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Miquel Barceló (1957)

Erecte

2018
Ceramic
166 x 40 x 37 cm
Private collection
© Estudio Miquel Barceló, 2020

Leer Transcripción

Influential artists in the history of the Western art of the twentieth century, such as Gauguin, Picasso, Fontana and Miró, found in the ancient practice of ceramics an opportunity for plastic experimentation that enabled them to overcome the limits imposed by the two-dimensional surface of the painting. 

   

Aware of forming part of a saga of painters who love clay, over time Barceló has given this technique a predominant place in his work. His earliest incursions into the world of terracotta took place in Mali, a landlocked country in Western Africa, midway through the 1990s. For the Majorcan artist, Africa feels like home, and also served as a studio that he regularly traveled back to, until the political circumstances prevented him from doing so. Since then, Mali has become a place of great significance, for his life as well as his work. In a land that was seemingly inhospitable to artistic creation, and in the midst of an animistic cultural environment, the painter began to use clay in accordance with the local technique: 

 

I started to make ceramics in Mali, and began by getting the clay. A lady showed me how: “Here there is blue clay, here there is red clay”. I started by picking up a stick, mixing, grinding… the most basic, definitely; really starting at the absolute beginning. Then we made those ovens that are made with straw because there’s no firewood, you know? They’re made with the most… with millet straw and a few twigs and dung… dried… camel and cow dung. That’s what they burn, because there’s no… there’s very little firewood and it’s expensive. And so that’s how I made my first ceramics. They must have been done at 400-500º… now, the ones we do are over a thousand, sometimes.... With firewood they’re done at 1100º, but of course, there’s a great deal of difference. But anyway, I’m pleased because it was like everything… it’s like starting in the Neolithic and then reaching… you know? When I worked with local potters it was like being in the nineteenth century and then arriving in the present after crossing… It’s a good metaphor for painting, don’t you think? That one goes backwards and forwards at the same time, wouldn’t you agree? 

 

The locations in Mali, the town of Arta in Majorca, the studio in Angers in the South of France, Vietri in Naples – where, over several months, he conceived and produced one of his most impressive and ambitious public works, the design for the chapel of Saint Peter in Majorca’s cathedral – and his current studio in La Teulera, in Majorca’s interior, have all aided Barceló in his search for, and discovery of, new procedures and expressive formulations in terracotta.