GALERIA SÂO MAMEDE AND THE UNSOLVED EQUATIONS OF GONZÁLEZ BRAVO

The artist from Extremadura González Bravo, talks about his works as "unsolved equations, pieces that share an intimate and symbolic language where colour is the main element". His paintings, full of feelings and mysticism, introduce the viewer to the artist's particular universe, and in turn, to a deeply reflexive reality with space and time as crucial factors.

Justo González Bravo (Badajoz, 1944), has lived and worked in Lisbon since the 1970s. Although Gonzalez Bravo's life has always been linked to art, specifically painting, his exhibition career began in 1980. However, since that date, he has actively participated in exhibitions in galleries, fairs and national and international cultural centres (Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, USA, Canada...). His art works can be found in important public and institutional collections such as the MEIAC in Extremadura, The Commercial Bank of Portugal, The Fundação D. Luís Cascais in Portugal and the A.I.T Collection in Madrid, among others.

Gonzalez Bravo

Sem título, 2018

Oil on paper

103 x 153cm

Gonzalez Bravo

Sem título, 2018

Oil on paper

103 x 53cm

The colour in his paintings, is in the line of the Informalism painters that emerged after the Second World War. When he reaches complete abstraction, the colour becomes the vehicle of the work’s mystical essence, getting closer to the paintings of Mark Rothko, Antoni Tàpies, Antonio Saura or Manolo Millares. In his art works we can distinguish elements typical of Expressionism, mainly in his figures and landscapes, which gradually lead to absolute abstraction.

Colour, shapes and texture give a singular identity to the work of González Bravo. To these elements, time and space are added, components with which the artist creates cyclical processes. The author knows perfectly the landscape of Extremadura, its proximities and zones bordering the Portuguese Alentejo, "an austere, dry landscape, but of an immeasurable depth", emphasises the artist. And this is how these landscapes are portrayed in his works, through colour and gesture.

Gonzalez Bravo

Sin Título, 2010

Oil on board

180 x 150cm

Self-reflection is a constant in his work. With an imaginary canvas and brush he creates poetic instants that flow in space, but the self-reflection of this artist goes beyond that, and stops on the issue of the pigment itself, the colour and its shape, making each art work unique.

The narrative of González Bravo is built on the playing with pure and complementary colours that cover his large supports, without forgetting his illegible added graphics and the geometric stains of colour, masterfully overlapping the backgrounds. The material in his work takes us inside the sublime part of art, making the viewer to have the same mystical experience as the author during the creative process and final execution of the work. His paintings are full of mystery, which gives them an identity value.

Gonzalez Bravo

Sin Título, 2015

Oil on board

162 x 146cm

The Portuguese gallery São Mamede participates for the second consecutive year in Art Madrid with an exhibition proposal featuring four Portuguese artists: Gil Maia, Nélio Saltão, Susana Chasse and Paulo Neves, the German artist Georg Scheele and the Spanish artists González Bravo (Badajoz) and David Moreno (Barcelona).

 

The origins of the art of action can be located in the Dadaist and Surrealist movements of 1920, where the first events or encounters in which the terms collage or assemblage are consolidated sprung up. However, it was not until the 1960s that these manifestations acquired their own entity and became an independent art movement. Action art, also called live art, delves into the idea that you cannot separate the artistic creation process from your own experience, as if everything was connected and true art is what takes place in the processes, not both in the materialised results.

Olga Diego getting ready for the performance. Photo by Marc Cisneros

Allan Kaprow, an artist born in Atlantic City and who gave true meaning to the terms happening or performance, contributed to the evolution of this idea. In the view of this author, art makes sense in the artist's relationship with the viewer in the process of artistic creation itself. Kaprow coined a famous quote on this movement:

The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible.

A tireless artist, he contributed significantly to fluxus and body art movements, and carried out countless "activities" (as he called them) throughout his career. Today we owe a lot to this pioneer, who let himself be carried away by the creative impulse channelled into actions where the ephemeral and the experiential merge.

Eunice Artur & Bruno Gonçalves during their performance. Photo by Sara Junquera

Today performance art continues to arouse enormous curiosity, even 60 years after it was born. However, within the history of art, it remains a still novel and minority trend. Precisely for this reason, Art Madrid wanted to give to action art a room into the fair and share with the big public an artistic experience, different from the exhibition offer of the participating galleries, so that contact with today’s contemporary pulse would become a memory, an event, an experience. The momentary, ephemeral nature of these actions, in such a way that they only exist in the here and now, makes each proposal doubly interesting because it is totally unrepeatable.

The “Art Madrid-Proyector’20” program included four actions during the days of the fair. We have had the opportunity to remember two of the performances in which sound and video image dominated, by Iván Puñal and Arturo Moya and Ruth Abellán. Today we give way to the other two, whose main characteristic is the generation of an intimate space, a kind of parallel reality that raises doubts in the viewer about what they are seeing and how they should understand it.

Eunice Artur during her performance. Photo by Sara Junquera

One of these works was “Partidura”, by the Portuguese artist Eunice Artur in collaboration with Bruno Golçalves, which took place on Thursday 27th at 8 pm. This project explores the idea of developing a musical notation for new forms of electronic sound, and it does so through a live intervention that incorporates plant elements, strings that vibrate with the sound and a lot of charcoal dust so that the sound waves move the elements and “draw” their own graphic representation. The performance shows Eunice interacting with these elements while Bruno makes amplified sounds with an electric guitar. The set is mysterious and poetic at the same time. The desire to transform sound into a pictorial expression unfolds in delicate, measured and stealthy actions to interfere as little as possible in the process. Eunice moves between graphite powder-coated sheets of paper hanging from the ceiling, looking for the proper angle to vibrate strings running diagonally across the sheets. This live creation process is based on waiting and contemplation, wrapped in music that seems like a mantra from other lands.

Olga Diego and Mario Gutiérrez Cru before the performace. Photo by Marc Cisneros

The last performance of the cycle was starred by Olga Diego, on Saturday 29th. The entrance of the fair transformed into an improvised stage in which the artist carried out her action "The bubble woman show". Olga Diego has been working on the concept of flight and its integration into art for some time through artefacts that can fly autonomously, without combustion. One of her most ambitious projects on this subject is “The automated garden”, an enormous installation of a hundred inflatable figures made of transparent plastic that occupied the 1,000 m2 of the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and the Lonja del Pescado Exhibition Hall, also in Alicante. This proposal, in addition to delving into research on the lightness of materials and the ability to stay suspended with maximum energy savings, it is an open criticism of the excessive use of plastic in our environment and its aberrant power of contamination.

Photo by Ricardo Perucha

"The bubble woman show" is an action that involves the viewer. Olga enters a giant bubble of translucent plastic keeping the air inside, and thus, as if she were a soap bubble, she moves through space until she invites someone from the public to enter the bubble with her and share an intimate moment. This personal dialogue is the most unknown and mysterious part of the process and invites us to reflect on situations of isolation, on the return to the mother's womb, on the need to protect ourselves from the excessive noise of this fast-paced world.

Both actions aroused the amazement of the visitors and turned the fair into a space in which live art played a transforming role within the wide artistic offer that the event displays each year.