"Piedra con Piedra". Solo show at Cerquone Gallery. 2022, Madrid.
"Piedra con piedra", alude a un gesto primario y esencial como es el de colocar una piedra junto a otra, ya sea encima o al lado. Con este sencillo acto se levanta una pared, se forma el suelo que pisamos, se rodea un fuego, se construye un refugio, o incluso se ahuyentan los miedos.
Gesto a gesto, es como mis obras se construyen, valiéndome de una mezcla de materiales que aúna pasado y presente. Por un lado, el mortero de cal, al parecer se usaba ya en el periodo neolítico, como tinte en pinturas en cuevas, y posteriormente ha sido usado como material de construcción en las civilizaciones venideras, en combinación con arenas, yesos y otros elementos. Y por otro lado, la pintura acrílica, que es un compuesto sintético, de pigmentos y polímeros acrílicos, de uso relativamente moderno.
En base a múltiples experimentaciones previas, finalmente encuentro el equilibrio buscado, en una mezcla ponderada de cal, arena y pigmento acrílico, obteniendo como resultado un material de tipo casi escultórico, y con gran capacidad expresiva, que conecta por sí mismo y desde el primer momento con nuestra naturaleza más esencial, las emociones. De esta manera comienzo a desarrollar un lenguaje, en términos abstractos, en base a una gestualidad intuitiva, que se expande en volumen, a veces al límite y donde el color se hace palpable. El resultado son obras que redefinen la fisicalidad del medio pictórico, y cuya morfología responde a movimientos, a partir de un balance dinámico —que evoluciona en el tiempo— entre procesos aleatorios e intencionados.
Mis obras, surgen principalmente, de la pura fascinación por el color y las múltiples formas y caminos que este puede tomar, con especial interés en su presencia dentro de una realidad material, ya sea en el entorno urbano o de la naturaleza, al margen de una creciente virtualidad, que acapara gran parte de nuestra atención. Las obras incluidas en esta muestra, han sido hechas durante el 2021 y los meses recientes de 2022, en mi estudio, en un edificio industrial de un barrio de la periferia de Madrid. Durante la pandemia, yo personalmente comencé a sentir un distanciamiento de aquellas energías primarias que nos conectan con la naturaleza y nos hacen sentir de alguna forma, más en consonancia con el mundo que habitamos. Para mi, estas obras suponen una manifestación en gran medida de esos deseos y ensoñaciones. Poco a poco, en mi pensamiento aparecen visiones que deambulan entre lo arcaico y lo contemporáneo, lo exótico y lo conocido, como imágenes evanescentes que retienen sólo la textura atemporal que las envuelve, a modo de atmósferas, naturalezas soñadas y fragmentos de paisajes indeterminados. Lo que trato con estas obras, es no de representar una imagen concreta, sino de construir una realidad material, capaz de ser experimentada, en un diálogo con el espacio y el espectador.
"Stone with stone", alludes to a primary and essential gesture such as placing one stone next to another, either on top or next to it. With this simple act a wall is raised, the ground we walk on is formed, a fire is surrounded, a shelter is built, or even fears are banished.
Gesture by gesture is how my works are built, using a mixture of materials that combines past and present. On the one hand, lime-mortar was apparently already used in the Neolithic period, as a dye in cave paintings, and later it has been used as a construction material in future civilizations, in combination with sand, plaster and other elements. And on the other hand, acrylic paint, which is a synthetic compound of pigments and acrylic polymers, of relatively modern use.
After a series of previous experimentations, I finally found the desired balance, in a weighted mix of limestone powder, sand and acrylic pigment, resulting in an almost sculptural-type material, with great expressive capacity, that connects by itself and from the first moment with our most essential nature, the emotions. In this way I begin to develop a language, in abstract terms, based on intuitive gestures, which expands in volume, sometimes to the limit and where color becomes tangible. The resulting works redefine the physicality of the pictorial medium, and whose morphology responds to movements, based on a dynamic balance —which evolves over time— between random and intentional processes.
My works arise mainly from the pure fascination with color and the multiple forms and paths that it can take, with special interest in its presence within a material reality, whether in the urban environment or in nature, apart from a growing virtuality, that captures much of our attention. The works included in this exhibition have been made during 2021 and the recent months of 2022, in my studio, in an industrial building in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Madrid. During the pandemic, I personally began to feel a distancing from those primary energies that connect us with nature and make us feel somehow more in tune with the world we inhabit. For me, these works represent a manifestation to a large extent of those desires and dreams. Some visions begin to appear in my thoughts, wandering between the archaic and the contemporary, the exotic and the familiar, like evanescent images that retain only the timeless texture that surrounds them, like atmospheres, dreamlike natures and fragments of indeterminate landscapes. What I try with these works is not to represent a specific image, but to build a material reality, capable of being experienced.
