July 27, 2021

“I am more often in caves than in galleries or museums”

At 64, Miquel Barcelo moved to Picasso. Finally, in one of the museums dedicated to him, that of his birthplace of Malaga. In Andalusia, restaurants and museums are open to the public. The former are full, the latter much less, but many visitors to the “Metamorfosis” exhibition were numerous during our visit to see the last works of one of the terrible children of Spanish art. Which is revealed, like his predecessor Picasso, as breathtaking in painting as in watercolor, but also in sculpture, especially ceramics, which he practices with impressive power, nourished as he is by his prolonged stays in distant countries only from frequentation of selected literature.

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One of the impressions that emerge from this exhibition, despite a sober display, is an extreme profusion. You go all over the place, right?

When I was 17-18 years old, in Barcelona, ​​with my artist friends, let’s say… committed, consistency was the key. In the assemblies, in the Communist Party, in art schools, everywhere, it was consistency, consistency. However, I realized every day that I was an expert in inconsistency, I did in the afternoon the opposite of what I had done in the morning. We were quite close to the radical painting of the French Supports / Surfaces movement: during the day, we translated Marcelin Pleynet, we read Mao, things like that. At night, we secretly did underground comics. It was much funnier to be underground than to be engaged.

“3er Tercio” (2019), by Miquel Barcelo.  Mixed media, 285 cm × 235 cm.

The exhibition is titled “Metamorfosis”. Is this a tribute to Kafka?

Kafka is also very plastic. It never describes anything, it is as difficult to illustrate as… the fog! At home, I rediscovered all this anguish that one feels, adolescent, when your body becomes monstrous, your uncontrollable desire, whether it is for your sister, your mother, your dog or your neighbor! Everything grows, the hairs, the cock, the ears. You wake up in the morning erect, and it’s like a monster. But Kafka is so clever that he senses this unease and treats it with a humor that is less Jewish than “Mitteleuropa”.

In the exhibition there is a watercolor entitled “Samsa in Altamira”, a bison with an insect inside. What is its meaning ?

Like a beetle. It is metamorphosis. Take Kafka to the Lascaux caves. It is also like a disease, something that grows in the body of the bison.

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