QUINTANA MARTELO INTERVIEW. "PAINTER AND MODEL" IN ART MADRID WITH THE GALLERY LUISA PITA

"The process, precisely that path, is perhaps what interests me most in my dialogue with painting."

Quintana Martelo (Roxos, Santiago de Compostela, 1946), participates for the first time in Art Madrid represented by the gallery, also from Santiago, Luisa Pita. The Galician gallery presents a monographic proposal that includes a series of sculptural and pictorial works from the project "Painter and model, P&M", where according to the artist, the creative process is the key to his dialogue with the painting.

Manuel Quintana Martelo has among his multiple commemorations, the Galician Culture Award in Plastic Arts, sponsored by the Xunta de Galicia and is also the President of the Royal Galician Academy of Fine Arts.

Quintana Martelo

Painter and Model, 2019

Cartón, lápiz, cola y óleo sobre papel

168 x 132cm

Luisa Pita is participating this time in Art Madrid with a monographic proposal. What pieces by Quintana Martelo will we find at the Fair?

Indeed, it is a monographic proposal where I resort to an idea that has already been, worth the redundancy, recurrent throughout the History of Art and that other artists have already touched. One of the best known is the series "The painter and the model" by Picasso, or the representations which Lucian Freud has painted himself with his model, or we have even seen Rembrandt, Goya, different artists who have resorted to this kind of cornerstone of the "painter and model". For this reason, I base the idea of the whole project on a large central piece that is at the same time the definitive piece, the one that opens and closes this circuit where I integrate all the elements that revolve around an artist's studio. We can find both the human model, as other constant elements in my work, and the working tools that coexist with me in the studio.

Currently, you are one of the most renowned Galician creators, can you tell us some curious anecdote about your career as an artist?

I think that all artists have at some point experienced things that have been surprising. For example, I've had to dismantle a piece in the street because it didn't fit in the doorway or anywhere else in the house of a client who bought it from ARCO in the 80s, or I've had to climb up other pieces with ropes on a façade. And then I have some curious anecdotes, because sometimes, when you do landscape in the street, you take elements from the surroundings and situations always arise with the public. A curious one that happened to me in Madrid not many years ago, maybe 4 or 5, when I was working on the series of "Containers" of those that are located in the streets, I saw one that caught my attention, I took my camera and went to the center of the street to capture it in the angle that I was interested in, to capture the light and so on, and suddenly a worker came out with a wheelbarrow and says to me: "hey, hey, what are you doing", and I say: "a picture", "but are you from the City Hall? to which I answer: "no, no, I just want to take a picture to paint it", then he answers: "ah well, look, the truth is that yes, you need a coat of paint".

On another occasion, in an exhibition in Caracas, the penultimate day a man comes to talk to me and tells me that he is interested in my exhibition and all the paintings I had not sold. This took me by surprise and I told him: "well, we'll talk and see what you have to offer", then the gentleman said: "let's see, I want these works because when I see something I like I buy it, I take it with me, at home I paint it a little over, I erase the signature and sign it as mine". And then I point out: "you know what I say, you can go home and paint, because of course you won't touch these paintings".

Quintana Martelo

Materiais, 2014

Bronce y madera

32 x 24cm

In your artworks there is usually a confrontation between the object and the plane, between abstraction and figuration, what do you want to achieve with this dichotomy?

In some way, within this dichotomy of abstraction-figuration or representation-non-representation, I try to maintain the plane as the main element and what is understood as two-dimensionality of height and width, the integration of the work within a given context; and when I work on this plane I try to create a fusion between what is figuration and non-figuration, always thinking about integration. This is something that already haunts me, although perhaps in the last 20 years my work has been more clearly accentuated. But since my beginnings in Catalonia there was a part of me that was very creative with the object, with the model, with the situation, with the somewhat academic context of painting, and there was another part that was what I began to learn and live in Catalonia which was the contemporaneity of abstraction, discovering abstract artists that I didn't know, seeing in museum exhibitions those abstractions that I used to see only in books, and I started to be very interested in that language, especially when I discovered the American abstract expressionists, who were the ones that stayed in my retina with more intensity. From then on, and for the last 20 years, I have maintained this language.

