Curro González

Espacio Distrito Cu4tro

The evocation of symbolic physical space is an essential part of the painting tradition in Seville, a Baroque city where images carry enormous weight. This highly significant use of space goes back as far as the renowned Sevillean Tenebrists of the seventeenth century and must now be expanded with the arrival of Guillermo Pérez Villalta, a powerful and heterodox Andalusian painter who recently moved to the city.

There might seem to be little relation between Pérez Villalta and Curro González, a Sevillean artist a generation younger who began his career at the height of the Transavanguardia movement. At that time González was making paintings that were very synthetic in appearance, though their cluttered backgrounds provided a subtle counterpoint. Since then, his way of painting has changed a great deal, tending toward a dense accumulation of figures and the portrayal of real objects and spaces imbued with meaning. These objects and spaces are never explicit, always suggestive. Furthermore—and this is fundamental—his art is founded on a belief in painting’s ability to construct meaning through images.

It is this faith in the medium’s ability to forge powerful and allegorical images—indeed, in the fact that any image can be painted—that relates these paintings to those of a more seasoned artist like Pérez Villalta. Indeed, the treatment of the figures and space in a surprising piece like González’s Los conocedores (The Connoisseurs; all works 2004) suggests a direct influence through a shared recourse to the Baroque, even though this painting is placed in a contemporary setting, whereas those of Pérez Villalta tend to elide specific reference to the present. Nonetheless, his work still tends toward more intimate concerns that often deal with the relation (or lack thereof) between artist and social context.

In a text written in 2001, González recognized feeling socially isolated. In the present exhibition, “La herida” (The Wound), he further explores this feeling through paintings that continue to make use of his habitual method of juxtaposing two different spaces on a single visual plane. In Why Not? he depicts a shop window full of dolls and other old objects, evoking the ominous and oppressive weight of the past and memory. In that same piece, it is possible to see a reflection in the window of the urban and social space behind the hypothetical painter. Other times, he alludes to the past or the persistence of its traces by making use of a single spatial plane. Such is the case in Atractor (Attractor) and Chatarra (Scrap Metal), with its allegory of reality and the art depicted. A theme that hangs over the exhibition is probably most clearly and directly represented in Coda, a painting where a female musician plays a cello, oblivious to her grotesque, even apocalyptic surroundings.

Pablo Llorca

Translated from Spanish by Jane Brodie.