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Virtual Exhibition

Xavier Corberó


Corberó, privat
Start 09/01/2017
Exhibited from February 21th, to April 26th, 2005 in Fundació Privada Vila Casas

Personal and Private, Xavier Corberó’s Capacity to Surprise

 

Political, social and generational

Ideologies have become largely irrelevant.

What matters now is the strenght of the

imagination and the capacity to surprise, to amaze.

Bartosz Zurawiecki, 1997

 

 

Entering the private universe of Xavier Corberó is no easy task! I do not know if the assignment I am setting myself could be referred to as “taking the bull by the horns”- something I would never do out of an inherent respect for all animals- but we will be advancing on a territory where humanized animals play as great a role as human beings.

 

The nerve centre where I mentally situtate Xavier and...


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EXHIBITION PAINTINGS: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Marit
2008
Sculpture
Marble and iron

In 2008 this artist, who has work in major collections around the world like New York’s MoMA, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, offered a more intimate exhibition at the Fundación Vila Casas. In that show the drawings, sculpture and painting showed a private side of the artist; by revealing himself to us we came to know him better, as he constructed himself through the anecdotes of his youth. In this piece in marble and iron we have a portrayal of marriage. The “spouse”, with his sad eyes, has lost the capacity to speak as he looks outward. The artist’s sense of humour and capacity for irony and satire makes us wonder if this is what Corberó really believes, of if it is simply a way of challenging or provoking us.
En Jordi
2002
Sculpture
Rose portuguese marble and iron

This delicate marble piece presents a synthetic portrait of Jordi. The artist quite frequently works with the simplification of forms, ultimately looking for the essence or specific details of what is being portrayed. Corberó’s highly unique and intuitive way of seeing things, so special and infrequent amongst artists, allows him to specify the features that compose and define something, its core characteristics. We might conclude that this could be the serious side of the model’s face, with its half-smiling expression, or the gaze suggesting someone worried, represented solely by two dots and two lines along the eyebrows. Corberó here pays attention to the smallest of details so as to draw out what corresponds and is strictly necessary, creating a concrete identity.
Dibuix preparatori d'En Jordi
2002
Drawing
Graphite on paper

It is interesting to observe how in the preparatory studies for his sculptures, Corberó is already at work on the conceptual synthesis of the subject. In this case the lines of the drawing are like reliefs, contrasting volumes and specific surface rhythms. There is a certain primitivism in his work which helps demythologize the represented subject, bringing us closer to the perception of Corberó’s reality. As a fervid believer that technology ends up diminishing human intellect, Corberó works as a craftsman, giving as much importance to the process as the final result. In this drawing we see how the concept holds sway, with the final sculpture emerging from the creative process. As Corberó himself has said: “One thing I am clear about is that the transcendence of art is a lie. Everything is transcendent.” With this premise, Corberó does what he does, charging any given action with transcendence.
"Que no". Desacuerdo radical
2005
Drawing
Mixed media on canvas

Corberó is an artist who develops pictorially in a way that is fully disconnected from the need to create an artistic identity. This quality or characteristic should not be confused with a lack of maturity; rather, it has to do with the artist’s capacity for multiplicity, as a sensitive, vital person who quite often has us participate in his particular universe. In Corberó we perceive a great sense of humour. Two roughly drawn characters are set face to face, pitted against each other in this “radical disagreement”. Truth is we have no need to know who these people are. It is enough to know there is “no way”, that no reconciliation is possible and that what is important about the image is just that, conflict itself. In terms that are powerful and simplified, Corberó expresses this with his energetic lines, confirming that these two people are not going to agree. They end up confronted forever, here beneath our watchful gaze.
No em facis això que m'irrita
1960
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Corberó’s work does not fit into any artistic movement. It frequently shifts from art informel to abstraction to surrealism, perhaps under the influence of Dalí, Man Ray and Duchamp, who he met in Cadaqués. Thanks to them he was able to go work in New York. Xavier Corberó has many stories to tell that help us understand his work. He expresses himself in an obvious manner, though not in any negative sense of the term: for him, obviousness is often proof of what we are not able to perceive. No em facis això que m’irrita [Don’t Do What Irritates Me] is precisely such an indication of what is obvious. It is a work in neutral tones with a single red spot, like a visual rash. It is a sign of this way of working, recalling a phrase that he himself repeats in one of his interviews: “If you know a few things and know how to explain them, you can explain a painting, and a painting that has to be explained is bullshit; that is how almost all of them are.”
Autoretrat verdader
2002
Drawing
Ink on paper

