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Madrid. Espacio Valverde, XII/2016-I/2017



Fire consumed the images

by Alfonso de la Torre


First forms, impassive, hermetic powers (…),

Gates and guardians, gulf and bow stretched out over the abyss.

Pablo Palazuelo1


A door open to the invisible, but also open to the poetic; approaching the creations of Robert

Ferrer I Martorell (Valencia, 1978) one is driven inevitably to a first lobby in this dwelling

of thought, room of quiet lights, living room of lost steps inhabited by noble guests

of another’s time. I think about a meeting of Mompó, Sempere and Ràfols Casamada,

inmemorial lineage of poet painters. Or the more concentrated Miró, that saw the night

twinkle in Normandy. The thin chromatic rhythms of Alfredo Hlito, also inhabits that room,

with a suspended air of modern time. Bauhaus, Klee and its neighbor Kandinsky are also

in this brotherhood of geometers and clear painters, persecutors of what we have called

the work of the visible. In addition to certain artists mentioned in this text, some names

inevitably come to mind: Carlos Cruz Díez, Sandu Darie, Richard Paul Lohse-Stiftung, Tomás

Maldonado, Alejandro Otero, Alexandre Wollner, among others.

The doors of Ferrer, tempting the invisible, are opened to another room, where

Edmond Jabès and Yves Bonnefoy, poets of nudity and lethargy, praised a world in

suspension inhabited by deserted streets. Avatars of a door permanently opened to

questions. “I looked for the limit and found the limitless. I searched for the unlimited

and found the limit 2”,wrote Jabès. More gates, this time to another room, where Maurice

Blanchot, with a grimace, wonders about the certainty of the white, like Ferrer in

some of his monochrome white storms.

The light vibrates, creating an atmosphere of initiation, evoking a let there be light3

and the artist’s task to tempt a kind of incandescence, like when Malevich pointed

out that light was, precisely, the possibility of revelation4: Painting becoming a path

of knowledge, wisdom about the world. Robert’s Ferrer art of thinking, has taken us

to boulevard Saint Germain occasionally, chez Lina Davidov, where we could meet

the strange games of balance in his works, dancing forms submerged or exploding

in transparency, threads and planes, exalted circles and squares, forms in primary

colors that travel beyond the extension of the artwork, poetic vibration of signs that

live between the luminary of space. Such spaces becoming luminescent, they would

seem to be a heady expanse of light, glare before emptiness, biting frost on the long

winter day. I reminded about him and his white doors when a few days ago i was

reading Georges Limbour writings about Klee: «Quand l’hiver glace sur les vitres a

magnificent fond of pullulant crystal of prisms, d’étoiles, d’arbres aux rayonnements

de fruits et of fleurs5 “



Claude. Palazuelo. Paris: Éditions

Maeght, 1980, p. 147.

2 JABÈS, Edmond. Cited by BENHAMOU,

Maurice. In the Distances

catalog. Paris: Hospital de la Salpêtrière-

Chapelle de Saint-Louis, 1981.

3 Mention of the work of Yaacov

Agam, Que la lumière soit. Designed

for the Musee d’Art Moderne of

the Ville de Paris, VI / 1967 (and the

beautiful images of the “action” by

Hervé Gloaguen).

4 MALEVICH, Kazimir. Light and color

(1923-1926). Lausanne: Jean-Claude

Marcadé-Sylviane Siger, Éditions

L›Age d›Homme, 1981.

5 Limburg, Georges. Paul Klee.

Paris: “Documents”, nº 1, IV / 1929.

Reproduced in: Georges Limbour.

Spectateur des arts. Écrits sur la

peinture. 1924-1969. Paris: Le Bruit

du Temps, 2013, p. 43.


Ferrer is linked to a group of artists that frequent the transparent: “Still vibrating /

crystalline/ sonorous / contraction” Palazuelo wrote6. In Cirlot’s dictionary of symbols

we can read “The state of transparency is defined as one of the most effective

and beautiful conjunction of opposites: matter exists, but it is as if it does not exist,

for it can be seen through. There is no hardness to contemplation, there is no resistance

or pain.7”

A weightless plastic world, lyrical air structures in the tradition of Lazul Moholy-Nagy,

Francisco Sobrino, Jesus Rafael Soto or Georges Vantongerloo, among others. Ferrer

could sign the mythical “Manifesto” designed by Auguste Herbin in the illustrious Paris

of the fifties, that defended an utopia of a space conceived as an exaltation of light:

“lines, shapes, surfaces, colors and their reciprocal relationships, three-dimensional, a

certain volume animated by planes, volumes, emptiness; exalting light. 8” Or the elevation

of the new realities that Sempere points out in those years, being himself another

constructor of mysterious poeticized spaces in the form of luminescent boxes: “the

problem of light and its capability to widen the horizon of possibilities of non-figurative

art (…) The essential element is light. It is born in the work itself and reaches the

spectator with all the force of its physical presence, poeticized, materialized by simple

planes and colored or transparent materials9” he will write in another “Manifesto”

delivered in the Paris Salon of 1955, almost as a pamphlet of light10.

