Barcelona

Jordi Benito

Galeria Carles Taché

De Vinaròs a Berlin (From Vinaròs to Berlin) is the title of Jordi Benito’s most recent installation. He covered the floor of the gallery with a lead coating, forcing the viewer to slow down and making him feel strangely imprisoned. Through this metallic bed he forged a path through the gallery, one delineated by nine granite stones of approximately one-and-a-half tons each. The pentagrams containing Carlos Santos’ musical score had already been etched into these stones. (Benito has collaborated with this contemporary composer, author of the opera Asdrúbila, 1992, since they met in 1973. They baptized their friendship by throwing a piano into the Mediterranean waters of Cadaqués, and this instrument has kept them united ever since.)

On this occasion, Santos’ presence in this installation took an epistolary form, as if the musical composition had been sent in a letter from Vinaròs (a point located on Spain’s eastern seaboard where he lives) to Berlin, the city in which Benito is currently living. The communication between the two was transmitted to the public via the set design constructed by Benito; one could almost hear the sounds of music present only in written form.

The nine stones, placed horizontally, marked the path that led to the room on the lower level where the heart of the piece was. A large circular ring made of irregular blocks of stone, irregular due to the nature of the material itself, encircled a grand piano suspended in midair. Steel cables hanging from the ceiling, which had been reinforced by an iron beam, held this ring, with its eight tons of weight, in an oblique position. The semidarkness of the nearest outline contributed to the spectacular quality of the piece.

All the constitutive elements of this installation belong to Benito’s most intimate iconography. Authentic and imitation pianos, granite stones, often of large dimensions, bullfighting accessories, real horses, and dissected animals are integral elements of the worlds he constructs in each new installation. In Benito’s fiction the literary acts as a stimulus, driving the images through which he reorders a neutral space. In this latest work, which he has just presented, he returned to familiar motifs, though here perhaps his occupation of the space was more radical, more totalizing, more strongly enigmatic. He created a world with silences arranged on pentagrams.

Menene Gras Balaguer

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent T. Martin.