Beyond the influences of Abstraction and Informalism from his first phase, Joan Hernández Pijuan (Barcelona, 1931) defines and bases his own pictorial syntax on the reconsideration of space, understood as an element of composition that stems from the positive consideration of emptiness. The idea of the void is consolidated as a pictorial space through landscape painting, represented in the pieces, and the accompanying selection of graphic works, that comprise this exhibition, realised between 1972 and 1992. This collection bears witness to the language the painter uses, leaning towards the virtually abstract simplification of the motifs and intimate spaces represented.
In Pijuan's work the order of composition prevails over expression. The earliest of his pieces displayed here, Espai verd amb (1973) and Escala 1:80 (1974), show great simplicity and, as the art critic, Miguel Fernández-Cid, points out, “his early organisational frame of mind”. The allusion to the measurable quality of landscape is not in vain (whereby the background becomes the surface of the piece) as he introduces signs and coordinates that turn the painting into a topographical view, as seen in Alzina horizontal (1974). Running parallel with these works is the series of canvases that always feature the familiar scenery of the La Segarra region in Lérida, Catalunya, and are based on the modulation of colour; in these monochrome-like paintings his chosen colours are always from nature (ochres, yellows, greens) and he does not attempt to produce either descriptive or emotional pieces, (disassociating him from the usual comparisons with painters like Mark Rothko), creating instead pictorial exercises of personal memory: Paisatge horizontal (1973), Espai daurat (1974) and Vertical ombra (1977).
In 1982 his series Buguenvil-lees a Son Servera marks a turning point in his painting as he branches out to incorporate landscapes of himself and leaves behind his slow and meticulous brush strokes, for instance in Pati amb xiprer (1986) and Catedral (1986). The binomial figure-ground manifests itself and comes to the fore as Pijuan introduces graphic elements, with this pictorial shift illustrated in the etchings El Marroc hi ès present (1988) and Flor verda (1988). The themes are reduced to a house, a flower or a tree (La morera, 1989 and Comiols, 1990) in the return to monochromatic painting that causes the surface variations to originate from the effects of the compositions (Núvol blanc II, 1991). Lastly, the emphasis on the idea of limits and space that frame the landscapes, calling upon the attention and silence required to fully comprehend them (Évora rosa II, 1991, Sobre d´un paisatge verd, 1992 and Rosa, 1992).
Museo de Monterrey, Mexico (July 29 - September 26, 1993)
Reina Sofia Museum's Publications