Miguel Ángel Campano (Madrid, 1948) is one of the preeminent figures in the so-called revival of Spanish painting that takes place in the Eighties and which also includes Ferrán García Sevilla, José Manuel Broto, José María Sicilia and Miquel Barceló.
This exhibition is made up of more that seventy paintings realised between 1991 and 1998 and endeavours to highlight the radicalism and pertinence of the artistic approaches of Campano as well as illustrating the points of transition that signify new discoveries to “make the painting possible”, in the words of the artist himself.
The tension between abstraction and figuration and the contrast between starkness and fullness form decisive experimental components in his work. To obtain this fragmentation of style, Campano refers to pictorial tradition and uses certain themes and French paintings by artists such as Eugène Delacroix, Nicolas Poussin and Paul Cézanne as his starting point. With these elements Campano embarks on the construction of a radicalised aesthetic in which certain energetic lines of Minimalist tradition and the gestural variants of Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell converge, along with allusions to past avant-garde movements linked to Constructivism and Suprematism.
Campano's work, which won the National Plastic Arts Awards in 1996, becomes a site for experimentation and privileged transgression that permanently questions painting from within painting itself. This evolution can be more wholly appreciated after 1991, the year this exhibitions begins.
The exhibit commences with the last paintings from the series Ruth y Booz (1991), pieces that are inspired by L´Été de Poussin and which formally open the way to a new form of coming to terms with painting and the pictorial space. Campano creates structures of black paint fields on a neutral background, which dominate his output in the middle of the Nineties. These pieces are fully abstract, cut off from any narrative content whereby history disappears and all that is left is the painting; the works from this period are identified by the expansion of the subject matter and the desire for compositional and poetic balance, as in the series EH (1993), dedicated to the poet Eduardo Hervás.
Campano's pieces from the second half of the Nineties display traces of his stay in India in 1994, for instance in Raju (1994) and the series Plegaria (1995-1997). In his latter works, from 1997-1998, colour takes on renewed vigour - in LVER Teye, Guillermo, Pilar I and Pilar II, all realised in 1998.
The contrast of his pictorial work with the Palacio de Velázquez' architecture must also be mentioned. Mosaico de San Martín (1998) and Elías (D´après Daniel Buren), from 1996-1999, take up the building's oriental towers and provide the space with a new visual and spiritual dimension.