In the Spanish art scene of the second half of the twentieth century, Pablo Palazuelo (Madrid, 1915-2007) advocates and practices an analytical art and represents a willingness to explore the material and symbolic universe through geometric language.
In Paris, where he lives between 1948 and 1963, he comes into contact with the most important artists involved in the concrete-geometric art scene, such as Ellsworth Kelly and the circle of artists from the Denise René gallery. From then onwards he focuses his interests on the knowledge of constructivist art and the study of maths, metaphysics, alchemy and the Kabbalah. The synthesis between construction and mysticism now begins to influence his work significantly.
This exhibition traces the career of Palazuelo between 1948 and 1994 through: canvases, works on paper, artist books and sculptures. The exhibition emphasises the development of an abstract style with geometric foundations which, in the opinion of the art critic Kevin Power, allows us to understand his work as a speculative model of the universe. After a few examples of constructive painting such as Sobre negro (1948), he develops compositions characterised by the articulation of increasingly complex drawings such as Composition abstraite (1950) or Automnes (1952).
Palazuelo adopts a motto from artist Jannis Kounellis: the artist's job is to see and painting is just one technique. In this way, his view of nature breaks with the traditional view of the landscape and he abandons a horizontal view (empirical) in favour of a vertical and aerial one (abstract), based on number, line and energy. This attitude is reflected in his work from the second half of the Fifties, in creating his constructive and aesthetic principle of "transgeometry", in which geometry and emotion come together and with which he translates the rhythms of matter that shape the universe, like in Psello (1955) or in the Solitudes series (1955-1956).
The idea of rhythm is fundamental to his work, from there he derives his way of considering his work a process, by allowing the ability to manage and transform. Thus, works are, and are manifested in, the development and organic growth of their formal structures, which expand rhythmically on the canvas as in the series Orto and series Smara (1969), or in space, like sculptures. As the art critic Fernando Castro Flórez notes, it is geometric three-dimensional developments which are collected on the canvas.
El número y las aguas (1978) represents Palazuelo’s acceptance of symbols as an essential language. Music arrives in later series, not as mere transcription, but because of its numerical and abstract nature. In the words of Power, it represents "the original manifestation of imagination, ideas and matter." The same applies to concepts linked to alchemistry in Sylvarum (1990) or Nigredo (1991), as an attempt to understand the life of matter.
Salas del Arenal, Sevilla (September - November, 1995); IVAM, Valencia (December 14, 1995 - February 18, 1996)
Museo Reina Sofía Publications
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The Turning Point
4 October 2023 - 26 February 2024
27 September 2023 - 22 January 2024
Call It Something Else
Something Else Press, Inc. (1963-1974)
27 October 2023 - 9 February 2024
Text and Image, a Perfect Symbiosis
José García Tella Through His Personal ArchiveLibrary and Documentation Centre