Catalogue for the exhibition "Barnices", Astarté Gallery, Madrid, 2001 »
On our way to school we always pass by a shop that sells crisps. Cartagena is a narrow street, and almost every day the traffic light stops our car with iust the precise margin so that, for a few seconds, the shop window is practically at the same level as our right side. The crisps pile up against the glass. They reach their peak about a metre and a half above the level of the pavement. You can't make out how far back they go, but we figure it must be deep enough to gorge ourselves on for at least a century.
Miguel, perching first on two, then three, now on the four steps of his brief, dizzy existence, vorociously contemplates the tempting display of that yellow and Fragile world. He would bathe in it, do some laps, drown among salty crunches... or nol One day we discovered that the maiestic sea of crisps was but a palm's span deep. Not that that isn't a lot, but it's iust not the same. No one can submerge themselves in a tiny pool where, at most, they could dip their foot in, as if to test the temperature or the saltiness of the narrow sea of crisps.
Another day, I don't know if he was drunk on Nesquik, Miguel stated:
"Statues move." I looked at the statue of the Marquis of Salamanco, iust in case the mayor, possessed by an attack of deconstructivistic ornamentation, had decided to take it down from its pedestal. But there it was, undaunted, with its engraved bronze pupils looking down towards Serrano and Castellana Avenues. Not a blink. Miguel, in a short time, had elevated statues from the category of "slucptures" ‘ to that of kinetic beings, and that without even knowing that Calder existed. For him, they moved, and that was that.
I wasn't terribly surprised, because during some of our urban iourneys he had threatened to "startle Colon Square", which is a iustified eye for an eye, fright for a fright revenge on the delicate "slucptures" plonked down there. My son, when he was less than three years old, didn't like Vaquero Turcios ’.
It may have been in that Square, or perhaps during one of those trips to kindergarten in which he dedicated his time to contemplating the bronze dance of the statues and the peaceful oceans of crisps - the fact is that at one point he suddenly remarked, ‘Waves have no face". A pandemic of cars. A horizon of cement. A grey stage, predominated by asphalt, steel and concrete and you tell me, just like that, at a quarter past nine in the morning, that waves have no lace. Naturally, I stopped the car, took out a scrap of paper from my w_allet and, sucking in saliva, noted down his theory. But when last February 10th he commented, "I have in my mouth the wind,” like that, with that maiestic indolence, I could merely keep my mouth humbly shut and accept the tact that children are poets, among other reasons because we, their parents, are slobbering idiots, but they are poets iust the same. Or m_odmen. Or visionaries. Indeed, walls of crisps are yellow seas, bronze statues move like Pinocchios brought to lite and the waves of Ondarreta, at some moment during their suicidal iourney towards the sand, have lost their lace of not very white loam.
And why not accept it? Don't I spend the whole day daubing pigments on a surlace convinced that it is "Woman touching her loot”, or lancying that a scrap ol cloth is smeared with a "Reverent‘ disposition?
If I always say that one paints like a hunchback, with no alternative, without asking tor forgiveness, I like to think that in my son's childish sanity, although there probably exists no understanding of this almost occupational therapy that is painting, there is at least a bit of rhyme toythe dreamy, yet overwhelming reason, inexplicable yet completely evident, disguised yet convincing that governs his perception ol the world, and which is similar to that with which I amend my whims and interests, that same reality that all ol us share, and which he, in his experience, lives as tangible and I, in the solitude of my workshop, aspire to capture in each painting.
All I know is that every day, when I come back alter dropping my son all at school, I fit the key into the lock on the door to my studio and, without even thinking, whistle.
Published in “Diario Vasco”, in memory of the gallerist Gonzalo Sánchez, who passed away in 2007. »
A narrow door crowned with a number 16, a steep staircase that descends abruptly, and, almost directly underneath, a large man with a moustache. His desk, in the corner, interrupts the warm grey floor of the room timidly, and the voice that belongs to the large man with the moustache resounds solitary among the paintings that hang on the walls. The visitor contemplates the exhibit.
When the only sound he hears is that of his own footsteps on the parquetry, he approaches the corner. The large man with the moustache has just hung up the phone, and responds to his greeting. The visitor carries a hideous photo album under his arm, the kind they offer for free as a promotional gift in photo developing shops. They speak. He tells him he's a painter, that he's twenty-something years old and that he has just begun his career as an artist. The large man with the moustache listens, and then chats as cordially as he does abundantly, while he flicks through the pages of the dossier.
In reality he is not a San Sebastián gallerist: he's a Martian who has landed in San Sebastián. Not all Martians are little green men with antennae. Sometimes they are large, have a moustache and an intelligent, extensive ad decided banter. This kind of Martian is usually born in Alicante, studies psychology and peers out at the art world through a gallery of etchings from Madrid. Then they suddenly go to a desert, and set up an oasis. Through this oasis parade the art-lovers of the practically deserted San Sebastián art scene. Around the oasis the Martian starts to weave a web of projects and realities in which he involves institutions and individuals, and one day he invents Arte-Leku, in the middle of the desert.
Large Martians with moustaches are neither known as makers of oases, nor as revitalisers of cultural life, even if they are couselors, momentum-makers and friends of painters who are already consecrated or have yet to be, or supporters of the professionals in the art world, resuscitators of “damned” artists, or instigators of avant-garde centers.
The bad thing about large Martians with moustaches, is that they do not abound. In fact, I've only known one of them in twenty-odd years of profession. His name was Gonzalo Sánchez, and I could neither say goodbye to him, nor say thank you.