We would have to search for Miquel Barceló’s art history starting from his birthplace: Felanitx, 1957, where his family is historically known for embroidery, of Can Ronda (from the embroidery or lace house). The artist says that his mother, Francisca Artigues Nicolau Randa, was the one who created the surroundings where he found his primordial soup. She’s the one who, along with his grandmother, promotes sensitive perception, the enjoyable appreciation, and the pleasant reading of the world. So, since a little boy, Barceló grew up in the middle of the freedom of the natural, in a family that supported and promoted his genuine expression through drawing, painting, ceramic, and sculpture.
Barceló says: “When I was a little boy, my mother did oil paintings, outdoor landscapes with easel, but one day she gave me her paint box and she didn’t want to paint never again, with the excuse that it was enough with me painting; weird argument, if you think about it. My daughter is an artist and so am I, and she has never considered it as a problem.
Just as my grandmother, my mother used to embroider, at the very start, tablecloths, curtains, mats… She also embroidered my first initials, MB, on my pillowcases. Until one day she asked me for the drawings of some octopuses to trace and do in a tablecloth. We then started a series of works of joint authorship.”
It is not casual the emergence of spontaneous gestures, strokes, and colors typical of who has the facility and incentive of freedom of speech.
Barceló: An Artist without Hierarchic Prejudice in the Arts
Just as Barceló does drawings for his mother to translate them into embroideries, he expresses with freedom, without restrictions, or in whichever support he does his art. The ceramist tradition in his homeland, without a doubt, must have been a great influence for him. This is due to the fact that Barceló was born in Felanitx, the cradle of ceramists since the third century a.C. The artist, talking about his work method, reveals to us that for him there is a plastic equivalence in which “clay becomes paint, canvas, and drawing”.
“My life looks like the surface of my paintings” Miquel Barceló
In 2010, the artist did, in Caixa Forum de Madrid, a revealing exposition, which I was lucky to attend. La solitude organizative was the exposition’s name and it’s the same as one of his works: the portrait of a gorilla in a corner with a serious face. Connecting with the artist and his work, I dare to say that Barceló develops great part of it on emotional lands that he transform into pictorial ones, lands in which he exposes scenes of his world, of his loneliness. His pieces try to reflect what surrounds him, what happens to him, what he feels. He tries to organize his life in them, pouring it in the canvas and in other supports.
Experiment with Barceló’s Work
Barceló once said “In two thousand years from now, I would like for my work to generate the same excitement that some primitive works of whom artists we know nothing produce”. In the time in which we are living, the technological era, it fascinates me that Barceló brought back the caveman through his work. I wonder: how far back in time will he dare to go?
In this week’s workshop, we’re going to have different tools to express ourselves, and each of us can pick whichever they prefer: threads of many colors, white fabric to embroider a picture we have previously done, clay to put our hands in… We’re going to connect with the caveman that drew in the cave walls where he witnessed hunting scenes, the animals he made his prey and that fed him. We’re going to, as Barceló did, transform clay into paint, canvas, and drawing.
What do you think? A little ambitious of me. Barceló’s workshop will have to last several days; it will surely be a very pleasant trip, let’s enjoy as Barceló does.
Photography: Kyla Jonk.
Styling: Carolina Verd.
Waistcoat – creation inspirated on Barceló’s work, by Carolina Verd.
Black leather pant – Zara colection 2016.
Skirt – Golden Goose Deluxe Brand vintage.