront certain obsessions and give birth to these creatures who live in the wrinkles of their brains. This is the engine that is leading them to express themselves from the depths of a subconscious that we feel close even thought is not ours.
The sense of humor is a powerful tool when dealing with these "monsters"; it creates fantasy and, as viewers, it helps us in a world where the rational idea is king. All these artworks come directly from that slow and hot fermented primal mass -not refined, not coloured, not adulterated at all.
These works maintain alive the wild side that can awake confronted sensations in the viewer; that´s why it is important not to forget that Fantasy and Reason allied are the mother of all arts and origin of wonders.
Para la exposición La Leyenda Negra, Talo se inspira en las crónicas escritas por los conquistadores y en concreto, en el relato de Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Un relato para justificar un fracaso. Dos pinturas de gran formato en las que se deja ver el soporte como metáfora espiritual, flanquean una estructura epicoescultórica situada en el centro del la sala. Completan la exposición una serie de dibujos a lápiz con apariencia de grabado goyesco. Diferentes velocidades del tiempo y la materia se dan lugar de nuevo a través del trabajo de Felipe Talo.
En la exposición "Una oveja recorre Europa", la concepción de la pintura gira alrededor de la tensión que se genera entre la materia y la representación. En paralelo a su trabajo más figurativo, como los bodegones de tintes barrocos de grandes dimensiones, ha ido desarrollando una línea abstracta que pone el acento en la materialidad de lo pictórico.
En Masa Cándida, la exposición que cierra el ciclo de Iñaki Imaz, el tema principal es la figura; límite pictórico que funciona como analogía de la frontera entre lo individual, lo colectivo y figura, también pictórica, como materialización de una vivencia personal de la no separación.
En "5 Lobitos", la primera de las dos exposiciones consecutivas de Iñaki Imaz, el artista ha elegido algunas obras que tendrían que ver, con diferentes ensayos de puesta en cuestión de la separación entre lo mirado y quien mira; de ahí las tentativas de comprobación de la efectividad de ciertos límites de la pintura y el deseo de intensificar su capacidad de afección corporal.
Lolo & Sosaku / TORQUE / 12.03 - 27.04
David Roth / Method Acting / 12.03 -27.04
Jorge Diezma / Los ojos de un topo ciego / 15.01 - 3.03 / 2022
ARCO 2022 / Madrid
Kottie Paloma / Dream Decay / 13.11 - 30.12 / 2021
Victor Jaenada / Colectiva de mí mismo / 13.11 - 30.12 / 2021
Enrico Della Torre / Cut Outs Paintings / 15.09 - 30.10 / 2021
Julien Meert / Interface / 15.09 - 30.10 / 2021
Thomas Kiesewetter / Let The Children Play / 27.05 - 16.07 / 2021
Bobby Dowler / <<100,000!%>> / 27.05 - 16.07 / 2021
Stefan Rinck / Abstración bárbara en la casa de los excéntricos / 20.03 - 15.05 / 2021
Xavier Mañosa / Cowboy detrás de la puerta / 20.03 - 15.05 / 2021
Revillo + Poblete-Bustamante + Diezma+ Della Torre / E-XHIBITION ARCO / 2021
Lydia Gifford / Shape I know / 23.01 - 27.02 / 2021
Mateo Revillo / Pentimento / 23.01 - 27.02 / 2021
Humberto Poblete-Bustamante / 1+1+1+1+1+1 / 05.12 - 16.01 / 2021
Jonathan Binet / PIZZA / 05.12 - 16.01 / 2021
Dionis Escorsa / El peso del fotón matutino / 10.09 - 22.09 / 2020
Enrico Della torre + Matthew Musgrave / 20.07- 01.08 / L21 Gallery / Mallorca
Luis Bisbe / disconjuntividad / 08.02 - 14.03 / 2020
Della Torre + Peral + Poblete-Bustamante + Rinck / Feria ARCO 2020 / Madrid
Robbin Heyker / Birding / 16.011 - 25.01 / 2019-20
Jorge Diezma / NADA Art Fair 2019 / Miami
Humberto Poblete-Bustamante / The black sheep eats the best grass / 12.09 - 2.11 / 2019
Bobby Dowler / SUNDAY Art Fair 2019 / London
Alegría Summer Show / 2019
Jorge Diezma / Lo más granado / 08.06 - 06.07 / 2019
Enrico Della Torre / 30.03 - 25.05 / 2019
Alberto Peral / Abertura / 16.02 - 23.03 / 2019
Diezma + Dowler + Imaz + Heyker + Poblete-Bustamante + Smoak / ARCO 2019 / Madrid
Stefan Rinck / MATERIAL Art Fair 2019 / Mexico City
Bobby Dowler / I will find one / 17.11 - 19.01 / 2018-19
Matt Smoak / The Sun, The Egg, The Finger / 13.09 - 10.11 / 2018
Elena Blasco + Jorge Diezma / SWAB Art Fair 2018 / Barcelona
Humberto Poblete-Bustamante + Stefan Rinck / CODE Art Fair 2018 / Copenhagen
María Sánchez / Atlas Elipticalis / 26.05-07.07 / 2018
Felipe Talo / Confessions of an extreme lover / 26.04-19.05 / 2018
Flat Earthers / Fremman + Hood + Robertson + Rubestein / 2018
Humberto Poblete-Bustamante + Lars Worm / Feria ARCO 2018 / Madrid
Jorge Diezma / MATERIAL Art Fair 2018 / Mexico City
Lars Worm/ Bad Harvest / 04.11 - 13.01 / 2017-18
José Ramón Ais / Parque Natural / R.J.B.M / 15.09 - 19.11 / 2017
Jorge Diezma / El florero en flor / R.J.B.M / 15.09 - 19.11 / 2017
Neil Rumming / Feitiço / 14.09 - 28.10 / 2017
Bernhard Rappold / Mondo Cane / 27.05 - 05.07 / 2017
Stefan Rinck / Fresh meat in the shark Pool / 23.06 / 2017 / Mallorca
Iñaki Imaz / Yolanda / 25.03 - 13.05 / 2017
Joana Cera / Lapso / 21.01 - 18.03 / 2017
Stefan Rinck + Wolfgang Voegele / Feria ARCO 2017 / Madrid
Wolfgang Voegele / Buck / 19.11 - 14.01 / 2016
Elena Blasco / Por alegrías / 15.09 - 12.11 / 2016
Sinéad Spelman / This condition / 04.06 - 02.07 / 2016
Ricardo Passaporte / 16.01 - 12.03 / 2016
Alfredo Rodríguez / Limbo / 16.01 - 12.03 / 2016
Michael Horsky / Amores perros / 14.11 - 09.01 / 2015
Stefan Rinck / 12.09 - 07.11 / 2015
Humberto Poblete-Bustamante / Ooo She does, yes She does / 21.03 - 14.05 / 2015
José Ramón Ais / Parque Natural / 24.01 - 14.03 / 2015
Group Show / 15.11 - 17.01 / 2014
Felipe Talo / La leyenda negra / 11.09 - 08.11 / 2014
Jorge Diezma / Una oveja recorre Europa / 01.02 - 29.03 / 2014
Iñaki Imaz (II) / Masa candida / 17.10 - 09.11 / 2013
Iñaki Imaz (I) / 5 lobitos / 15.08 - 12.09 / 2013