Garikoitz Cuevas

Sanlúcar de Barrameda, 1968
Morderse la lengua, 2013 , mixted on canvas, 100 × 120 cm

About the artist


The painting does not enjoy good reputation in these times in which the Baron Rampante of the conceptualism -banal- brandishes its two heads, the monastic conceptual and its twin mono channel, with vengeful and sectarian air on everything that has to do with painting . It is moving to find people who still respect and deploy projects in the field of painting, ie painters. As any excess ends up turning against those who have been exceeded, the few young painters who have survived the discouragement of recent years will soon have the opportunity to reclaim their place in the sun in the territory of contemporary art. After all, art in all its manifestations is related to nature whether human or not, from its origins and to nature it is not possible to put doors on it. It can be mistreated or even annihilated, which is what more people are focused on destroying the painting, but not putting doors on it.

Said Susan Sontag in his celebrated and rather forgotten essay Against the interpretation of 1964, that art is not something to interpret or think, but to enjoy and end his manifesto with a phrase that briefly summarized everything: Instead of a hermeneutics, we need an erotic art …

Few things could be more enlightening about the need to return to the path of sensuality, to think of it as one’s own, as the pleasure of knowing that not everyone is willing to go through it, because of incapacity, without a doubt, which is another way of naming fear. In the counterbalance, there is nothing more threatening than the silent way in which they try to impose their mediocre criteria. Because there is nothing more impoverishing than the hierarchical mediocrity that from the guru to the adepts launch to silence everything they fail to achieve within their limited field of knowledge.

But do not be alarmed too much, what would be of life without opposites … And they have seen and understood so little of what happened in the sixties and seventies of the last century in the field of conceptual art, we would not know where start to explain that this lack of knowledge of the life they have is an irreparable loss to them. There is no therapy to restore what never happened. Because conceptual art has given great examples of how to reinterpret the meaning of artistic production from points of view as disparate as the social, anthropological or political that has rethought the very nature of art. Let’s admit that since its appearance a new exploration field has been opened for creators and the public. But its legitimate questioning of certain pictorial practices cannot be understood as an amendment to the totality of the painting itself.

Painting is becoming more difficult every day, more problematic, because painting itself, apart from its detractors, has been the technique that has been used the longest, for millennia, and its evolution transparently reflects that long journey. It has been painted so much and in so many different ways that moving forward in that tradition makes it necessary not only to know it in depth, but also an attempt to go even further than those who preceded us have gone.

We have spoken of knowledge, also of technique, basic elements of all pictorial work. This is where the work of Garikoitz Cuevas takes place, in the search of the tradition that precedes it, of that history in which to dive for the sole fact that it is unattainable and it is this quality that allows us to lose ourselves in a thousand stories without continuity solution. Whatever we do, the task will never end. In such a way that his painting in strata, in countless layers, that reveal at the same time that they hide, does not do more than to look for that erotic of the painting of which Susan Sontag spoke to us. The mystery of painting is the mystery of the visible and we will never tire of looking at those paintings that have accompanied us throughout our lives to try to see what we have already seen, because that is the most serious issue, the What causes us the vertigo that precedes the vision attempt? Will we be able to see what we have already seen or our eyes have lost the brightness that made us always be alert to any new possibility of vision that made us try to live with the mystery? Because the mystery is never revealed or not at all. If it were unveiled it would have stopped making sense. The work of art would disappear as such.

Garikoitz tries every time what he knows in advance that he will not achieve and he would not want to do it either. In each of its strata, in each small sounding in search of what the painting hides, you will only find painting, in a sort of game without limit because it feeds on itself, as a carrier that is the most effective system that has found the man to make visible what he does not understand, because it is desire that feeds him.

This is what Garikoitz Cuevas has been doing for a long time and it is what we care about in his work, the desire for knowledge that feeds it.


José Guirao Cabrera

Sacudida. (Hoy no) I, 2011, mixted on canvas, 80 × 80 cm
Sacudida. (Hoy no) II, 2011, mixted on canvas, 80 × 80 cm
Respiración asistida , mixted on canvas, 150 × 130 × 9 cm
Verso breve III, 2010 , mixted on canvas, 25 × 83 cm
Daniel Cuervo Carlos Díaz
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