Oct. 02, 2010 / Dec. 11, 2010

Sevilla, ozú qué caló! / comisario: Jesús Reina Palazón


It is difficult to elude its overwhelming presence, ignore its prominence, not to give in to its ambitions. The Spanish heyday, the artistic scene south of the great temples of contemporary art, is enormously wide and vastly plural, full of already renowned names, with its younger-than-40 profiles, and it would be a historic irresponsibility not to recognise it. Not all generations are as brilliant nor as prolific as this one; however, neither as disparate. Almost as many things unite them as the ones which tell them apart, but they have chosen – sometimes by chance of birthplace, others by a desire to create and establish themselves in this hostile climate – that Seville be an insoluble nexus of union.
Some have their studios here, sharing limited spaces in the very centre of the city; others already moved away, but developed into artists in Seville; most of them studied between the Jesuit cloisters of Laraña street; and a few decided to leave, seduced by the experimental vocation in Cuenca, but, likewise, they returned.
Miki Leal, Mp&Mp Rosado, Juan del Junco, Rubén Guerrero, Gloria Martín, Manolo Bautista, Ramón David Morales, Magdalena Bachiller, Manolo Bautista, Jorge Yeregui and Jesús Palomino (the most veteran, and maybe the one farthest away from the artistic proposals of his companions) are some of these already renowned names, on which one stumbles time and time again as one strolls through the national artistic landscape; and the ones who have brought most dynamism, enthusiasm and freshness to contemporary art during recent years.
Jesús Reina has thus not made a random selection. Neither has a will to discover been a presupposition for this exhibition, but rather a wish to manifest and position oneself; to vindicate these young artists – some insultingly young – as the generation which has excelled in contemporary Andalusia (if I’m excused by another fantastic group of artists, which in the convulsive 80’s gathered around the mythical Spanish Machine). However, nor is this an obliging exhibition, which entertains itself with what these artists already have accomplished, but it confronts them with, and makes them commit themselves to, the future.
While we respect the singularity of each and every one of their works, and their very personal discourse, we still can say that in the majority of them, there is a strong will to narrate, an almost classical defence of the most traditional formats – painting for painting’s sake, photography; sculpture and some almost architectural scenographies; and a sympathy for pseudo-figuration and domestic landscapes.
For instance, I like Gloria Martin’s interest in physical and mental spaces in which people develop their existence; the disturbing vacuum in her paintings. I continue to be struck by Miki Leal’s dominion of the brush, how he devours all traditions and then let them out in his own way, with his own particular style (and here the works of Ramón David Morales and Rubén Guerrero also connect). I am also interested in the mysterious universes of the twins Mp&Mp Rosado, their theatricality and their taste for simulacra.
Manolo Bautista, Jorge Yeregui and Juan del Junco form part of one single generation and three very different ways of understanding photography. Del Junco, with his postulates which are very close to painting; Bautista with his digital play, where a free and unlimited art is allowed to circulate; and Yeregui, with his natural landscapes as architectural vanguard.
Magdalena Bachiller draws metaphoric and silent, almost metaphysical sceneries, and the spectator travels through her spatial structures and volumes like someone walking through a tunnel towards the light.
And the name list of the best-positioned artists which Andalusia has brought forward in the last few years is ended by Jesús Palomino, with the most conceptual discourse of all, and with his deep reflections on artistic practice and its social and political correlation.

Apart from the field of this discourse we have a true painter, a honorary member from another generation, which is just as Andalusian, just as brilliant and defining of a decade: the one of the colourful Seville of the 80´s. It is Patricio Cabrera (Gines, Sevilla – 1958), the painter of diluted imagination, of ornamental structures, of an explosion of chromatism.

Thus, “Sevilla, Ozú, qué caló” (dialectal expression, freely translated “Seville, Gosh, it’s hot” , translator’s remark) is a marvellous résumé of the Andalusian contributions to contemporary art of the last decade, a small proof of that , in this case, talent and (Andalusian) accent go perfectly united.

Amalia Bulnes. Seville, September 2010.