Joan Rom

Galeria Rene Metras

Born in 1954 and trained at the Escuela de Bellas Artes, Joan Rom had his first solo exhibition in 1983 at the Centro de Lectura de Reus, south of Barcelona, and another there in 1987. Rom’s work has been discussed principally as a site of multivalent meanings and ambiguities. Although such an analysis is valid, his work is governed less by ambiguity than by the absence of figuration.

Materials, forms, and objects are tools for Rom. He combines them with a minimum of intervention, and without emphasizing the tensions among them, thus avoiding any disjunction or decontextualization of the disparate elements. Geometry, architecture, and composition comprise the terrain of primary signs—a terrain that is unable to carry multiple meanings. The resulting composite signs absorb the residual, the material, and the image-form of the originals and fuse them together in a form that is as specific as their origin is vague and abstract. The works seem to burst forth as an accumulation of archetypes that cannot be interpreted as ironic references, reduced to a single linguistic base, or redefined.

Rom’s works stem from a simple poetic. They are a synthesis of drawing and sculpture, of the pictorial and the objective, but stripped of any sense of illustration. Many of his large-scale works are placed on a bare wall, which acts as a neutral support, similar to a page in a sketch book. In Sin título, 1987, two arcs made of sections of black garden hose form a hyperbola against a square of flesh-colored latex rubber. These industrial materials take on an organic character in his simple, playful composition. Most of these works do not imply any predilection for pre-existing symbologies, nor do they attempt to deliver any specific “messages.” However, several sculptures that were also shown here succumbed to a certain amount of easy symbolism, and came across as somewhat precious.

Gloria Moure

Translated from the Spanish by Hanna Hannah.