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ROBERT FERRER I MARTORELL. TRANSICIÓN AL EQUILIBRIO
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.
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 “
1 PALAZUELO, Pablo-ESTEBAN,
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
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
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
8 HERBIN, Aguste. Premier Manifeste
du Salon des Réalités Nouvelles.
9 SEMPERE, Eusebio-SOLDEVILLA,
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
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,