Madrid

Isidro Blasco

For his recent show, “Father’s House,” Isidro Blasco has turned to photography, and, like many Spanish artists of his generation, he approaches the medium in a highly subjective manner. As an artist known predominantly for his abstract sculptures (he last exhibited in Madrid six years ago), Blasco is something of a newcomer to working in a personal mode. The shift toward a more overtly subjective approach evidenced in his recent photographs and photocollages may have been triggered by the series of houselike constructions Blasco began creating in 1994—works that seemed to reflect his own inner turmoil. Viewers can actually enter these gigantic structures (some of which are almost five meters high), and become lost in chaotic interiors reminiscent of the set designs from Robert Wiene’s Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919).

Blasco, who travels a great deal, spent part of 1997 living in China before settling in New York. On his journeys as well as in his artmaking, he continually searches for an ideal living space, one that can be inhabited only by memory; this was the central theme of “Father’s House.” The most striking pieces in the show were photocollages, including several from a series entitled “White House,” 1997–98, powerfully suggestive works based in part on dreams Blasco had while he was living in Shanghai. These images, in which depictions of fantastic constructions are superimposed on photographs of real cityscapes, suggest a complex dialogue between external and internal states. The show also contained a series of photographs shot in Spain documenting the home and studio of Blasco’s parents (both of whom are also sculptors)—interior scenes that are animated by a strong contrast between shadowy spaces and serene light flooding through the windows.

Weaker than the photographic images, the cast-iron pieces in the remaining series seem to mark a return to sculpture for Blasco. Drawing so heavily on the Spanish Modernist tradition as to border on pastiche (one was reminded especially of the work of Julio González), these stylized sculptures approached mere decoration and lacked the evocative power of the rest of the show.

Pablo Llorca

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent Martin.