In your work you practically deal with all the artistic disciplines (drawing, watercolour, painting, sculpture, collage) and it is incredible how you master the sculptural technique, can you tell us what is the process you follow until you reach the final piece?

As you yourself say, it is the process, precisely that path, that interests me most in my dialogue with painting. It's something that always concerned me and interested me, and in recent years I've magnified this idea of showing the process, and it's also what I manifest in this project for Art Madrid. All the little itineraries and twists and turns that are involved in making a work or carrying out a piece appear. This whole process interests me very much. The encounter, the journey through the painting, is something I am very passionate about, always translated into the pure exercise of painting, which is something I cannot let go of, even though at some point in my life I came to abandon painting, but it was something very punctual because I immediately realised that I could not do it. The sculpture appears at a certain moment when I realize that with the volume and with the three dimensions in reality, and not in the plane, I can turn around the model. This allows me to make an infinite number of drawings, which is what in some way brings me closer to the three-dimensional, which in the plane and in the painting I wasn't very concerned about, but there I am attracted to it. To be able to turn the model, to be able to see it in all the angles and to draw it a thousand times around.

Quintana Martelo en su estudio de Galicia 600:400

How does the project "Painter and Model, P&M" that you are presenting at the Fair come about? How do you think this project will continue to evolve?

It's not the first time I've resorted to monographic projects. At the end of the 70s I made a series called "Chronicles from Rembrandt", which was based on the painting "Woman at the window" by this author. This, together with political moments of the time that called my attention, such as the revolts in Nicaragua or the political situation in Spain, interested me and integrated into my painting.

On another occasion I dedicated portraits to my friends, collectors and artists. I painted them without them posing, through a photograph or an image I retained. In the series "Containers", which is very significant and I hope to show it complete within a year, I worked on street containers as if they were an anthropological value of contemporary urban architecture, elements that at that time are part of architecture, like large still lifes with waste, but I am attracted by their light, their impact, their image, and with this I spent about 6 years working.

At this moment I have started with the series "Painter and Model" because I don't want to close it in the "Painter and Model", because it is a bit typical. I want to open with it the study to a model that is not material, but a human model that has life, that moves and in that sense, this is a little bit the beginning of that work and the end I can't predict, it is always unsuspected. It is precisely this point of uncertainty or ignorance that attracts me.

What do you expect from a fair like Art Madrid?

I've known the Art Madrid fair practically since it started, and it's a small fair that was born a little off the back of ARCO, which is, so to speak, the big fair; but it's a fair that, on the other hand, doesn't have the managerial corsets, especially in the last few years, that you see at ARCO, that you have to go with a certain "uniform", with certain proposals, and where it seemed that everyone proposed absolutely the same thing. I think that Art Madrid is more open to that dialogue and you can see a pictorial or artistic context as wide as the one of ARCO, but without those weird gestures of turning the nose up at figuration or an artwork that is within what ARCO did not defend very much, which is the value of the artist within his work, the figuration or the figurative context, etc. I have some expectations that will also depend on the public when they come to Luisa Pita's booth and see my work.

 

The cultural agenda gradually recovers after the health-crisis halt and art lovers are eager to enjoy the rich cultural offer that the different spaces and museums throughout our geography have to offer. In addition, one must remember that these centres have made an enormous effort to adapt to the demands that the new situation imposes and have created abundant online-accessible content to overcome confinement. We bring you a selection of content that can be visited both in person and through the web. There is no excuse for not enjoying contemporary art again.

Olafur Eliasson, “En la vida real (In real life)”, 2019

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao continues with its exhibition dedicated to Olafur Eliasson and offers numerous resources to understand not only the exhibition but also the work of the centre in the assembly and installation process. The website allows us to expand content with interviews with the artist, the download of the audio guide and the vision of the curator Lucía Aguirre, who offers us different video-pills on the pieces in the exhibition.

