“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers”, wrote Hermann Hess in his work The Walker: “Whoever has learned how to listen to trees, wants to be nothing except what he is”. The artist and perform in er Marina Abramović defended in Complain To A Tree to choose a tree in the park, to stand before him and then whisper to him for at least 15 minutes, like a way to cure wounds and be more present in time and space. “Pick the tree you like. Hold the tree tight. Really tight. And just pour your heart into it. “
Because, even without looking at shintoism in Japan and the goshinboku, a tree will always be a sacred temple, with roots that sink in the earth and branches that want to caress the sky, rocked in its flexibility by the wind. I have done it. I have chosen a tree and whispered what I have seen and felt throughout the year, in which art has helped me cope with life and absence, accompanying me with Bacon, Esteban Vicente, Anthony McCall, Gloria García Lorca, Chillida, Sempere, Torner, Berrocal y Chirino, Antonio López, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Blanca Muñoz, Francisco Leiro, Beverly Pepper y George Rickey, Jörg Immendorff, Rembrandt, Christo, Olafur Eliasson, Naum Gabo, visits to the Prado, ARCO, Gallery Weekend etc. A part of my voice and his, I leave it here.
I have wanted to trap that life to prevent from escaping
Who has never felt trapped in battle against oneself? Haven’t we all, at some point, felt like a character from Greek tragedy? I have wanted to trap that life to prevent from escaping. My marks also talk of my interior landscapes and like mud keep a memory: an ode to the wind, its playful travel through zigzag. Green, ochre, soil, white, black…I find shelter in a magical box, immersed in an eternal time which never stops and, in absence of external sounds, I slide my fingers through light and and bang!….as if it was alchemy, everything seems to contain the primigenius elements constituent of the world… One day of this year, I dreamt I was devoured by a giant octopus. My dream was inspired by the work of Hokusai, not half as enjoyable as his prints. I wrapped myself in it, like in the visual poesy of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, ephemeral like I am…. Kaleidoscope tunnels, reflecting metal lamps, geodesic cupolas. Maybe, like Eliasson says, real life is not only what we see, or the information our senses send to our brain. Maybe now here, in front of you, I confess there is another perspective, a point of view that maybe until now I was not able to perceive.
Like in Friedlander´s photos, I feel the bustle of the wakening of a big city between cars and pedestrians, between shop windows and skyscrapers. Everything sounds like a dry and dusty rhythm, like the breathtaking landscapes of the Arizona desert. Maybe also, to the sound of the loneliness of a motel bedroom, inhabited only by the noise and image of a television. Mundane scenes that seem to be at sight, which become extraordinary and foreign to any suspicious they lived here: next to us.
So the flame of existence does not fade in mankind
During confinement, I dreamt of touring art spaces, which is like diving into the history of mankind, where you find the keys to the talk of the past, what occurs in the present and that which the future projects. I have never been more conscious of the fragility of human kind. The house, the space that gave us shelter during almost three months, became part of us. The hosted and its shelter merged, compressing the habits and the ways until forcing discipline to a paused automatism that some might feel close to what they imagine of convents. How does confinement affect the way in which an artist approaches the creation of his work? How is it going to affect the art world and its artistic scene? What challenges do we face as creators and as public in this unknown and oscillating situation, confusing and fear generating?
I stop. Everything changes. Nothing remains. Nothing? “Art should attend us everywhere that life flows and acts… at the bench, at the table, at work, at rest, at play; on working days and holidays… at home and on the road… in order that the flame to live should not extinguish in mankind.”, Naum Gabo
Maybe because of this, I like to inhabit blue. Like the sky I see while I whisper. Blue is for me stillness, equilibrium. The sensation of blue is not cold. It has accompanied me since my first memory, a warm cradle and refuge by this color. Because it is maybe a color of great power: Prussian, ultramarine, Egyptian, Indigo…Blue has a taste. It tastes of liberty. Summer. The touch of velvet. Sounds like a whispered melody. A fresh as well as deep smell… Blue is round, occupied serenity. Eternal blue, never ending. Blue is art. Like Louise Bourgeois says, “you have to start somewhere, the blue color”…And this is how I will start 2021, looking at the blue, waiting for a better year and a year of art lived by the 5 senses.
Thank you to all the galleries, museums, artists and the team that has helped me do my work, that has supported and accompanied me throughout this year.
Photography: Óscar Rivilla
Translation: Covadonga López-Fanjul
Fashion: aubergine and green dresses by Ernesto Naranjo