5 December 2023 — 31 January 2024
Big is beautiful
In his book Intuitive Intelligence, the American essayist Malcolm Gladwell reminds us that many of our opinions are formed after a very brief analysis, a quick glance, a blink of an eye, and yet they are as or more valid than others that take us weeks of reflection. The first time I saw a work by Joaquín Ureña I thought quickly, intuitively: this is an art of today, and it is a fresh art. Years have passed and I still feel the same way about his work. I will try to explain that intuition:
IT’S AN ART OF TODAY. Ureña has managed to give new life to a technique that seemed immovable. What he has done for watercolour it reminds us of what Andreas Gursky did for photography: inventing a new format for it. Just as before Gursky one thought that such large photographs could not exist (and in fact the German creator in his beginnings had to resort to a special machine to print his images at the sizes he wanted), before Ureña we did not imagine that such large watercolours could be painted. And like Gursky, Ureña has had to create his own working systems. There is a video from a few years ago that shows the artist in his studio, preparing the papers on which he works with the help of a series of gadgets, unfolding, gluing, fixing. Size matters. The formal novelty of Joaquín Ureña’s watercolours lies in the fact that they are so large, so tall and so wide.
IT’S A FRESH ART. We observe Ureña’s works. They are spacious, white abounds, they breathe and let us breathe. They tend to symmetry, with those well-structured and orderly distributed spaces of the windows or the aluminium doors. Not only that, but they do not overwhelm, they liberate. If we leave the studio, Ureña takes us to the terrace with plastic chairs, to the enclosed gardens of new housing developments, whether on the coast or in the suburbs of townhouses. The coolness of the evening on the terrace, the freshness of the freshly watered grass in the garden, the coolness of the shade on the open balcony, are gifts that the artist gives us to invite us to enjoy the moment.
I look at a watercolour by Joaquín Ureña, and I blink. I am in front of an airy and luminous space, with light furniture. In front of a large piece that is at the same time lightweight.
Dates: December 5, 2023 – January 31, 2024
Address: Cavallers, 31-33, 25002 Lleida
Hours: Tuesday to Friday 17 h-20:30 h Saturdays 11:30 h- 13:30h i de 17 h- 20:30h
Telephone: (+34) 629 03 31 50