catalog texts

LAND SCAPES OF MEMORY

by Daniel Giralt-Miracle,
Barcelona, December 1989



A new generation of artists is rising in Europe nowadays within this passionate recuperation of the art of painting we are witnessing. These artists take advantage of the return of new expressionismms, of free figuration and transvanguard to search for languages, subjects and manners of expression.


Carles Gabarró seeks deeply into two areas of art: the subject-theme and the experimentation with matter.


His art is an intimate painting bound to intimacy. It is an inmost metaphysical search. Any physical element that turns up in his pictures comes from a psychological experience. The seen things or the memory felt of specific images are not enough for C.G. What drives and estimulates his creation is far deeper, it lies on that stage where perception becomes a memory. He goes beyond the limits of physical objects to carry them metaphysically onto the landscape of memory.


Nevertheless, C.G. is not an artist concerned with intellectual rules or an artist who will show philosophical or ideological methods in his pictures. He is mainly involved in thinking art, thinkint the subjects of art and the process of art.


His subjects are few and symbolic: a small boat; a crate; a tree; roots; towers and lighthouses; fire and blaze; a helmet or a bowl; a cross and some other derivative element that could easily come into what Jung calls urformen, that is, those older and deeper forms: the archetype.


It is compulsory to analyse the symbolism of those elements. The small boat that becomes then a framework on create carries us straight to the idea of navigating and wreck. The tree with a short trunk, thick foliage and deep roots evokes the tree of life, the idee of generation, of growth, of a link between Heaven and Earth. The Egyptian as well as the middle ages symbolism relate towers and lighthouses with rapture of the soul. The limelight becomes a source of light that spreads out limiting space. Fire and blaze have always meant a symbol of vibrating energy, continuously transforming, a starting point for life or an Apocalypse of existence. The helmet or the bowl carry us to the idea of an inverted skull, of a container.


The cross, link of horizontality and verticality, earth's axis, a struggle between two opposed forces, is the symbol of symbols, not only from its universality but also from its soundness. Sorrow, strain and struggle.


Starting from these obvious and real references we may establish a Hermeneutic on the work of C.G. which would develope only in a world of symbols and that could even make us forget of painting. Nevertheless his use of symbols is purely pictorial, essentially formal and makes him toil matter with a passion that reminds the informalist period headed by Antoni Tapies in this country.


This time, C.G. pastes, superimposes, sticks, scratches, mixes colours, varnish and solvents to reach a maximum of expression in a world where the mistery of archetypes becomes a magic setting for sensitive stories.


I believe that only two contemporary artists express themselves with such a deep and introspective firmness. I mean the German Anselm Kiefer and the Italian Nino Longobardi who can transmit their existential pathos to theme and matter.


We may also recall the still life and the 'bodegones' of the Spanish Barroque where the treatment of light and shade drawn by objects create an atmosphere very close to C.G.'s work.


'Peinture-peinture', symbolic memory, mistery, melancholy, introspection, fragmentation of worlds... make up the plastic world of Carles Gabarró, a world that carries his mark.