"Olafur Eliasson: in real life" brings together a part of this artist's work since 1990 through sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations that play with reflections and colours. Likewise, the integration of elements such as moss, water, ice, fog... put the visitor in a situation that confuses the senses and tries to challenge the way we perceive our environment and move in it.

Regina de Miguel, “Isla Decepción”, 2017

The Botín Centre in Santander hosts the exhibition "Collecting processes: 25 years of Itineraries" which brings together the work of 25 of the 210 scholarship recipients who, to date, have enjoyed the Botín Foundation Plastic Arts Scholarship, started in 1993. With the works Lara Almárcegui, Basma Alsharif, Leonor Antunes, Javier Arce, Erick Beltrán, David Bestué, Bleda and Rosa, Nuno Cera, Patricia Dauder, Patricia Esquivias, Karlos Gil, Carlos Irijalba, Adrià Julià, Juan López, Rogelio López Cuenca, Renata Lucas, Mateo Maté, Jorge Méndez Blake, Regina de Miguel, Leticia Ramos, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Teresa Solar Abboud, Leonor Serrano Rivas, Jorge Yeregui, David Zink-Yi, the exhibition is a good example of up-to-date and young contemporary art contributed by artists with very diverse profiles.

Clemente Bernad. Series “Ante el umbral”, Madrid, 2020

The Reina Sofía Museum wanted to create a visual chronicle of what the confinement and the tragic numbers of infected and deceased have meant for the lives of many of us: a tale of pain, nostalgia and uncertainty made by the photographer Clemente Bernad. This exhibition, curated by Jorge Moreno Andrés, is entitled “Before the threshold”, a title that expresses the strange sensation that occurs when faced with something new and unknown, something that we cannot control or avoid, and that we all must go through. The alteration imposed on our lives unexpectedly is reflected in the streets, transformed into places of solitude and abandonment where life has been paralysed.

Mario Merz / No title, Triplo Igloo, 1984 MAXXI Collection

At the IVAM, the exhibition "What is our home?" brings together works from the IVAM collection and the MAXXI centre in Rome to propose a reflection on the space we inhabit seen from a personal and social perspective. It is about investigating the value that these spaces have as a home or refuge, as well as part of a city or community.

The exhibition, curated by José Miguel G. Cortés, also wants to delve into the feeling of those who feel like foreigners anywhere, because they do not identify with the habits or customs of the society, they do not fit into these social patterns, and home becomes the only shelter space that can adapt to their identity needs.

Martha Rosler, frame from “Backyard Economy I-II”, 1974 © Courtesy of Martha Rosler, 2020

Es Baluard Museu is committed to video creation and performance and hosts the monographic exhibition “Martha Rosler. How do we get there from here?” dedicated to this New York artist who pioneered the use of video as a mechanism for social and political analysis. This exhibition includes various works, from video to photography and several publications, which synthesise her main lines of discourse. Her concern for public policies and the social equality of women has led her to actively participate in numerous social movements in La Havana, New York, Mexico DC or Barcelona, and these experiences are present in one way or another in her work.

With the curatorship of Inma Prieto, a selection has been made within the abundant production of this artist, which presents one of the most coherent careers in towards-the-new-Millenium contemporary art.

Image from file, via meiac.es/turbulence/archive/acceso.html

The MEIAC - Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, host the works of the prestigious international digital art archive "Turbulence", a platform dedicated to network and hybrid art. In view of the inevitable closure of this institution, the MEIAC has offered to host all this valuable content collected since 1996. The uploading of the file also served as an opportunity to restore numerous pieces and convert formats so that files that had become obsolete remain readable by new systems. A huge job of conservation and updating that can be enjoyed online today. The archive is made up of hundreds of digital works from around the world that can now be visited remotely.