Explorant el traç (Exploring lines – works on paper)

3 out of 5 stars
Explorant el traç (Exploring lines – works on paper)

People like to complicate their lives – hey, I'm not criticising, I'm guilty of it too. Sure, a collection of non-serial works on paper, by artists associated with the gallery, could not be titled simply 'Collection'. And it seems important to highlight the bit about ‘the expressiveness of paper, its dreamy and intimate vivacity’ from the press release, and the fact that paper appeared in China at the beginning of the second century. We tend to forget, however, that paper was conceived as a cheap substitute for fabric, simply for wrapping things, and that somebody who just wanted to make life more complicated thought to paint on it. Come on, as if there weren’t enough walls and pottery to paint on already.

But I’ve got nothing negative to say about the artists that make up this eclectic collection, which includes national veterans born in the 1930s, like Martín Chirino, Juan Genovés, Lucio Muñoz, Luis Gordillo and Joan Hernández Pijuan. This is a group that experimented with surrealism, explored gestural abstract expressionism and continued on various paths from formal anthropology to spiritual landscape painting, moving on to social critique. Then we have the middle generation, the one that has shined since the 1980s, with a kind of resurrection of styles such as trans-avant-garde and referential irony, overcoming the figurative-abstract dichotomy: Alfonso Albacete, Abraham Lacalle and Tomás Sánchez.

What can I tell you about such a diverse exhibition? Well, I have my preferences. Lucio Muñoz’s sketches, in a hyperrealist abstraction style; the always magnificent Gordillo, with an aggressiveness so pleasing that our eyes light up; and the classic minimalist landscapes of Hernández Pijuan, which will live on forever.  I don’t know why, but it seems to me that there is a faint spiritual link between Torres-García and Hernández Pijuan. Two elegant men that evolve toward structural purity without abandoning the poetry – a poetry that, like boxing, is all in the footwork.

And lest we forget the allegorical Alfonoso Albacete, who surprises us this time with a series of disturbing compositions. Disturbing like an Odilon Redon capable of comparing human existence with the life stages of a worm. Kafka? No, more like Nietzsche. So, why do some prefer paper to fabric? Because, with paper, we can get close and create an invisible space of intimacy, because paper is a living, delicate thing that, wouldn’t you know it, has a texture that is sensual enough to complicate our lives.

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