For some time I have become increasingly concerned with how to face the act of painting and painting in general from an internal stance which is as free as possible. Taking various things into account, amongst others; that we live in a society prone to rules and regulations and a structuring of the way we live and think, that complete freedom doesn’t exist, (even though there still remains the possibility of achieving it), and that the desire for freedom isn’t enough to protect a language which is inexplicable because of its distance from reality.
In this way, my work starts out from reality, inspired by the visual reality which testifies to the life force of the city, with special attention and interest in the wall and its graffiti, for the freedom and spontaneity of these expressions and for their connection with the “popular”; being more interested in their idea, visual concept and for the attitude they express, rather than for the formal expression of what they represent.
Before continuing I would like to refer back to my previous work as it bears an important relation to understanding what I am doing at the moment. (1)
In the work of the last few years, this search for freedom came about through destruction; the work grew out of destroying what had been created, using a sanding machine to manipulate the picture surface and recreate something totally different. An act of correction, of rectification of what had just been made; a negation which would lead to an affirmation with the intention of creating a new reality, which found its affirmation in a tangible or to be more precise intangible result, as the result was a texture of emptiness. In other words, in taking away the paint matter is denied, but is inversely affirmed through its own negation. This process culminated in the series “Correction”.
The process of confronting painting through the use of the machine was fundamental because it allowed me to distance myself from the paint, to paint without any control on my part; in other words, as if was painting from outside, without the conditioning of the presumably pictorial. This impossibility of control allowed the work at the same time to reveal itself from its own condition and nature, unequivocally showing chance as a fundamental element in the work; which is to say, without a pre-established control it can achieve freedom.
The act of painting with the machine was important as long as the result of its use didn’t question the painting and that it kept its own freedom; but in the end it became an obstacle, as the method of working became excessively necessary, so that, finally, it began to limit the painting itself because of its dependence on the process. It was at that moment that I decided to finish the series “Correction”.
From then on, having rejected the machine, I understood that the only way to confront painting from a position of freedom, without control over the work and allowing it to attain the desired condition of chance-freedom, is automatic spontaneity.
The starting point for the work I’m doing at the moment is reality, (I consider that my work is more “realist” than expressionist, in that it doesn’t start from an idea or inner impulse, but instead from an external experience), specifically, the city which manifests itself in its walls of graffiti, which reflect the living pulse of urban society. I have always wanted to express myself and communicate through painting; it’s for this reason that I have chosen graffiti as a basis for my pictorial work, for the simple reason that it’s a popular universal form of expression which can be seen everywhere in the daily life of the city.
From the visual experience of this living reality, in the act of painting, I undertake the work in an automatic spontaneous fashion; in this way, there is no script to guide the work, the process of painting is direct and fast. It’s as though in the moment in which I am painting there is a channeling of experienced visual reality towards the canvas; the aim is to transform this reality into painting.
In confronting the act of painting like this it allows me the freedom to work in such a way that I can keep the necessary distance from the picture or from the pictorial so that, in the instant in which I’m painting, the picture declares itself without pictorial, strategic, formal or rational considerations; in other words, like painting a picture from a distance with the objectivity necessary to avoid being involved or conditioned by the subjective idea of the picture. The objective is the painting, but maintaining the necessary distance from “I” the painter.
I’ve titled this series, “Campo Policrónico”. “Campo” - field, as well as the spatial sense of the word, in this case also refers to a determinate space where a whole visual world exists, relating to, amongst other things, the optical and the virtual. “Policrónico” is a word which has to do with the multiple and variable, and also, with time (crono) and with graphic art and writing (crónica).
I see my paintings as fields; spaces where multiple energies, elements, concepts, actions, tensions, dictions and signs are revealed, each simultaneously, expressing his own pictorial identity, but, at the same time, also forming a harmonious whole with all the others.
Pablo Rey, Barcelona, Autumn 2000.
(1) In this part I am quoting a previous piece of writing which is necessary to explain the current work.