This artist quite often shows us humanized animals, caricaturized figures that are exaggerated, demythologized depictions full of life. Here Corberó is a horse, not because we say so, but because he claims this status so insistently that there is no place for us to disagree. It is thus a “true self-portrait”, his vision of things, so there is nothing to be said. His ironically amusing self-portraits are fresh and bitterly satirical. What sort of reaction is the artist looking for with this piece? No doubt he wants to entertain us, to make us laugh. For Corberó there is nothing worse than being bored. He is full of life, entertaining himself and having fun with the games he comes up with. So who knows: if we pay enough attention, maybe we will even find the resemblance.
Samurai
Sculpture
Polyester with graphite

It is quite clear that for Corberó the materials used for his sculptures pertain to the creative sphere, working as motifs. For him, stone has natural connotations, and he considers stone to have a special value for its connection to nature. We can also see his predilection for certain materials in some of his public sculptures; indeed, he himself has spoken of basalt as one of the noblest of materials. This volcanic rock has an almost meteorite-like or outer-space quality in some of his creations. In contrast, the artist speaks of his youth, recalling how his drive to create, along with his lack of income and the respect he had for certain kinds of stone, led him to make visits to cemeteries to “obtain” marble to use later in specific pieces. With Corberó we see a man with a great passion for material composition, placing emphasis on the physical dimension as well as the spiritual component of the organic. Samurai is exemplary of his respect and admiration for form. The rock is cut in such a way as to work perfectly within the artist’s schematic vision. For Corberó, art is nothing more than nature itself.
Blanca nit
1960
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Corberó had a solitary childhood. His mother died when he was young and his father fought in the Civil War. Was it his solitude that enabled him to develop his powerful imagination? Where did this capacity to understand reality in such a synthetic way come from? What characterises him above all is the freedom he expresses himself and creates with, valuing individual freedom above all else. This is what makes it possible for the individual to create unconditionally, set off from social norms and the perceptions of others. Blanca nit [White Night] is a piece dominated by darkness. Blacks and toasted sepias stain the night we are looking into. Yet we should not forget that the artist has said that this is a “white night”. Perhaps we should learn from Corberó’s capacity to look upon this night uninhibitedly, perceiving the tones it emits.
Taxi
1995
Painting
Mixed media on wood

Corberó was an avid traveller in his youth. First he studied at the Escola Massana, founded by his father together with Llorenç Artigues. After spending time at the Central School of Arts in London, he did his first solo show in Munich. Later he would travel to New York, helped by certain artists closely tied to surrealism. In 1979 he set up there more permanently. Fascinated by the United States and American culture, and convinced that New York was the capital of the art world, he absorbed the full range of visual stimuli around him. The work Taxi, from 1995, emerges from out of this experience. Once again he synthesizes reality, staining the wood yellow to give the piece the essential quality of what it represents. The letters make up an image with a poster-like quality, with both the “T” and the “I” working as volumetric representations recalling his sculptural work.
New Mexico
1981
Painting
Oil on canvas

This powerful piece is austere, while evoking connections to ethnicity. It would seem that the artist, in his ongoing search for essences, has sought here to express the soul of New Mexico. Every detail is carefully adjusted: the burlap, the static composition, the earth tones and the way the cloth is coming apart at the edges. The piece draws us in to a solitary landscape that is empty and simplified, what is almost a desert though with a single silhouette as the main image. It is like a trace of a landscape that found itself imbedded in the very soul of the artist.
Cielu Miu
1981
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

El sobre reservat
1995
Painting
Mixed media on wood

Sentiments
1960
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Fred
1981
Painting
Oil on canvas

Naixement
1960
Painting
Oil on canvas

Chile
2002
Sculpture
Rusty cast iron

Baix de pressió
2002
Drawing
Ink on paper

Entrada
1962
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Tardor
1981
Painting
Mixed media on canvas

Enamorat
2002
Drawing
Marker on paper

Nit de pluja
1962
Painting
Mixed media on canvas





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