The retrospective exhibition dedicated to Gustavo Torner (Cuenca, 1925) aims to highlight the multifaceted character of one of the most outstanding Spanish artists living in the second half of the twentieth century. Torner joins the group called Cuenca, which emerges in the fifties and is close to artists from the group El Paso, he exemplifies the possibility of an art that will never abandon references to the real world as a reason and rationale, from a seemingly abstract visual vocabulary. The compiled works include the various registers and techniques used by Torner: painting, sculpture, collage, drawing, monotypes and bibliophile collections, added to which are fourteen video projections over some of his work.
Present in all the works is a strong sense of construction and spatial composition, it stems from the idea of collage in order to raise it to that of assembly. This becomes evident in the configuration of diptychs and polyptychs as with Medida de la vida (to Jorge Manrique) (1975) and Cuatro cuartetos-Cuatro estaciones (to T.S. Elliot) (1979), also examples of their artistic tributes, as well as in sculpture, an example being La rectitud de las cosas (1988). On the basis of this conception of his artwork is his willingness to rethink the physical essence of the piece and to confer meaning to each fragment.
The exhibition begins with his early works, produced between 1946 and 1955, a preface to settling on artistic practice: a collection of botanical plates painted in watercolours and a set of photographs whose subject is nature and which are portrayed on the first plane (Pine and poplar logs, plastered walls, roots, rocks and dry brush). In these photographic images the seed of his early paintings is found, which by their titles and the painting process refers to an obsessive recreation of nature, its colours and surfaces: Rodero (1957); Negro-apergaminado verdoso (1960). In the case of the paintings, from the late-fifties, along with oil, he uses other non-artistic materials (sand, feldspar, hemp, latex, aluminium). On the other hand, he creates a rigid compositional structure in his paintings by dividing the picture plane into two fields, in the upper and largest part he develops a colour field; in the lower part he concentrates the experimentation of matter and exhausts the expressive resources of materials used. Both because of the processes and the incorporation of pieces of reality to the work, Torner approaches the international trends of Informalism and Neo Realism. As for his work as a sculptor, whether his works are of monumental or smaller dimensions, they are pieces characterised by conceptual and technical complexity.