Art Madrid'24 – THE SEDUCTION OF MYSTERY

Miquel Alzueta, Robert Drees, Fucking Art, Alba Cabrera and MH Art Galleries

 

The seduction of the unknown, hidden and mysterious, is one of those things that is hard to describe. Many times we do not even know how that feeling begins, why something becomes so attractive or how it becomes a permanent thought. The mystery can be ineffable, because it is not easy to express it with words and, perhaps due to this verbal difficulty, it is more possible to express it through other languages, such as the language of images, the shapes of visual arts.

Hugo Alonso

Son, 2018

Acrylic on paper

50 x 50cm

Jordi Alcaraz

Untitled, 2018

Mixed media

55 x 65cm

The appealing proposal from the gallery directed by Miquel Alzueta comes from Barcelona. In its booth, the audience can appreciate the unique poetics of Jordi Alcazar, an artist who “paints without paint”, who "makes meta-painting, or almost", as the journalist José Ángel Montañés pointed out. The overwhelming and conceptual work of Alcazar invites us to question the very nature of painting, its shapes, techniques and messages, at the same time revealing the narrow (and sometimes conflicting) relationship it may have with literature, or rather with the exercise of reading, something that overwhelms the day to day of the artist. His pieces are small books with dark and deep holes, like a kind of precipices: there is no doubt that literature can calm and even heal a restless mind, but it must not be forgotten that it can become a pernicious obsession for those who love it in excess. Living other lives, starring in the stories of "others" and holding our particular disappointments back, is a great temptation that the artist Hugo Alonso knows very well. In his paintings on paper, in which thriller film hints are revealed, it always seems that something crucial is about to happen, or something revealing has just happened; in fact the seductive feeling of curiosity that the gaze hides, very enhanced in these works by the unreality of black and white.

Andrea Torres Balaguer

Vermilion, 2018

Mixed media

142 x 112cm

The seduction produced by mystery is also very present in the photographs of the series "The Unknown" by Andrea Torres Balaguer: stylish women whose faces have been veiled by brushstrokes, drips, mineralized paint. The mystery, the fascination, the hidden tale or the pure aesthetic pleasure are traits that have characterized the works of the young photographer since her beginnings. Very different female portraits are those presented by the painter Lídia Masllorens: firsthand close-ups sometimes only enlarged details, represented through an agile, liquid brushwork, but guided in a very conscious way. The Catalan gallery closes with the work of Maria Yelletisch, essentially graphic, conceptual and compiler spirit; and with the personal mythology of the, only in appearance, playful Edgar Plans -also represented by the Marita Segovia gallery.

Pepa Salas

Desiderare con l'anima I, 2018

Mixed media on canvas

100 x 150cm

Markus Fräger

Der helle Schein 1, 2018

Oil on canvas

50 x 70cm

Undoubtedly enigmatic are the works presented by Robert Drees Gallery (Hannover). From the figurative, provided by the paintings of Pepa Salas, creator of sensual images and the intriguing stories in which the reality of black and white is usually disrupted with the introduction of discordant elements in colour; or the more expressionistic work by Markus Fräger, in which stories the chosen time is given a complex meaning and sublimated by the artist, who masterfully explores the psychology of portraits and the aura of environments.

Michael Laube

21-17, 2017

Acrylic on glass

40 x 100cm

Jürgen Jansen

Kerames III, 2018

Tinta y acuarelas sobre papel

125 x 158cm

The mystery comes many times precisely from duality, to unite opposite aspects, as does the South Korean artist Sun Rae Kim in her fantasies in rubber and paper: reflecting at the same time on the outer surface and the inner structure, in her work traditional materials of Korean culture along with others imposed by current industrial times are combined. The two most abstract proposals presented by the German gallery can also seem mysterious: the beautiful and ethereal installations in acrylic glass by Michael Laube; or the most hypnotizing and risky paintings of Jürgen Jansen, in which a final layer of the resin often makes them irresistible.

Carlos Regueira

Bosque de Ferrolterra, 2017

Mixed media, photography and painting

70 x 35cm

Alfonso Zubiaga

Binario I. It Isn´t chaos, it´s just Binary, 2018

Photography

83 x 113cm

The artists of Fucking Art present in this edition of Art Madrid an interesting selection of their most recent creations, as the hybrid landscapes by Carlos Regueira, between photography and painting: intriguing from that peculiar solitude, allure from the beauty of the inhospitable. The audience can also find out the new pieces of Alfonso Zubiaga that give continuity to the series "It is not chaos, it is only binary", where the photographer introduces us to the contradictions between the analogue and digital worlds from the depth of lyric nights of strange serenity.

