Venue: Romanesque Exhibition Gallery, Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos, Spain
Dates: From October 6 to December 20, 2017
Organizers: The Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, The City of Santo Domingo de Silos, and The Gabarron Foundation
Curator: Dr. Javier Pérez Segura, professor of Contemporary Art History at the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain).
Cristobal Gabarron, born in Mula, Mucia, Spain in 1945, is one of the most successful Spanish artists on the international art scene. For several decades, his monumental sculpture projects have temporarily transformed the face of many cities in Europe, North America, and Asia. Suffice it to say that New York, Geneva, Amsterdam, Cannes, and Shanghai are the cities that have enjoyed his art in the last two years.
The Gabarron Foundation, created by the artist's family in 1992, encourages and promotes mainly the research, study, and awareness of Cristobal Gabarron, as well as of contemporary art within and outside of Spain. This exhibition celebrates the foundation's first 25 years and does so with an unprecedented show of one of the artist's lesser known facets, that of ceramist.
It is a total of 27 pieces, most of which were conceived and produced in workshops in Vallauris, the place in the south of France where 60 years ago Pablo Picasso decided to dedicate himself intensively to this same work and who managed to bring craftsmanship and art together like none other. In such a historically well-known setting, Gabarron has created a very diverse set of works in which he emphasizes - as artists often do - experimentation with the most varied techniques. Those used on this occasion include modeling, engraving, collage, assembly, or glazing, just to name a few.
Although it is not a series in the strict meaning of the word, certain groups of works can be discerned. The largest of these is made up of 12 circles measuring 30 cm in diameter and are to be understood as poetic landscapes in which grooves, spots, or small stones act as the axes for coordinates. These are followed by a set of ceramic boxes in which painting and drawing take on a clearer presence, as well as some proposals for broad visual polysemy, with shapes that might recall phalluses, pyramids, heads, or vases. They all offer very complex ornamentation found at the crossroads of figurative, geometric and purely abstract paths.
What can be appreciated in all these works that are being exposed to the public and to criticism for the first time is their personal language that is oblivious to the concrete borrowing from other artists or trends from the past, and clearly aspires to an air of timeless. A great triptych measuring about 150 cm long, restates this intention and is situated - through its power of introspection - in balance with the magnificent Benedictine abbey that houses the exhibition.
By experimenting with a variety of materials and techniques, Cristobal Gabarron continues to develop - as he has always done - a language whose purpose is not just visual, but also humanist, that bets on communication, learning and tolerance by means of culture and art.