WORDS AND THINGS
by Manel Clot,
Barcelona, April 1988
In these last years, and because of the work of several contemporary artists, we have often been referring to one specific way of conceiving and, as a result of this, interpreting their painting from an open and wide point of view, making a special mention of its integrative qualities and not at all exclusive, standing out its synchronic condition, not only with regard to nowadays, but also with the presence of the images and its configuration. This is a pictorial option including different situations in the same plane, imaginary or not, and being far from separating them, it joins them together juxtaposed, creating richer and richer spaces, more complex, more suggestive. All this concurrence of circumstances is denominated 'tolerant painting' because of its capacity of understanding and, over all, to its will of doing from the virtual eminent scene that the picture is, a new surface on which things live together, words and situations, all of them linked and ordered after the specific disposition in the different spaces we can find on the canvas.
Some of these qualities can be observed in Carles Gabarró's recent work. His new paintings are clearly connected to the previous work, which was much more anchored into the presentation of vestiges and allusive remains, - an idea more metaphorical than obvious -, though they are showed as a succession of scenes in which the complexity synthetic is ineluctable, and for this reason all of a series of elements, more or less grammatical, raise in units through which the artist builds polymorphic scenes, which, in one way or the other, they keep referring to the same idea that made Carles Gabarró's painting come out: the memory of things, melancholy, the tragical feeling, the recent pastime, the signs as an object substitution and, finally, the allusion to man's moods and to his circumstances, from the past and the coming ones. A11 these wishes imply some sort of attribution to certain assumptions determined as romantic, to those deeper ones, but far from being considered just as fashion, they seem tune up better with what is supposed to be our existence in the world now.
The images casting whom we must face to while looking at these paintings is not a repertoire taken out unitarian and directly from reality or even from its different and possible deformations, nor a scientific reproduction of devices, nor a taxonomic and prosaic inventory, but a careful synthesis in each one of these presences. It is a meaningful operation thanks to whom things we are able to see refer more to the 'word' whom it is designed in the language with than to its own physical status. We are under the metaphor's control or even under the half burned allusion, a control implying not only personal registers and unique -association, meaning, remembrance and work-, as levels of fineness affecting the global view on their symbology, lighter in some cases and closer on the rest, understanding this is a necessary global view to be able and look at these pictures, thanks to their symbiosis of elements and to their particular configuration, for the detaching operations must always be made 'a posteriori'.
Because of this, 'things' lose their material importance and the likely anecdotes typical of this condition, because this is not interesting for us, and there they appear, dressed up with a new or new meanings given by the pastime and so the uses they have been surrounded to. I don't only talk a bout these as possible tools or things endowed physically, but to all the test marking their linguistic line. They have been building their paradigmatic character as a store of feelings, as a well of meanings and as a warehouse of different meanings, affecting somehow to its historical functionality or to its contemporary function. To work with any possibility between this wide range of registrations means to operate in the levels of the rhetoric and the imagination, understood as disciplines notas simple aesthetic speculation, which will lead usto emptythe final appearance out. Evidence must give way to allusion, reference and to fineness; not to cry out, but whisper.
The election of figurative elements conditions, somehow, its own disposition on the canvas and the final configuration on the painting. This can be watched comparing Carles Gabarró's present work with the paintings he made two or three year ago, on which one can hardly watch the possibility of compartment that nowadays and on his newest 'dead natures' paintings, he seems to have developped. This compartment, which is only a particular necessity of order means an important linking in the internal dynamic of Carles Gabarró's work with the use made by the figurative and visuaI recourses, not only referring to the iconographic aspects but also to the way of painting each of the parts. It is possible to find here, having always in mind the global idea of landscapes which is a virtue on this artist (a series of 'seascapes', 'human' 'ideological' and even 'dead natures' ones, remembering the 'vanitas' he loves very much), because it is possible to find spaces limited by visuaI walls cutting the picture into scopes needed one to another, on which the figurative presences in every one of these hold a permanent dialogue as if we were doing a sequence in which parts refer to the whole thing; at the same time we also find an other zone in which an apparent unity is built because of different manipulations related to thetechnics used as much asto the elements represented, which are not exactly what they apparently look. They work as organs related to worlds which are smoothly far from reality.
There are two main subjects which seem to be the center in the artist's reflections: 'dead natures' and 'seascapes". They are an idoneous way to structure his worries, not only the formal ones, being able to think about what the world really means, its circumstances, the artist's own condition, as a person and as an artist he is, and the respective implications on it.
Under those points of view, Carles Gabarró's paintings make me use this special terminology, treated on a very personal way, comparable to some of the positions that triumphed in the 'romanticism time', as far as man's fate and his luck is concerned, leaving away any hypothetic speculation referred to closeness, receiving direct influence from what their figures are and what they mean, somehow much to do with biological references better than biographical, to the hidden lines gone with the thought, memory and man's own status as an individual, through the recurrence to what we could call the vocabulary -always personal- built on the virtue of a new syntactic reinvention and, finally, humanist.