Antonio Ballester Moreno

Pedro Cera is pleased to present the Viewing Room of Antonio Ballester Moreno (1977).

Despite some of its formal features, one of the largest misconceptions tied to the practice of Antonio Ballester Moreno is trying to grasp his work through the prism of abstraction. Reduced forms and shapes defined by solid fields of color, characteristic for the artist’s practice, suggest instead, a deep interest in the human connection with the image and in the roots of pictorial representation at large. The making of any image begins with a schema, a graphic structure that portrays our conceptual categorization and perceptual constancies of the world. Schemas, for which a reduced naturalism of its form is symptomatic, function as symbols representative of objects, which construct the world around us and depict a shared knowledge shaped by the cultural context they are a part of. Making schematic images the point of departure of his work, Antonio Ballester Moreno explores the nature of human perception regarding how we understand and construct the world we live in.

One of the key terms in the artist’s practice, the generosity of vision, does not examine what we see but instead looks at our gaze and how the way we look determines what we see. A crucial part of cognition, vision is one of the key modes of gathering information and understanding the world. Our perception, however, is naturally affected by other factors, such as subjective experience, culture, and other fields of knowledge, widening the gap between what we see and what is really there. To explore the processes tied to vision and to the economy of seeing, the work of Ballester Moreno appropriates simple and by nature universal forms. Using images of children’s drawings, as one of the many references for his work, allows the artist to explore, on the one hand, the pureness of depiction – the innocent image, so to speak, for which a distinctiveness of schematic features becomes characteristic. At the same time, on the other hand, create an open work, which, by its formal simplicity, generates a sense of a collective and non-exclusive language that is accessible and shared by everyone.

Antonio Ballester Moreno, Woman Lying on the Grass (Blue Skirt), 2020

acrylic on jute, 205 × 305 cm (framed)

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Antonio Ballester Moreno, Dos noches, 2020

acrylic on jute, 255 × 185 cm (framed)

The present series of paintings developed for the viewing room brings together works, which besides a shared language of depiction, bear a strong emphasis on the subject of horizontality. Inspired by nature, its elements and forms, the idea of landscape, as a point of view, which allows for space to open into infinity, perpetuates the work of Antonio Ballester Moreno. Horizontality and landscape in these works function as a concept, suggestive of the image’s continuation beyond its surface, merging the painting with life beyond the canvas. Despite their formal diversity, the greater concerns these works explore are shared in the subjects they depict. A reclining female figure on a green background, probably grass (Woman Lying on the Grass (Blue Skirt), 2020), is in fact a painting representative of a landscape, the same way, as paintings depicting horizontal patterns, stripes of color, are in fact landscape paintings bringing together various views of the same scenery, as seen during the day, at night or on a sunny afternoon (…). Despite the verticality of most of the actual canvas’s, the theme of horizontality here, reflects in the selection of subjects and the way these subjects are depicted, as well as in the system of display, where each work despite its autonomy, becomes an inevitable part of a greater universe (of other works).

Antonio Ballester Moreno, Two Days Horizon (Black, White, Yellow and Blue), 2020

acrylic on jute, 97 × 78 cm (framed)

Working with universal and permanent forms, such as spheres, lines, or horizontal color fields, Antonio Ballester Moreno appropriates the basic from the cycle of life, creating images of light and shadow, day and night. The interchangeability of these forms, where the moon becomes the sun, the sky becomes a field of grass, day becomes night, disclose another crucial aspect of Ballester Moreno’s work, that being the aspect of time. Time is explored here, on the one hand, through the selection of subject matter and its ties with nature, frequently associated with the passing of time, as well as through the titles of the works.

Antonio Ballester Moreno, Summer, 2020

acrylic on jute, 97 × 78 cm (framed)

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Time in the work of Antonio Ballester Moreno opposes the nature of time’s contemporary speed, rejecting thus the legacy of modernity, and instead, depicts time from a biological perspective, characteristic for evolution, may this evolution be a biological one or an intellectual one, such as the evolution of forms, characteristic for its slowness and opposition towards post-industrial modes of life. The slowness associated with forms and patterns, carefully cut out by the artist, throughout the production process, into small paper collages – maquettes for testing scale, proportion, and the balance of colors, before entering the significantly more spacious surface of the canvas, is challenged by the speed, by which, these paintings come to life. Painted on untreated, raw jute by layers of liquid paint, reminiscent of dyeing clothes, the porous nature of the canvas, rich texture, and strong material presence, ties these works, however firmly with nature, taking us back to the once familiar, to the universal, to what we all share.

Antonio Ballester Moreno, High Sun, 2020

acrylic on jute, 97 × 78 cm (framed)

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Antonio Ballester Moreno, Half Sun (Blue), 2020

acrylic on jute, 97 × 78 cm (framed)

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Antonio Ballester Moreno, Two Days Horizon (Black and White), 2020

acrylic on jute, 97 × 78 cm (framed)