CAT | ESP | ENG | FRA
Facebook Twitter Youtube Pinterest Youtube Linkedin Foursquare

Virtual Exhibition

Amèlia Riera


A poc a poc
Start 30/09/2019
Exhibition held from September 16th to December 11th, 2010

Amèlia, Slowly

(...) We are rational beings with antiquated emotional brains, that evolve enormously slowly.

Marina according to Mac-Lean1 We walk slowly through the places and times lived in, as if our scenery is constantly transforming within a travelable picture where the speed of change produced by knowledge is fused with “the slowness with which we are able to alter our feelings”. The sequence of the text on Amèlia and her work goes from the outside towards the inside, as if it were a trail left by life in its passing. When her world opens up to the exterior we start on a course that progresses backwards, where the sea at night (black) and by day (white)...


read more

EXHIBITION PAINTINGS: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Omni tempore
1995
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Pintura
1962
Painting
Stones from different cities on wooden support

Cadira. L'hi van portar enganyat
1971
Sculpture
Manipulated object

This chair is the only example of a sculpture found in the exhibition. This does not mean that the artist has not made more, but it does point to the fact that most of her production has been in painting. Here we might observe a chair, an object that appears throughout the artist’s work. With these chairs we sense presences, as well as solitude and lack of communication. In this case the chair we find recalls a torture apparatus, with a variety of objects set over the metallic structure, as it takes on meanings that we might not expect. The quotation “L’hi van portar enganyat” [Tricked into coming], placed on the lower part of the structure, enhances the dramatic message the artist sought to express. With objects like this we can more clearly perceive the artist’s connection with the surrealist movement. Objects are presented as sculptures, like here, or in collage, where a set of objects might reveal the characteristic world of Amèlia Riera. The object takes on greater importance and meaning within surrealism thanks to Marcel Duchamp. It is precisely in this artistic tendency where the object reaches it highest degree of transformation.
La gran bouffe
1986
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Here we have one of the most significant works by this artist. What we see is above all her interest for classical architecture, reflected in the columns and the small temple, which are seen in many of her works. Riera’s scenes recall many of the empty environments depicted by De Chirico, where lifeless architecture is front and centre. The artist, furthermore, chooses the triptych format as it allows her to draw the viewer into the work, not allowing us to be simple spectators; we are called to participate and to feel part of the scene on the canvas. In sum, we are called to inhabit these solitary landscapes as well. This participation of the spectator will reach its highest degree of splendour with the inclusion of small pieces of mirror on the canvas, reflecting the viewer and turning us into part of it.
Mundus eroticus nº 1
1991
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

In the work of Amèlia Riera, as Francesc Miralles so deftly explains, there are two important themes: death and eroticism (Eros and Thanatos). They are subjects that, furthermore, have been omnipresent in Western art for centuries. In this work, the artist presents us with a hidden eroticism of the characters: we do not see nude bodies that might suggest the subject, but rather the two legs that appear on either side of the canvas, as a symbol of what this eroticism might be. Riera does not literally depict sexuality or the body, she creates an ambience, a feeling, an undefined presence that the spectator captures and translates into what the artist wants. The bat, a symbol of death, flies over the couch, where we can sense a human presence, as suggested by the cloth draped over it. Something that particularly stands out, and is clearly visible in this painting, is the influence of classical architecture on the artist. In 1977, Riera travelled to Italy, where she rediscovered Renaissance culture and architecture. From that point on, the work would have a significant Italian influence; both Renaissance and metaphysical features would be creating spectacular atmospheres.
Nocturne Tempora nº 1
1990
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Diem ex die nº 20
1996
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Autoretrat nº 1
1986
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

