Text published in the catalog:
Madrid: Galería Fernando Pradilla, ARCO 2020-Stand de “El Mundo”





Before lines or planes, shapes and colours, illusions of matter, José María Cruz Novillo (Cuenca, 1936) has frequented a poetic of space or, in a broader and more intense sense, a meditation on forms and space, that we know as the work of the visible. Cruz Novillo is an artist who travels on the margins of art history, powerful and energetic, being able to build a work that, over the years, has been characterized by its distinction, establishing deep formal proposals that investigate  around the fire that consumes the images. Seeker of a dimensional utopia, developing a thinking geometry, tempting conceptual art not without dodging an intense irony, the art of this creator has been an exercise on tempting how the creative elements should serve not so much for the game of forms but to promote reflection in the process, his, in a attentive listening. Ethical commitment to living through aesthetics, Cruz Novillo’s art has also been committed to intelligence, with the mystery of space, reflecting with hypersensitive and subtle, analytical mode, in the construction of visual metaphors which such technique (pictorial, sculptural, musical or sound, deeply poetic) that the artist has sometimes had to invent to achieve its expression.


He has been a praising creator of the insistence of forms, often serial, modular or subject to variants, without being disposable of a certain post-dadá resonance, resembling his creation emerging in a world of silence. Structures as models, are silences of minimalist inheritance but also as centers of energy, reaching the complex through the aspect that carries what is, apparently, simple.

Its creation must be contextualized in the geometric currents that, since the Bauhausian and constructivist heritage that, since the post-world war, developped in Latin America (see the example of the MADÍ or the proposals that Lygia Clark symbolized), also in the GRAV Paris and of the artists gathered around the mouvement of Denise René. In Spain, the geometry was developed individually by Cruz Novillo together with various artists, at the same time that the extinction of informalism took place, and had a turning point in the agitation of “Before the art” (1968-1969) and, of Immediately, in the creation of the Calculation Center (Centro de cálculo) of the University of Madrid (CCUM) and its “Seminar of Automatic Generation of Plastic Forms” (1968). Its eccentric character (with respect to the canonical art history of our time) did not prevent Cruz Novillo from being recognized, since the eighties, in major international events: ARCO, Art Basel, Art Cologne, or FIAC. Of special relevance was the presentation of his work in a solo room of the XIV Biennial of São Paulo, in 1977.


Cruz Novillo began his speech at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando with a poem by Alberto Caeiro, wondering about the silent mystery of things. And why not refer to the silence? So frequented in the art of our time, if we think of Malevich, Duchamp or Klein, adding to this brief and capricious list the ineffable Cage, Kelly and Palazuelo’s friend. Radical incitement to think, Cruz Novillo has not only addressed the tentative processes of solving his ideas but, frequently, these seem as soon as they have been revealed as deconstructed, indefatigably, after analyzing an extensive field of their possibilities, reflecting on barely noticeable changes. Expanded task in the interrogation, in the irony and perplexity, asking about the void and its limits, around the forms and their borders, in the disquisition of the vast space from the outside beyond the colour and that, in this way, in challenge size by raising so much question, has transcended towards the terrain of metaphors and the symbolic. In the meantime, this post bauhausian lineage artist will pronounce some words little heard in our artistic panorama, nor frequented in the repertoire traveled, sometimes of icy accuracy, by the implacable constructivist orthodoxy: “beauty” is one of them, dreaded voice it seems that exhaled as a necessary counterpoint to the exaltation of order.


Consciousness, said imagination. It is a fragment of a recent verse, thinking about the images. Build our artist, restless, the forms: painted, sculpted, drawn, erected, tinted, assembled, projected or emptied into space. Time or form, the colour and rhythms applied become, even from that silent consciousness, places that evoke the attempt of harmony, especially when we contemplate the complexity of the artist’s extensive work as a corpus, all-he-one subjected to the intensity of the variations. Harmony of thinking, his own is a harmony that makes the world become a geometry of strangeness. I finished reading Piglia when I came across these words: reality is never given, it is always intriguing, that’s why the artist makes it the object of a permanent research, generating searches. Let’s widen our eyes, Cruz Novillo proposes, let’s listen to the lines and shapes extended in time. Let’s tempt at random. Let’s listen to the world.


The energy and the number preside over the destinies of the Cosmos, in the voice of Claude Esteban. At the intersection of time, found the space with the paintings of Cruz Novillo, bands of colour, spectra or diaphragms, circular or elliptical elements appear that seem to carry their eye condition. And the aforementioned application of titles with objective air refers to a complexity that seems to calm your sensitive skin. Questions about the dimensions of the space, around the folds or the constructive elements. True reality that, once transformed, becomes a perceptive poetic, a glow, a state of consciousness. The active form the space, leaving the mark of experience and dreams. Inquiry about the void, drawing in space, self-absorbed questions thrown incessantly at that space. Resonant the questions that he traces in his paintings, yes, our artist creates by raising questions, waiting, it seems, that the images are claimed by another imagination, questions about the representation or about the vain truth, if not conceiving with apparent simplicity elements that are led to limits.

It is tempting to meet Cruz Novillo, something of the unknown in him.