ALL WHITES OF PAPER

“Connections” is a project launched thanks to the collaboration of the ABC Museum and the Banco Santander Foundation in which an artist is invited to develop a collection of pieces that open a dialogue between a selected work of the Banco collection Santander and others taken from the ABC Museum funds. This initiative tries to promote the diffusion and artistic production around contemporary drawing, so the invited authors work almost exclusively on this discipline.

Guillermo Peñalver, “Yo, dibujando” (detail), 2019

For this 17th edition of the program, the curator Óscar Alonso Molina has invited Guillermo Peñalver. This illustrator and paper lover has been inspired by the work “Modulation number 66” (1976) by the Argentinian artist Julio Le Parc, from the Banco Santander collection, and from the ABC Museum he has chosen three illustrations: “Brígida y su Boda ”(1929), by Emilio Ferrer; “The boy and the showcase” (1924), by Ángel Díaz Huertas; and "The Manly Man" (1932), by Antonio Barbero. Around these selected pieces, Peñalver has developed a project that takes as a starting point his day to day in a precarious context in which the most common and homely actions mix with the time and space dedicated to the creation of his work.

Julio Le Parc, Modulation no. 66, 1976. Banco Santander Collection

Under the title "Autorretrato en interior", the artist recreates scenes of his daily life in pieces of large format that merge the technique of collage with the pencil drawing. Overlapping cut-offs of different papers, he plays with the many shades of white, from ivory to pearl. The images take us to a known environment, to everyday situations in which we can recognise ourselves and find our own personal history.

Guillermo Peñalver, “Ser tú” (detail), 2019

Peñalver wants to convey with this collection the presence that the creative spirit has in his daily life and the lack of resources that artists sometimes face. The scenes show a shared space, where the resting area and the workplace blend in, making it clear that it is not always possible to own a private studio to create; but, at the same time, it is remarkable the naturalness with which the artistic desire is part of the author's life hardly without transition between the different activities of his daily work.

Guillermo Peñalver, “Máscara”, 2018.

The author shares with the viewer the intimacies of this creative process, where the smallest detail can trigger a desire to cut, fold and draw. The set of pieces condenses that uncontrollable impulse to create, which permeates each of the elements of its reality. The result is an intimate and honest work, where situations and thoughts materialise in clean and delicate pieces that need attention, not only to notice the depth of the white colour, always used intentionally, but to discover all the details, the invisible work, the care put into these everyday scenes. Peñalver subtly opens his inner world for us to find him as a spy looking through a window, and faces the naturalness of the home and things done without artifice or imposture.

ABC Museum. "Autorretrato en interior" by Guillermo Peñalver. Until 15th September.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.