I think about how the air in Ferrer’s constructions is populated by the same poetic rumor, a

transition to equilibrium, but also by tensions that elevate the forms involved, that become

energy and number. We know the destinies of the cosmos, the joint commandments: «visible

surpluses, sur l’étendue measurable de la toile or du papier, les mandements conjoints

-Énergie et Nome- qui président aux destinées du Cosmos11”. Ferrer makes his tempting

reflections of transgeometry, working around the self palpitation of signs that will remain

both revealing and caressing the question about its possible immediate consumption: “unveiling”,

“mystery “,”extinction»,»silence» or “footprints “, are terms frequently used by this

artist, accustomed to territories full of transits and uncertainty.

Thinking about the enigmas of the pictorial space, displacements and pretensions

that do not dodge its relation with emptiness, a conception that is forged in a particular

poetic dimension. Ferrer seems to try to extend the space, transmuting it by

folding it or folding it over itself and over various sections or expansions, fragments of

weightless travelers, constructions locked by this careful forger of transparencies that

will reveal the dream of the hectic life of forms.


6 PALAZUELO, Pablo. Pablo Palazuelo.

Inextinguishable flame. Poems

(Anthology by Alfonso de la Torre).

Madrid: Ediciones del Umbral-Colección

Invisible, nº 1, 2015-2016, p. 54.

7 CIRLOT, Juan-Eduardo. Dictionary

of symbols. Barcelona: Labor, 1992

(the edition consulted), p. 152.

Published in Barcelona: Luis Miracle

Editor, 1958.

8 HERBIN, Aguste. Premier Manifeste

du Salon des Réalités Nouvelles.

Paris, 1948.


Loló. Manifest. Paris, 8 / VII / 1955.

10 He gave it to Lolo Soldevilla (1901-

1971) in the “Salon des Réalités Nouvelles”

(Paris, 1955): “the light,” they

wrote, “is the essential element”,

also claimed “poetic dialogue.” It is

narrated, with greater amplitude in:

OF THE TOWER, Alfonso. Eusebio

Sempere: Round trip. . 55 et seq.

11 ESTEBAN, Claude: Présence

de Palazuelo. In: Traces, Figures,

Traversées. Paris: Éditions Galilée,

1985, p. 219.



Doors to traffic, mysterious open spaces, magnificent in their own mysterious dark

being. Ferrer is thus another introverted imaginative, another gentleman of solitude12,

a creator that also shares certain painter attributes, tempting and elevating

mysteries. Robert is a silent artist frequented by an extraterritorial air that fills his

proposals, as a painter of enigmas, his ordered world does not cease to propose

forms of paradoxical space, dodging mere formal games or innocuous entropy, he

is rather working on a sort of aporia: around the fire that consumes the images.

Certainly linked to some of our most lyrical artists but, at the same time, with an air

of sovereign independence in his work that emphasizes the encounter of measure

and accident. Ferrer rises from the earthly surface. As in the cycle of De somnis,

Pablo Palazuelo’s series in the nineties, Ferrer’s works seem to be lethargic and the

devices of reverie seem to be summoned in some of his doors, since Ferrer reveals

himself as another dreamer of the lines.

Knowing his desire of the invisible, his work not only promotes reflection around

the pictorial space, but the expansion beyond the surface of the artwork, an extension

of questions that tempt the gloom in multiple directions. Anti-solemn,

with verses written in minimum elements, Ferrer speaks to lines that sometimes

seem to rise in a labyrinth or expand as a defined passage, joyful and unstoppable,

imperious as it seems, three-dimensional, while suddenly , they travel to

the center and concentrate themselves. Lines become emblems of movement in

space, extraordinary vehicles of energy that allow the invisible to become visible.

A concentrated task that emphasizes the resting on the ground and flying13 that

Grohmann saw in Klee.

I like to remember always -already saturated with poets, caressed now by another

lethargy- that in trying to order space Ferrer is indelibly placed under the sign of

malinconia, for geometry is an enigma, “exile and meditation on exile” as Yves Bonnefoy



12 OF THE TOWER, Alfonso. Pablo

Palazuelo: the gentleman of the

solitude. Madrid: Fernández Braso

Gallery, 2016.

13 GROHMANN, Will. Paul Klee (1879-

1940). Paris: Flammarion, 1955, s / p.

14 Cited by: CLAIR, Jean. Machinism

and melancholy in the Italian and

German painting between the wars.

In: Malinconia. Madrid: Visor, 1999,

  1. 90.