Garikoitz Cuevas

Sanlúcar de Barrameda, 1968
Una luz imprevista, mixed encaustic on canvas, 130 × 150 cm

About the artist

The painting does not enjoy a good reputation in these times when the Rampant Baron of conceptualism -banal- brandishes his two heads, the monastic conceptual and his twin mono channel, with vengeful and sectarian airs on everything that has to do with the painting. It is touching to find people who still profess respect and deploy projects in the field of painting, that is, painters. As all excess ends up turning against the overwhelmed, the few young painters who have survived the discouragement of recent years will soon have the opportunity to claim 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 nature it is not possible to put doors. It can be mistreated or even annihilated, which is what they are focused on more than they are on destroying the paint, but not putting doors on it.

Susan Sontag said in her celebrated and rather forgotten essay Against Interpretation of 1964, that art is not something to interpret or think, but to enjoy and ended her 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 as one’s own, as the pleasure of knowing that not everyone is willing to go through it, by inability, no doubt, that it is another way of ‘call fear. On the counterbalance, there is nothing more threatening than the silent way in which they try to impose their mediocre judgment. Because there is nothing more impoverishing than the hierarchical mediocrity that from the guru to the followers they throw to silence everything they fail to achieve within their limited field of knowledge.

But we are not overly alarmed either, what would life be like without opposites … And it is that 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, that we would not know where to begin to explain to them that this parchment in the knowledge of the life they have is for them an irreparable loss. There is no therapy to restore what never was. Because conceptual art has given great examples of how to reinterpret the meaning of artistic production from such disparate points of view as the social, anthropological, or political that the very nature of art has rethought. We admit that since its inception a new field of exploration has opened up for creators and the public. But his legitimate questioning of certain pictorial practices cannot be understood as an amendment to the whole of the painting itself.

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

We talked about knowledge, also about technique, basic elements of any pictorial work. This is where the work of Garikoitz Cuevas takes place, in the search for the tradition that precedes it, of this story in which to dive for the mere fact that it is unattainable and it is this quality that allows you to get lost in a thousand stories without solution of continuity. Whatever we do the task will never end. In such a way that his painting in layers, in innumerable layers, which they reveal at the same time as they hide, does nothing more than look for this eroticism of the painting of which Susan Sontag spoke to us. The mystery of painting is the mystery of what is visible and we will never tire of looking again at these paintings that have accompanied us throughout life to try to see again what has already been seen, because here is the more serious question, the one that produces the vertigo that precedes the vision attempt, will we be able to see again what we already saw or has our gaze lost the brilliance that made it always attentive 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 revealed it would have ceased to make sense. The work of art would disappear as such.

Garikoitz tries every time what he knows in advance that he will not succeed and would not want to do so either. In each of its strata, in every little probe in search of what painting hides, it will only find painting, in a kind of limitless game because it feeds on itself, as a carrier that is of the most effective system it has found. man to make visible what he does not understand, because it is desire that feeds him.

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


José Guirao Cabrera

Ausencias congénitas, mixed encaustic on canvas, 130 × 150 cm
Cenotes celestes I, mixed encaustic on canvas, 130 × 110 cm
Sin título, mixed encaustic on canvas, 180 × 130 cm
Recuerdo Primitivo, mixed encaustic on canvas, 50 × 60 cm
Paisaje, mixed on canvas, 100 × 110 cm
Sacudida (hoy no) II, 2011, mixed on canvas, 80 × 80 cm
El parpado y la costa, mixed on canvas, 110 × 130 cm
Desaliños temporales, mixed on canvas, 130 × 110 cm
Paisaje antiguo, mixed on canvas, 110 × 130 cm
Demanda de castigo, mixed on canvas, 100 × 90 cm
Cuento VII: The pandemia is not finished, mixed on book, 7 × 28,5 × 21,5 cm
Cuento VIII: ¿Qué será, será?, mixed on book, 2,5 × 31 × 22,5 cm
Cuento II: Cosecha, mixed on book, 3 × 29,5 × 21,5 cm
Cuento IV: El gran manipulador, mixed on book, 5,5 × 30 × 22,5 cm
Sin título, mixed encaustic on canvas, 110 × 130 cm
Sin título, mixed encaustic on canvas, 90,5 × 100 cm
Ángel Mateo Charris Carlos Díaz
List of artists