The first thing that catches our eye in this self-portrait is the artist’s penetrating stare, along with the skeletal hand. Amèlia Riera paints herself as someone closed off, observing what is happening in her world through a small opening. The hand suggests that some sort of barrier is blocking her from leaving. The gaze perhaps evokes nostalgia for the past; the artist’s memories are important in her work, and are presented before her eyes through her paintings, while she looks upon them intensely. These very memories are transformed into the objects and symbols represented here, such as bats, symbols of death, which are drawn from her brief series on vampirism, being the only feature of that series to be depicted in later works. There is also the sea, a vital feature of the artist’s painting; it enables us to leave those closed, claustrophobic rooms from her earlier period, finding respite and fresh air in the immensity of the waters, the vanishing point of each canvas. The sea would be the first aspect of nature that the artist included in her work. In any case, in this case we do not look upon the sea from out of a window, as it ends up covering the very floor of the room.
Autoretrat nº 2
1986
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Catre pecho
1974
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Amèlia Riera created a body of work featuring its own language, as derived from surrealism and magic-tinged trends, where architectural and interior structures are predominant. Symmetry and perspective play an important role and are the focal points of these paintings. In this piece specifically, death is present, as occurs with many other pieces from the period. It is depicted through the presence of ghosts, which cannot be seen but are sensed by the breast-marks left on the bedsheets and the traces of figures on the chairs. It is important to observe how the artist does not choose traditional iconography to represent death (such as skulls or skeletons), opting rather to insinuate it. The viewer does not see death physically, but rather the scene and its mood make it present. The dead person is lying on the bed and all we can see is the mark on the sheets. Four more presences seem to mourn the loss, seated in their respective chairs.  
Pintura
1961
Painting
Oil on canvas

Etc... nº 1
1996
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Et caetera nº 3
1990
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Pensant en Brossa
1999
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Pintura
1991
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Sèrie blanca nº 5
1986
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Sèrie Onírica nº 211
1993
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Sèrie Ofrena nº 2
1986
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

In the mid-1980s we saw certain shifts in the artist’s work. Interior spaces were diluted: we no longer see closed rooms, but rather larger spaces with wide windows flanked by columns. As with the rest of her work, symmetry is present. In fact, Riera would always acknowledge that the symmetry of her work might be unsettling for those viewing it. A bed in the centre of the painting is the symmetrical axis; on either side of it we see two chairs. We often find rooms or ambiences prepared for two people to live in, although these individuals never appear. The chairs, couches and tables seem to be prepared for people who will never come into view. Francesc Miralles related this to the artist’s frustration, the absence of what is desired and what has never been had.
Sèrie Onírica nº 108
1992
Painting
Oil on canvas

Amèlia Riera invites us to the theatre. In this work, she presents an open stage with a neo-classical structure. On the pediment we see the initials “S.O.” (for Oneiric Series in Catalan); the full moon, in the upper left, diligently watches over what is happening on the stage. The main character is a dead tree that can be seen in many of the artist’s works. A solitary tree, it is placed right between two chairs, a symbol of persistence against the adversities of life. The tree, as Glòria Bosch states in her catalogue text, “reinforces the concept of uncommunication. It takes you into an interior space, right between two absences, the two empty chairs whose backs are turned to us.” In contrast, Joan Perucho situates Amèlia Riera’s painting within the Venetian genre of the capricci, a very characteristic feature of 18th century painting. This caprice was nothing more than an imaginary architecture made up of components taken from real architecture, laid out in an invented scenario. With her invented scenes, Riera seeks to transpose reality. Here this is seen with these high or alternatively narrow columns, which in fact would be impossible to erect.
Sèrie Tribut nº 13
1982
Painting
Oil on canvas

Tríptic
Painting
Mixed media on wood

Sèrie Tribut nº 114
1976
Painting
Oil on canvas

In the series called Tribute, the artist presents us with a set of closed, mostly dark rooms, where she intensifies the lines reaching to the vanishing point, indicated in white; it is as if they were light rays coming from the lamps hung above. They are pointed towards the object in the centre of the composition, which in this case is the bathtub. The towels hung on either side complete this bathroom composition, which is always watched over by the presence of a solitary tree, a characteristic feature of many of Riera’s works. The presence of the tree could be related to an episode from the artist’s childhood. As she herself explains, during the Civil War, deeply affected by the proximity of death, she comforted herself by crying at the base of a tree. The tree did not have leaves, and thus exemplified the tragic situation the country was going through. Amèlia Riera always went to cry at the same tree, she recalls tenderly, so that her mother ended up calling it the ‘tree of sighs’. In this way, the tree is a symbol of an era distinguished by war and death. Indeed, death would continue to be the dominant subject of her work.
Tríptic del demà nº 8
1986
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