Ángeles Atauri

Árbol y escalera, 2018

Tinta sobre papel

100 x 100cm

Isabel Alonso Vega

Levógira, 2018

Fumes and methacrylate

30 x 30cm

Especially poetic is the work by Atauri: both in her graphic works, where the author reveals a meticulous observation and a deep passion for natural shapes, as in her object-based pieces, where the poetics of repetition are paired with more conceptual issues. The gallery selection closes with the enigmatic works in suspension by Isabel Alonso Vega: smoke, frozen and dissected scrolls inside methacrylate urns that, however, acquire extreme and unexpected beauty. Both for the alternate personality of this gallery, created and managed by the artists themselves, as well as for the nature of their proposals, can well relate to those verses by Neruda that say: "Come on, let's leave / this suffocating river / in which we swim with other fish / from dawn to shifting night / and now in this discovered space / let’s fly to a pure solitude” (translated by Alastair Reid. “The future is space. Memorial de Isla Negra", 1964).

Cristina Alabau

Nº2 Espacio sensible, 2018

Murano glass on corten iron base

55 x 40cm

The entire Valencian selection of Alba Cabrera Gallery (Valencia) includes the exotic landscapes travelled (or imagined) by Calo Carratalá: naked interpretations of the landscape from an absolute interiorization and essentiality of the shapes that seem to speak of a sense of internal exile. Also, essential lines and interiorization of nature includes the work of Cristina Alabau, artist of which the gallery exhibits a set of watercolours works and some of her sculptures made in Murano glass. Here the landscape expresses itself through poetic abstraction as an interior territory full of evoking.

José Juan Gimeno

Entre la Quinta y Broadway, selfie, 2018

Acrylic on board and serigraphy on methacrylate

100 x 100cm

Alba Cabrera completes her proposal with the work of José Juan Gimeno and his reflection on urbanism and urban anthropology. We now delve into the urban and social plots that, through the concrete readings of the works, expose a reality (or a fiction) in time as elusive as it is ours, which paradigms are in the continuous transformation.

Mónica Dixon

Nowhere Nº 8, 2018

Acrylic on canvas

50 x 50cm

Estefanía Urrutia

S. Fosforescencias 7, 2015

Oil on canvas

46 x 55cm

Finally, MH Art Gallery (Bilbao) presents the latest works by four artists. The public can enter the mysterious spaces created by Mónica Dixon: a counterpoint to the mental and visual noise of everyday life, a place of reflection marked by silence, stillness and the play of light and shadow that reveals presences that hide through the out of focus. In the same way, the characters of the oil paintings by Estefanía Urrutia appear from the silence, from the iridescence that exists in daily life, this daily normality in which so many things happen and go unnoticed but could have great aesthetic or emotional relevance.

Thilleli Rahmoun

Sin título, 2017

Mixed media on paper

150 x 175cm

The distortion of the urban web reaches great expression in the work by Thilleli Rahmoun, an Algerian artist especially sensitive to the changing concerns, experiences and ways of life of the contemporary city. Luckily, we can always take refuge in the most ancestral mysticism, as the work by the South Korean Joo Eun Bae offers through her spiritual landscapes turned into abstractions, watery and light but at the same time that compact and textural.

 

Juan Miguel Quiñones. Courtesy of the artist.

ARTE & PALABRA. CONVERSATIONS WITH CARLOS DEL AMOR

I came across the work of Juan Miguel Quiñones (Cádiz, 1979) at a fair and for a few minutes I was transported to the faraway summers of a childhood where everything was possible and the game was endless.

Then we grew up and those memories began to fade, buried under the weight of adulthood and difficult to rescue later because we are always in a hurry and with worries that prevent us from practicing the healthy exercise of looking back.

Juan Miguel Quiñones, self-taught, carves these memories in stone so that neither air nor maturity can take them away. He works and studies with vehemence the materials with which to recreate them, and with that ingenuity that can only be achieved by mastering the language and the technique, he manages to make anyone who comes across his creations breathe a sigh of nostalgia.

The work I came across was a sculpture in black Atlas marble, Triana yellow and travertine. It was Dracula, the mythical ice cream. I did not know until then that memories, always immaterial, can be as hard as marble, cold to the touch and warm in thought.

If you had to define yourself in one sentence, how would you do it?

I consider myself a man with a man's body and a child's mind. I think that's the part that drives me to do what I do and what moves me in my whole artistic world.

Twelve Ice Creams. Sculpture. Marble. 2022.

Charles Baudelaire coined the phrase "My homeland is childhood", in your case it is evident that at least "your artistic homeland is childhood", isn't it?

Yes, it can be said that yes, my homeland can be childhood. Almost all my pieces have a very important memory of my life. They are based on the fact that, on the one hand, I make them tangible, a tangible element, but they take me back to a moment. We can talk about Dracula ice cream, a piece that I think is a mythical piece of mine. It is a very important memory that takes me to those summer moments, to those playful moments, with my cousins, with my friends, without "school" (very important) and always of childhood, which I think is a very important memory for all of us, since we are nourished by that, or at least I am constantly nourished in my work by those important memories that made me very happy. Those toys that my father used to buy me, I make them in stone so that they last forever, as that memory lasts in me, for me that is very important. I think childhood is something that touched me a lot and that I will always carry with me because I am very happy.

