Garikoitz Cuevas

13.05.2021 - 19.06.2021

I am sorry to start this bluntly, but I think it is necessary to lay the cards on the table: Garikoitz Cuevas is not a painter.

I am not saying that he is trying to deceive us. Honestly, I think he is not fully aware of what his work i sable to hold.

So, let’s be clear: Garikoitz Cuevas is not only a painter. He is also a poet who works not with words but with light. But not one of those thunderous bar-room poets; no, he is a mystic who whispers verses about the solitude of the universe.

The little I know about abstract art was taught to me by Gari. During the two years that we shared a space (wall to wall) at La Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, I had the good fortune to accompany him to several exhibitions. Anxious and curious as I am, I questioned him in search of answers and he, so wise, so knowledgeable about his art, asked me questions. What do you feel, he said to me. Look at the painting, put yourself in the painter’s place and tell me what you feel. Put yourself in the painter’s place. Then I learned that art is looking at the world from other eyes. If that’s not poetry, you tell me.

To this day, Garikoitz is still shaking me with questions. On the occasion of this exhibition, he sent me several photos of his new paintings and asked me for my opinion. I told him that, at first glance, they seemed more… I won’t say minimalist, which seems to me a very hackneyed word that falls short in this case; I’ll say essential, primitive. They have their essence distilled. And I also told him that there was something wounded about them. And today, days later, it still seems that way to me. I think that some of his paintings portray a wound and what that wound says about us who observe it. In his work there is always something behind it, something hidden in plain sight. Something that inhabits that space between reality (figuration) and abstraction.

Another detail that fascinates me in Cuevas’ work is how he works with chance. I don’t know if he would agree. I have the impression that, when he paints, he opens a door to chance, he lets it sneak in and collaborate in the painting, but in a controlled way. Garikoitz says to chance: OK, let’s play, but according to my rules. And it works for him. Because any form of art seeks to give order and sense to the chaos of the world.

His new exhibition is called “Aurora”. According to the RAE dictionary, Aurora has several definitions. I will stick with three of them:

-The rosy light that precedes sunrise.

-Beginning or first time of something.

-Religious chant that was sung at dawn.

Didn’t I tell you that he was a mystical poet who works with light? But Aurora is also the name of a mother, his mother. Mother, light, giving light, warm and necessary wound, essential verses made colour or its absence: Garikoitz Cuevas, not just a painter; not just a poet.



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