For the first time an exhibition focuses on the work of these three authors, conducted in a very specific time. BALETA, CAMPANO and CLARAMUNT, coincided, among other things, leaving an important mark on contemporary art in the Mallorca of the 80s. Today they coincide in a humble exercise of proximity to their work, to technique, to a context, proposed by 6A GALLERY D’ART, with a special analysis of the results that gave the stays, not simultaneous, of these creators in the first years of Workshop 6A. The goal: to have a more perspective.
Certainly the Mallorca of the 80s was creative cradle in constant movement. Began the decade, it was the moment in which an important generation, of unquestionable talent, returned to Mallorca with the trade polished in an effervescent “being away from home”. It was a generation moved and removed by the concern to know what was done beyond the dignity, of the noble, but corseted, “Autumn Rooms”, beyond academic easels, and with the desire to break, from the respect , established schemes, opening the way thanks to the creative process. That movement, without labels, put Mallorca in the spotlight. It must be recognized that the island at that time had a large group of spontaneous ambassadors in the classrooms, mainly from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona, or in improvised gatherings in the most traditional cafés of the Capital or of Barcelona itself. It coincides that the ARCO Fair (1982) was inaugurated in Madrid, becoming a great counter for new artistic trends, as well as a meeting point for that generation, which was not defined by chronology, but by the need to express itself beyond the known and in many cases recognized. There are many who speak of a generation that took the responsibility of recovering the painting as maximum exponent in contemporary art. The exchange of thoughts, ideas and objectives, between creators born on the island and the foreigners, forged genuine synergies, engaged in friendship and shared admiration, all consented and motivated by the “painting of painters”.
In that movement, defined by the flow between Mallorca and what came from outside, we find, pleasantly, MAGÍ BALETA, MIGUEL ÁNGEL CAMPANO and LUIS CLARAMUNT. Coincide on many points, but to mention one, fascinates us thanks to the artistic legacy left, as the landscape, life and the environment, Mallorcan invaded them until the brushstroke, to the point of defining milestones in their careers. The three creators are in painting in freedom, as something sacred. They root and emanate, their deepest pictorial romantic experiences.
Magí Baleta (Barcelona, 1957 – Mallorca, 1999) coincided at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona with the artists Salvador JuanPere, the Aballí brothers, Maria Carbonero and Jaume Plensa, among others. (A generation that premiered the new “Option C”, given among others by Joan Hernández-Pijuan, a whole display of intentions, in which many of those young creators saw an open window). Inevitably, Baleta established a special and close relationship with the artists with whom he shared the love for art and for the traditional printing techniques, in equal parts. The artist’s training was always linked to the engraving as a creative and almost vital need. Due to the friendship with Carbonero, the Catalan artist, began to frequent Mallorca. The contact was more and more constant, especially since the Mallorcan artist, together with others, founded Taller 6a, in 1982. Baleta became a great ally of the house from the beginning. It was normal to find the Catalan artist, in a coming and going, debating on technical issues in the workings of an incipient 6th. The contributions by the Catalan artist are very important. From a good start Magí is pleasantly defeated by the landscape of Mallorca, during his stays, with an inevitable attraction for the Serra de Tramuntana, where he enters thanks to the painting. Magí Baleta, creator, lived with the Magí Baleta engraver, in collaboration with other great artists, throughout his career. In spite of everything, in this coexistence, a certain imbalance can be inferred at times. His inexhaustible and deep dedication to the field of technical research, and mastering the trade of engraving made from a good start to open his own workshop in Barcelona, in the same building, where he had his studio. The most technical and generous Magí with his knowledge, he became a close collaborator of great artists such as friend Plensa (with whom he collaborated over 20 years, in which according to his own words when speaking about Magí and praising the figure of the figure of the engraver i friend “(…) I never knew where I started and where he ended”); Saura; Tàpies; Scully; Croft; Bald; Stream; Palazuelo García Sevilla; Sicily; and Campano, among many others. In a somewhat unfair way, the creator Baleta develops his artistic career, in part, in the shadow of the figure of the engraver Baleta, without being conscious (his humility is well known). The creative Baleta was of a magnificent sensitivity, author of a work of delicate and coherent manufacture. The artist finds and shows in compositions in which the repetition of the different elements is recurrent, and the investigation of the painted volume is a constant. In nature and in its environment, find the motivation for the creative process. In the work of the early 80’s, this provocation is found in the sinuous forms of the mountains, purified to the extreme. The formal constancy is only altered by the elements that cause the creative act, based on studies of composition and volume, which marks the trajectory of the artist in very defined series. The graphic inevitably becomes the bulk of his artistic legacy, to the satisfaction of lovers of the original serial work, but a special attention deserves his unique work, in many cases in an intimate format and with an extraordinary sensitivity. It should be noted that in many cases his unique work, is original graphic work, the result of research processes, not editing.
