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entre Creta y Sausalito

Self-edited (250 copies), 2009

entre Creta y Sausalito (“between Crete and Sausalito”) is a reflection about the Art world from the inside, from an artist’s point of view, with a long, autobiographical prologue that has no other purpose than to explain to the reader the standpoint of the author, a painter and sculptor who, on occasion, seems to be more worried about the excesses of the setting where his profession is carried out (and, by extension, with every other excess in the world) than about its virtues.

“I honestly think we have grown too sophisticated. We consagrate names astonishingly quickly, we question too little, critique can be, in many instances, hardly believable (rather than influencing, it seems influenced); among other things, I believe we lack independent writing. It is a good thing that plastic arts have a theoretical, literary, even musical support, created in other studies where other singular, solitary and highly personal adventures are lived.”

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In 2010, both my parents died within three months, and everything changed. A few months before the outcome, I started this journal, in which I collected texts that may on occasion seem disparate, but follow a precise chronological order. They even contain some flashbacks that try to show, among other things, how the world was when my parents were in it. I haven’t tried to explain what happened, but how I experienced it. Pain, melancholy, and the loss of referents take a main role in some chapters, naturally, but I have also painted, inaugurated exhibitions and projected public sculptures; I have attended concerts and read, I have walked with my dogs near my studio; I have written a lot, and I have driven my motorbike because life goes on: on the road, time stops and the origin and destiny are irrelevant, the only thing that matters is being out there.

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Suite Albéniz

Foreword by Jesús Ruiz Mantilla

Epilogue by Luis García Montero

Turner, 2016

Albéniz was not the stowaway kid who toured America after fleeing home. He was, however, the child prodigy who, at the age of four, made his debut at Teatre Romea, in Barcelona. There is no evidence that he ever met Liszt, although he used to brag about it. He did chase him with persistence, with admiration, with passion, all while claiming for recognition for many of his contemporaries in life. He also emulated him by playing with his back to the piano and with a blindfold on in those jam sessions he unexpectedly performed during the time in which, to survive, he probably unloaded luggage on the docks of New York. (Jesús Ruiz Mantilla)


Elogio del fracaso

An essay about contemporary art

Foreword by Àlex Susanna.

Elogio del fracaso (“Praise to failure”) is subtitled An essay about contemporary art because that is the central theme of the narration, but it is far away from being an essay in the academic sense of the word. Montaigne called personal reflections “essays”, based on transcriptions of classical and contemporary texts. So why not? I am a painter and sculptor, as well as a writer, so why not write about art from the inside? It is usually done from the outside, cryptically. Carlyle, for example, wrote: Art is the disimprisoned soul of the fact”. I could spend hours picturing that sentence in my mind. Cassiodorus, in the 6th Century, when the boundary between art and craftwork was a lot more vague than it is now (Aristotle did not tell them apart), pointed out with notable skill and plainness the objectives of art: to teach, to evoke emotions and to please. Some centuries later, María Zambrano gave us this superb description: “Real art dissipates the contradiction between action and contemplation, because it is an active way of contemplating, a contemplative activity, a contemplation which conceives a work, from which a product comes off”. James Whistler, for one, was way more efficient: “Art happens”, and Goethe said, didactically: “If I paint my dog exactly the way it is, I obviously get two dogs, but not a work of art”. It is not easy to define art!

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La partida de ajedrez

Anónima García grew up between the social commitment of her father, an old-school anarchist of humble descent, and the ancestral wisdom of her mother, a historian in a bourgeois family from Barcelona who was worried about women made invisible in art history. Anónima grows older between utopia and history, between illusion and reality, between desire and temperance. “These are two ways of understanding life”, she used to say in the many interviews that followed her first book’s success. With her second book, The Queen, with the subtitle Only a Pawn in Their Game, like the song Bob Dylan sang during the 1963 March on Washington, her popularity was consolidated.

That generational and quite harmonious family history takes a turn with the sudden appearance of an unexpected person coming from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

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