Madrid

Andreu Alfaro

Galería Theo

During the last few years Andreu Alfaro has turned away from the work formerly associated with him—sculpture made of aluminum tubes fanning out into space—to take up instead the contours of the human body as a point of departure. This transition was perceptible already two seasons ago in the show at Barcelona’s old del Born marketplace.

In his new constructions Alfaro uses line in a way that is different from but not altogether antithetical to the fundamentals of sculpture or his own earlier works. In both the current and the earlier works he has shifted away from traditional volume, in which objects are carved out of a solid mass, and opted to create sculpture that interacts energetically with space. In this sense the work resembles the linear constructions of Gabo, who has said, in this context, that space “is itself a material, a structural component of the object, to the extent that it is capable of representing volume equal to that of any other solid material.”

In a sense, this type of sculpture is forged by the surrounding space; by defining the sculpted object’s solids and voids, space forms an integral part of the work. Alfaro’s current work confirms what his earlier work demonstrated. Also, a sense of movement is created now through the unfolding of the multiple configurations of the work. However, this effect remains secondary to the chief impression of iron “lines,” whose contours are suggested almost entirely by the capacity of the surrounding space to dictate form.

In addition to summoning this spatial protagonist, Alfaro has turned to the rich tradition of the nude in the history of art, with its unlimited catalogue of connotations. The recent work is engaged in the classical exercise of drawing the human body in movement and in repose, in upright and reclining positions. The artist’s sculpture resembles, in a sense, his earlier drawings on paper, in which a single stroke often appears to hang in the air. The contours of metal suggest foreshortenings, dance steps, and anatomical forms simply through undulating lines. It may be that the nude constitutes a purely formal recourse of inexhaustible possibilities; given Alfaro’s theoretical tendencies, however, it is more likely that these works are linked to the long and significant history of the human figure in art and that they signal, in part, its forceful return after years of abstraction. Whether intentionally or not, Alfaro’s sculpture brings to mind many historical works, from the art of Titian, Velázquez, Bernini, Degas, and Matisse to examples of classical Greek sculpture.

Aurora Garcia

Translated from the Spanish by Hanna Hannah.