In this triptych we can see a feature that the artist began to include in the 1980s and has continued to do so since. We refer to the appearance of an independent, or better said complementary space in the lower part of the canvas, as if it were the predella of a Gothic altarpiece. If we pay attention to this, we can see that Riera has placed a painting within the painting; in this case, in the lower part of the central composition of the triptych we can see an architectural feature similar to the one in the main work, although devoid of objects or presences. The arrows on either side of this small composition help us to orientate our gaze. We can also see that the rooms are no longer hermetically closed in compositions like this. We begin to see large picture windows framed between Corinthian columns that lead us to the vanishing point, where normally we find sea and sky, always depicted at night, with the moon watching over the scene. Absolute darkness is dissipated, and we see how mild sources of light begin to enter into her paintings.
Tríptic Oníric nº 3
1992
Painting
Mixed media on wood

Tríptic Oníric nº 7
1990
Painting
Mixed media on wood

Tríptic del demà nº 201
1986
Painting
Mixed media on wood

Tríptic del demà nº 1
1986
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

This is one of the many triptychs that the artist would paint starting from 1986 on. In general, Riera presents us with large, open spaces, with the symmetry that characterises all her work. In this case, however, the artist wants the viewer to enter inside the picture: if we place ourselves right in front of the work, we are immersed in the composition; it is as if we were being drawn into these rooms, an effect made even sharper with the triptych format. The side canvases embrace the viewer, inviting us to come in. The flooring, which is always checkered, leads us directly to the vanishing point, which in this case is a dark door with a point of light that seems to call us to come nearer. The checkered floor emphasises the notion of perspective, a direct influence of the Renaissance painting of Giotto.
Cerraduras
1964
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

This piece testifies to the moment when the artist had moved past her most informalist period and began to work on the subject of locks, closures and doors. As Glòria Bosch explains, the locks and doors refer to the enclosed, suffocating effect of a sexist society—we should keep in mind that Riera was a pioneer in the struggle to bring changes to a world run by men. We might also think of this piece as the introduction to all her later work. It is a canvas depicting door locks, which might allow us to enter a series of rooms; these rooms, in turn, would come to obsess the artist in later years. Without trying (or perhaps she is), Riera invites us to explore the locks that open the doors to her fascinating, mysterious chambers. Virginia Woolf, in her work A Room of One’s Own, spoke of private, personal space that is closed and locked with a key. We will see how these rooms that Amèlia Riera invites us to enter are initially hermetic, in an almost sinister way; they feature older architectures, which could be related directly to the artist’s personality. This kind of painting would end up evolving, as can be seen in the works found in this exhibition’s itinerary.  
Pintura
1961
Painting
Oil on canvas

This piece from the 1960s is an example from the artist’s most informalist painting period. With its dark chromatic range—something seen frequently throughout her career—, in this painting Riera presents the characteristic traces of this style, where colour and form take precedent over any storyline. Abstraction, indeed, is fully present in all her works from those years. An important feature here is the geometry, which slowly but surely would evolve from less formal structure and space towards symbolic composition, where structure would become part of the artist’s characteristic symbolism. As we will see, geometry would be the key feature for the artist in developing her imaginary realm, which we might find perturbing and unsettling. Her geometry is connected to the esoteric and sacred domain. In this way, if for the artist’s earliest informalist stage we can speak of geometries, later in her career this geometry would be transformed into architecture, without however abandoning the troubled mood she seeks to express through her work. Architecture was a fundamental feature of her art, and, as we shall see, would end up determining its meaning.




BARCELONA
ESPAIS VOLART
Temporary Contemporary Art Exhibitions

Espai Volart Telèfon E-mail Localització
BARCELONA
CAN FRAMIS MUSEUM
Contemporary Painting Museum

Can Framis Telèfon E-mail Localització
PALAFRUGELL
CAN MARIO MUSEUM
Contemporary Sculpture Museum

Can Mario Telèfon E-mail Localització
TORROELLA DE MONTGRÍ
PALAU SOLTERRA MUSEUM
Contemporary Photograpy Museum

Palau Solterra Telèfon E-mail Localització


Subscribe to the newsletter © 2019 Fundació Vila Casas   *   Legal disclaimer & Privacy policy   *   Cookies policy   *   Site map   *   Anunzia