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Virtual Exhibition

Guerrero Medina


La retirada exilis
Start 09/01/2020
Exhibition held from March 1th to July 17th, 2010.

The Exile According to Guerrero Medina

 

The fall of Barcelona in January 1939 produced a terrible diaspora; half a million refugees attempted to flee to France, taking advantage of the fact that then the head of the French government, Édouard Daladier of the radical party, had authorized the opening of the frontier at Irun, Jonquera and Portbou. This meant that Argelers, a town of some 23,000 inhabitants, saw 353,107 people arrive on foot; entire families with all the belongings they could carry and in a lamentable state after three years of war, had just crossed the Pyrenees on foot.

On 9 March 1939, the Valière Report commissioned by the French government...


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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 22 23 24 25

La retirada 7
2008
Painting
Oil on canvas

La retirada 9
2008
Painting
Oil on canvas

La retirada 8
2008
Painting
Oil on canvas

Guerrero Medina had extensively researched and checked documentary materials about the events over many hours prior to producing this impressive series. As Maria Lluïsa Borràs comments, in one of the catalogue texts, when the painter shows us these scenes and faces, which seem disfigured, he is not intending to reflect the misery, the disaster, the decomposition of that humanity in order to provoke pity or pain, but instead he wants us to go beyond shame, sorrow and grief, and generate a feeling of admiration for an extreme dignity. So, we see the plain faces of people dressed in simple yet clean, neat clothes, who walk tall with their heads held high as if they were not the vanquished but the real victors.
La retirada
2008
Painting
Oil on canvas

La retirada 2
2008
Painting
Oil on canvas

A long orderly line of people moves slowly forward. In this work Guerrero Medina shows the desperation of thousands of people who arrived at the beaches at Argelès-sur-Mer, after the fall of Barcelona in January 1939. Whole families, carrying the few belongings they had managed to salvage, had just made the journey on foot across the Pyrenees. The anonymous faces gradually become blurred as we look along the line. Towards the end we see how the mass of colours ends up merging the human presence with the landscape. The blurred faces and deeply marked contours do not seek to individualize each person but rather to generalize the experience in which the whole population had to resort to exile in order to survive in those ominous years.
El camp
2008
Painting
Oil on canvas

El camp (The camp) is the name chosen by Guerrero Medina for this work in which he shows a group of people behind the wired fencing on the beaches at Argelès-sur-Mer. If we read the words expressed by Robert Capa after visiting the camp, it can help us understand what the artist wants to express in this work: “A hell on the sand: people survive under makeshift tents or straw huts which offer scant protection against the wind-driven sand. To make matters worse, there is no drinking water, just the brackish water from holes dug in the sand”. The pale faces on the women behind this improvised barrier are the clearest illustration of these words Capa expresses about the terrible burden that hundreds of people had to endure.
Platja d'Argelers
2008
Painting
Oil on canvas

Guerrero Medina uses this diptych to give us a panoramic view of the impact of seeing hundreds of people crowded together on the beaches at Argelès-sur-Mer. The horizontal plane is predominant in the painting and by using different planes the artist places us in the claustrophobic context within which the enclosed crowd of people patiently await their fate. The straight blue line of the sea and the cloudy sky are the stage which becomes the new home for hundreds of families during those intense days. One person, who seems to be escaping the multitude, stands out in the foreground. With their hands on their waist, they seem to be challenging the viewer – us, in this case – who looks on from an elevated position, and sees the human tragedy below them.
Versió sobre el milicià de Capa 3
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 16
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 11
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 15
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 17
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 7
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 1
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 8
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Versió sobre el milicià de Capa 1
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Versió sobre el milicià de Capa 2
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Versió sobre el milicià de Capa 4
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

In this ink series, Guerrero Medina pays homage to the photography that undoubtedly best sums up the years of this war. It is the snapshot taken by the photographer Robert Capa which depicts a fighter at the moment of defeat; the rifle in his hand has not saved his life and a shot has just killed him. Guerrero Medina’s obsession with this image meant that he worked on it tirelessly and the result is a whole series of pieces in Indian ink dedicated to the death of this fighter. This shows – as Espadaler states in his text – that chance is also a decisive factor in this tragedy. The dark background promotes the fighter to centre stage as he is about to fall, shot by an enemy bullet. He is seen as a hero who has not managed to survive and with whom hazardous fate has fulfilled its purpose.
Versió sobre el milicià de Capa 5
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Rostre 14
2009
Drawing
Chinese ink on Arches paper

Vençuts
2001
Painting
Oil on canvas

Camí de l’exili (Road to exile) is another piece that creates impact with its immense scale. In this case Guerrero Medina puts us inside a truck cab. In front of it, an orderly line of people – the same one we see in other works in this exhibition – stretches out towards the horizon, en route to the French border. Guerrero Medina radically changes the perspective by placing us inside the scene, as if we were driving the truck. The windscreen separates us from the multitude as it steadfastly walks towards freedom. We have an overview of the almost perfectly formed line, never once losing its discipline; a discipline that perhaps reflects the dignity of each person who makes up this endless human line, into which the viewer – to a certain extent – is immersed.
Camí de l'exili
2001
Painting
Oil on canvas

We are facing one of the largest paintings in the exhibition. This is Retirada (Retreat) in which Guerrero Medina reproduces in a large scale the events which occurred in 1939. A line of men and women snaking through an immense landscape, and in the background the mass of humanity merges into the lushness of the mountains. Certainly, if we look closely, these scenes remind us of world-famous photographs that Guerrero Medina was well aware of. The artist transforms this cruel past into beauty through its range of colours and brushstrokes. He achieves this beauty by the interiorization of these dramatic events and their subsequent expression with the palette. It is not a superfluous beauty, but a beauty in which the artist’s conscience is reflected.
Retrat anònim
2009
Painting
Oil on canvas

Retrat anònim
2009
Painting
Oil on canvas





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