When and how was the spark that made you look back and recover for art elements that have marked so many generations?

From the beginning when I started to dedicate myself to this, it was always linked to memories. For example, my first works were abstract and were already linked to my own memories of the sea, the air, the wind, those beaches, Caños de Meca, El Palmar, where I grew up. So they were always linked, unconsciously, and eventually I realized that all my work was going to be linked to the theme of my memories. This whole story evolved and I started with memories that marked me a lot and I made them my own. But at the same time, when I exhibited I realized that I made them selfishly mine, and that no, none of them were mine, but that in the end they were common to all of us. And there began a progressive thing, I can't tell you exactly at what moment because it was something very progressive, but that's more or less how this story went.

Colajet. Sculpture. Marble. Alabaster and yellow onyx. 2020.

I know about your arduous research on materials, the constant search for "stones" that match what you want to show. How is that search process?

Well, the search process is sometimes complicated. Because with natural stones, in their natural color, I make works that represent elements that are often made of plastic or some material whose color is not like stone. Stone is stone and we cannot vary it. Only in some pieces like the ice cream, I make the resin filling, but the other works are all natural stone. The search is very important because this is not like you can call and they bring you the material you want, that's not the way the story goes, and even less in blocks. Within the search I have stones that I buy and other stones that are not commercial, that I look for. I inform myself well about ancient Roman quarries that no longer exist today, where maybe now there is a pine forest, but where I can recover some wonderful stones in that place. In this search for semi-precious stone, which is complicated when I use lapis lazuli, jade or malachite, it is difficult to find large stones, but little by little I am learning and meeting people to be able to find more, but it is quite complicated, since I always try to use semi-precious stone for my material. If you see my work you will see that, for example, the little green camera at the fair - a very important souvenir of mine - is made of jade, which is a marvel because it is quite a big piece, very difficult for me to find, and although little by little I am getting to know who supplies it to me, it is quite a hard subject. There is a material that I like a lot and that is one of the first stones that I started to work with, a wonderful serpentine green, which I take from this same terrain because it only exists in this area. It is a stone that I use a lot, especially when I make collections of my pieces, there is always one that goes with this type of stone from here in the mountains of Estepona.

Drácula. Sculpture. Marble. 2021.

Is there any impossible material?

Thank you for asking me that question. I think that in the end this is a language that you learn depending on each material. When I talk to other people who work with stone, marble, granite -I call everything stone- they always tell me: "This stone is very soft, very easy to work...". The stone that is soft has the ease of being soft but also the risk of splitting before; and the stone that is hard has the fact that it is hard but is grateful in the work because it does not split. In the end this is a language, a language that when you get to control you can attack any material. I have been able to carve from quartz, which is very complicated, to pieces that I make of bronze; they are not cast but I carve them directly, working them as if they were "marble", more or less similar to the work of marble. So, yes, there will be impossible materials, but I haven't found them yet.

Frigopie. Sculpture. Marble. 2022.

In your art the material, the marble, is as important as the memories and the experience of each person with the object represented. Are you aware that each of your works takes on hundreds of lives of its own because each one travels to a moment in his or her life?

As I said before, I realized when I exhibited the first works that I made them selfishly mine, as my own memory, but when I exhibited the work I always liked to listen to the people who came to observe and talked about the experience of each one. Then I realized that it was common to all of us, and that for me is very important because it is something of our whole experience, of our life. That each one is reflected and each one is taken to a moment or a part of his life. Like the smell of when you arrived at your grandmother's house, that her food was unique, and that smell takes you back there when you smell it somewhere else; I love that. To be able to take someone back to a moment in their life with something tangible, that's great. I find it incredible to be able to do that with something tangible, with a stone. Then, the other foundation that is very important to me is that I make the work in stone, which is a material that lasts over time. Saving distances, like the sculptures that the Egyptians have been able to make, the stone material has left something that will last forever. The memory lasts in our memory, and the stone lasts forever, so it combines one thing that is very good: durability, and that is something incredible that I love.

Twelve Ice Creams. Sculpture. Marble. 2022.

Art is a very serious game. I think that phrase would also suit you.

For me art is a game, because all this that I'm doing, the progress, has been like a game. What happens? That we see the artist from the romanticism of art, but then there is the commercial part, that you have to sell and you have to work. It is the part I like the least, even though we have to do it, but in the end, for me art is a fun game. That's the word I would put to it, because if I don't have fun, why do I do it? And that's very important for me, because I have to work a lot, I spend many hours in the workshop chopping stones, which is a very physical effort, but what motivates me is that I have fun, that I love it and I do something that fascinates me. So, art is a fun game.

Where do you think your art is going?

I think I let myself go. I'm still in my studio every day, working, inventing new projects, getting into my world and letting myself go. Let it go wherever it wants. The point is that every day I can enjoy what I do, work on what I like and enjoy my family. That's what matters to me, wherever I want to go, let it go, but let it go with me.