The impact of the landscape in the Baleta of the 80s, and the need to express the emotion of the moment, vitally and pictorially, binds him to Miguel Ángel Campano (Madrid, 1948-2018), with whom he collaborated in his Barcelona engraving workshop , as we have already mentioned, the decade in question has already closed. Campano was one of the creators of the so-called Renovation of Spanish painting of the 80s, along with Barceló, Sicilia, Broto and García Sevilla, among others. With an independent, transgressive and experimental character, he received the National Prize for Plastic Arts in 1996. Painting was always questioned from the painting. His formal and technical digressions are found in each brushstroke. The tension between abstraction and figuration seems to find a certain calm, surpassed by the environment in which he found refuge, in a life made between Madrid, Paris and Mallorca. Soon, the island, specifically the area of Sóller, became a place to live, for seasons not short, where to live painting. Always faithful to the painting, without further ado, he often pointed out that he was the creator of a “no style”, constantly evolving due to a “restless and stormy” character. When he arrives in Mallorca, he seems to leave behind his early works of the early 80’s, included in series based on American abstract expressionism, with clear influences from French painting, with special attention to the first avant-gardes, to delve into the narrative will, thanks to some still lifes and landscapes. With a brushstroke, he shows what he experiences in the moment with undoubted influence of the environment. Parallel to the pictorial fact delves into the work of Poussin and Cézanne. He is revising part of French painting, where he finds direct painting, far from being autobiographical. For him his painting of landscapes and still lifes that occupy us in this exhibition, they only have of autobiographical the fact that he needed to be alive to be able to make them, to create them. The series of original lithographs that he made in the workshops of Workshop 6a, in 1987, show this experimentation of the environment through brushwork. The artist focuses on the lithographic technique, making a total of 13 images, drawing directly on some 25 lithographic stones, between landscapes and still lifes. In the exhibition you can see some of these prints accompanied by a unique work, oil / canvas, of the same year. Campano’s mastery of the lithographic technique is such that one can see how the strength of the brushstroke dominates over the technical possibilities offered by the lithographic stone.
The connection with the Mallorca of the 80s is also found in Luis Claramunt (Barcelona, 1951 _ Zarauz, 2000), it must be said that many links established: Seville; Madrid; Barcelona, of course; Morocco and Mallorca, among others. From each place he absorbed experience, experience, soul, to turn it into painting. Claramunt is defined as “painter, painter”, despite being self-taught, with a very personal work, from the moment he lives, he paints. In the most remote and marginal corners of the places where he lived or visited, in the landscape, in the most disadvantaged individuals, he finds the deepest pictorial experience of great richness. Often he was not just an observer, he mimicked the surroundings (the incursion, beyond the visit, of the artist in those environments) is known. They say that the artist seemed to possess the gift of omnipresence (it was not difficult to find him the same week in a bar in Seville, counting that he had worked in the bullfighting industry, as in a gypsy town in the most marginal Barcelona). He was a character with a strong presence. The vitality of the scenes, whether urban or bullfighting, are treated with an expressionist brushstroke without leaving aside the composition. Throughout his career he was freed from the images to go into abstraction, letting himself be carried away by automatism. Its chromatic range is very contained, which allows it to focus on compositional solutions on site. Claramunt was a romantic, cultured, sensitive, non-conformist, painter, with an extraordinary bond, even rarity, with his work. The artist worked the lithographic technique in the workshops of Taller 6A, in the third quarter of 1987 (how well he left a record of the same lithographic stones, with his peculiar way of signing and dating his work). Just before it highlights the effect that the Mediterranean exerts on his work with a series of Mallorcan marinas blurred by the intense blue. Even so, in the graphic work he does in Workshop 6a, he would fit into the pictorial automatism, always with an expressionist brushstroke. Formally, the Catalan artist would be, in this case, close to a certain surrealism, in which we find pictorial automatism, as a theoretical principle. With a great difference, even blurring the figures by this automatism in which unconsciousness has a lot of weight, these are real, painted, but lived.
This is a cult exhibition, a tribute to the “painting of painters” of the 80s, of great artistic and technical value. It is a tribute to three artists from outside Mallorca, that we lack today, influenced by the Mallorcan landscape, not so much as an aesthetic motif, but as a principle that activates the creative process, to convert the land, the environment, into painting. For the first time an exhibition shows in the same space the work of these three authors, contextualized in the decade of the 80s. Three creators who worked in the workshops of Workshop 6a, at a time when the artistic scene in Mallorca was in effervescence . Three artists who turned the landscape, nature, environment, experiences into exceptional works of unquestionable quality, thanks in this case to the original painting and graphic work. One more perspective, to understand the strong presence of Mallorca in contemporary art, and that of contemporary art in Mallorca.
Bel Font/ 6A ART GALLERY/ September, 2018