Pedro Cera

Antonio Ballester Moreno
Azul e Amarelo
January 17 — March 72014

Exhibition Images

Press Release

Galeria Pedro Cera is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by the artist Antonio Ballester Moreno at the gallery.

In the words of Pablo Llorca, “Antonio Ballester Moreno’s work has been undertaken following a double impulse: the possibility of a professional artist being able to express himself in a purely instinctive manner, and also the viability of reflecting on this, sometimes directly and other times tangentially. A tendency in which in his search to defend simplicity and the irrational he appropriates the spirit and form of children’s drawings, something which has formed a strong tradition in the painting of the last centuries.

Among all the elements that an instinctive artist can use, colour is one of the most fundamental ones; the other one is the spontaneous line. But while the space of the line is usually confined to small surfaces in order to maintain the instinctive dimension — unlike what Abstract Expressionism turned into a formula — colour has more spatial possibilities to carry out its task. Whether on small pieces of paper or on big canvases, the relationship the spectator has with it will remain direct.

“Azul y amarillo” (Blue and Yellow) is aware of the importance of colour. This is highlighted by the fact that it is the title of the exhibition, a title that also stresses the importance of the joining of primary colours. Blue and yellow make green, and these are the three colours that make up the exhibition. This counts towards the series of las flores (The Flowers), made up of cut out paper stuck together that reminds one of Matisse’s papier collé and some shapes that refer back to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers…; note that we are in the field of artists of colour and instinct. And all of this also counts for the six canvases made up out of these three colours, and whose large-scale formats are so impressive to the spectator.

As I stated before, Antonio Ballester Moreno’s work possesses a double approach, which sometimes appears in an explicit manner (his proposal for La Casa Encendida exhibition space in Madrid, from a group creative workshop) and others in an indirect manner. A work produced from instinct may also, whether consciously or not, carry some complex possibilities for its reading. On this occasion the painter is proposing a relationship with nature, which was also frequent at the basis of his previous work. In it the yellow is related to light, while the blue is related to water. And the mixing of the two provides green, the colour of plants. In order for this process to be completed it needs another element, brown earth. Which is also present in the exhibition, through the small glazed clay structure that shows a somewhat shapeless human figure emerging out of an amorphous ball. This figure is created through contact between the earth and light and water, a process of nature in a relationship with the creative process itself. Creating a work of art also means creating life, and in this aspect we come back to another of the central debates in contemporary fine arts: the relationship between these two. A debate that an artist who proposed an instinctive approach cannot avoid. Above all if his work deals with a defence of the manual aspect, work carried out with basic means. For example, those made with matter and the body. The synthesis of these elements leads to the set of six canvases made up of colour and matter (their surfaces are made up of successive layers of painting, up to thirty in number). Or, similarly, the wish for a painting as a manual activity and its capacity to communicate on a basic level.

This capacity of the artist as a creator, as someone who inflates life by adding matter, is present in the whole series, and not as a suggestion, but evident. In relation to what has taken place in the majority of his previous exhibitions, here there is no direct allusion to the world of childhood nor to an iconography of the simple. Perhaps in the series of ‘Las flores’, made up of elementary figures, but not in the large canvases, which with their non figurative dimension set out other questions. Perhaps not to reach a different place — simpler than a chromatic surface, made by hand through a specific medium — but instead with dissimilar shapes. The sort of horror vacui that his work has managed to reveal is absent here. Faced with the habitual accumulation of his previous work, made up of additions and eliminations, in “Blue and Yellow” we encounter just the first ones, the additions. The sculptural figure is the addition of clay, the flowers are the paper covers and the canvases are the successive surfaces of the painting.”

Antonio Ballester Moreno was born in 1977 in Madrid, where he lives and works, and has a degree in Fine Arts from the Madrid Universidad Complutense. He is considered to be one of the key figures on the young Spanish art scene, and his work is mentioned in the monograph “Vitamine P2” published by Phaidon in 2012. Of particular note among his most recent exhibitions are Cobre, Cobalto y Plomo, Maisterravalbuena, Madrid, 2013, No School, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2011; ANTI (Kreuzberg), Peres Projects, Berlin, Antonio Ballester Moreno, Joeng Song Art Center / RMK International Art, Seoul, South Korea, 2009; Gallo Rojo, Gallo Negro, MUSAC – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, 2008 and Hunter House and Bear Suit, Peres Projects, Los Angeles, 2008.