"Private Collection", Pablo San Juan
February 3rd - March 19th, 2011
Colour is a drug, a loss of consciousness, a king of blindness – at least for a moment. Colour requires, or results in, or perhaps just is, a loss of focus, of identity, of self. A loss of mind, a kind of delirium, a kind of madness perhaps.
David Batchelor, Chromophobia
Colour may well be the element of our infancy that pervades our subconscious most intensely. Our infant and toddler years, the most decisive in our development as adults, are an external DNA that defines our entire life. Ironically, they are also the years over which we have the least control, when we are the most vulnerable and when our survival depends entirely on others. Major advances in neurology and the study of how the human brain works show that intuitions, feelings and emotions have similar qualities to logic. Our conscious knows as much as our unconscious, but we can only rely on our conscious when we have all the necessary information.
Although the work of Pablo San Juan can at first emit an aura of familiarity, his paintings are not based on tangible shapes or objects from our everyday use. They take us to a remote area of lost memory, located in each of our childhoods, touching on our tireless subconscious as it guards valuable treasures or exposes our deepest fears.
Much of Pablo’s work offers a unique dwelling for the odd coexistence of what is rational and what is irrational. Yet his irrationality stems from infancy, from the love and awe with which a child chooses one colour and not another for a drawing. Thanks to a child’s natural, intuitive intelligence – filled with passion and curiosity – a crayon held between those small fingers is magically capable of creating the most marvellous lines ever seen. A child’s irrationality is profound and exciting, unlike the often-shallow irrationality of adults which can mostly be relegated to the category of “silly”.
In this exhibition, entitled Private Collection, the group of works at first strike the viewer as more calculated and unemotional than Pablo’s earlier series due to his increased use of angular shapes and structures.
But with a closer look at any one of the works, even the small collages, that initial feeling of coldness almost immediately gives way to something profoundly personal and delicate. Pablo’s exquisiteness when embarking on his unique game with colour is admirable not just because it is pleasing to the eye, but because his small, precisionist pieces reveal an innate understanding of colour combined with a personal, unpretentious technique that modestly caresses not only the surface of the canvas, but also our souls.
The “Untitled” paintings that have accompanied Pablo throughout his career reveal his unequivocally pure and coherent approach to painting. The viewer is alone before the image, helpless, without any references or explanations, without anything to hold onto before works disguised by innocent colours whose shapes are so simple that they are almost obscene. Shy by nature but aware of undressing himself in each of his paintings, Pablo remains loyal to his interpretation of the artistic mean, and more importantly, to his approach to painting. Through the process of his utmost meticulousness and careful precision, he takes us to a uniqueness that beholds something universal, as long as we are willing to join him in his soothing vision of life.
Nico Munuera. Valencia. January, 2011
(Translation: Tracy Rucinski)
You cannot kiss Nefertiti.
You cannot kiss Nefertiti. You cannot touch Klein’s blue. You cannot eat a Pablo San Juan. A pity. Pablo’s works are like that, made with such care that even a golden oriole would let him build her nest. In his early works, a design of an almost gemological purity of lines predominated, with a levitical simplicity and accurate sculptural character. I always thought of them as luminous objects. In his last works a frenzied drawing prevails, a drawing that the primitive Italians of the 20th century would envy. The appearance is now more spatial, more architectonic, like a Sol … What has not changed is the exquisiteness of the repository. A timeless, devonian repository. A smooth and soft crystallization where the sobriety of lines and the hypnotic saturation of color go hand in hand. In my hometown, when water is trapped in the orifices of trees after a rainfall, we say it is “asleep”. That is how I feel about Pablo’s painting: a sleeping beauty in the forest, a beauty you cannot kiss.
Santiago Ydañez, Granada, January 2011
(Translation: Jose María Gallego)
Untitled (2010) - Acrylic on Canvas - 125 x 100 cm
S/T (2010) - Acrylic on Canvas - 180 x 200 cm
S/T (2010) - Acrylic on Canvas - 20 x 30 cm
S/T (2010) - Acrylic on Canvas - 180 x 200 cm
Untitled (2010) Dipthych - Acrylic on Canvas - 155 x 220 cm