"Sedimented silences". Pablo Carpio’s solo show at Mirat Projects. 2018
The exhibition charts the artist’s original speculations upon the urban space and its evolutions in a distant future. Inspired by the layered memories of metropolitan outskirts around the world, Carpio innovatively engages with painting as a non-human means of expression, revealing the poetics of abandonment in contemporary cities. Having previously investigated the many becomings of painting and the three-dimensionality of the medium overwhelming the canvas, Carpio’s work is taking a new turn. The artist questions the post-industrial landscape around his studio, revealing the becoming-painting of the space we inhabit, the floors we step on, the walls we cross. Carpio combines a variety of materials, both industrial and organic, meeting the randomness of matter with his own physical resistance and the strain of his building tools. His artistic interaction with the inert brings our attention to what will never be given voice, what endures throughout its own quiet fading. On the periphery of our perception dwell non-human tales of all kinds, retaining in their own flesh the sediments of a marginal history. These fragile modes of persistence testify for post-human worlds. How will time appropriate what is left behind in the centuries to come? For now, Carpio’s hypothesis of an art without man requires a different gaze on our immediate surroundings. With this exhibition Carpio opens an interstice of silence where the artist’s hand gives way to the imperceptible. The profound depth of colour that he presents us, upsets our categories of perception. A non-anthropocentric aesthetic is proposed, where the painting interrogates its own future. It addresses us as an unsolved problem that requires to remain so: how will art exist in the world we abandon? Working with paint-as-matter, pushing, falling, breaking, waiting and doing it all over again for a future layer, Carpio explores art as a never-ending process, a memory that is always about to be covered up.
—Jade de Cock de Rameyen
Constructing painting. 2017.
Espacio Vista y ArsCOCO presentan como parte de la segunda edición del Hybrid Festival la exposición Constructing Painting, con obras de Pablo Carpio y Denise Treizman. Sus prácticas desarrollan un ingenioso desafío a los convencionalismos que tradicionalmente han definido la disciplina plástica, descubriendo nuevas áreas de convergencia donde los lenguajes de la pintura y la escultura se entrelazan para convertirse en un ente casi autónomo. Las obras prestan especial atención a los componentes materiales del objeto artístico, su esqueleto, sus pieles, a los procesos que lo configuran y al espacio que lo alberga, tratando de entender qué es lo verdaderamente esencial, lo inmutable y qué, por el contrario, puede transformarse.
"2 Medios". Solo Show. Galería Mirat & Co. 2016
La obra del artista español radicado en Nueva York y Ciudad de México se desarrolla como una exploración formal del medio pictórico, su proceso de creación y sus posibilidades plásticas. Carpio utiliza la pintura como medio principal para la realización de su obras, utilizando esta como una herramienta que le permite explorar nuevas dinámicas de construcción. El artista crea piezas que trascienden los géneros: expandiendo la pintura a los territorios de la escultura y la instalación, evitando así encasillamientos, y que sirve para establecer un diálogo entre ambos medios. La evolución de la obra de Carpio lleva a la pintura a transgredir los límites del marco, primero tímidamente, después abrazándolo, hasta posteriormente engullirlo y finalmente prescindir de él. Asimismo, el artista utiliza superficies craqueladas o rajadas, abiertas, incluso llegando a romper la pintura en ocasiones, en el que es para el artista un acto de liberación de la pintura. La exposición “2 medios” es la primera exhibición individual del artista con obras traídas de Nueva York y México, y en ella se pretende crear una reflexión sobre la temporalidad de los medios pictóricos, ahondando en los mecanismos estructurales la pintura. Pablo Carpio abraza el movimiento y el cambio, generando una obra que actúa como reflejo de una constante y rápida transformación social. El artista juega con los materiales, las formas, volúmenes y colores para crear una pintura “orgánica”, casi comestible, en las que espectador además de ver las obras también quiere tocarlas. Muestra de ella es “Volver a empezar”, instalación donde el artista invita a la participación del visitante como parte integrante de la obra. Regalándole una muestra de su obra y haciéndola desaparecer poco a poco.
The work of the Spanish artist who lives and works between New York and Mexico City, develops as a formal exploration of the pictorial medium, its process of creation and its possibilities. Carpio uses painting as the main medium to carry out his works, as a tool that allows him to explore new construction dynamics. The artist creates pieces that transcend genres: expanding painting to the terrain of sculpture and installation, establishing a dialogue between both media. The evolution of Carpio's work leads to painting to transgress the limits of the frame. This is clearly represented in the work "Bound", work in which the painting absorbs the three-dimensional space of conventional support getting the pictorial is transformed into sculpture. The artist uses cracked, cracked or open surfaces, even breaking the paint sometimes, in which it is for the artist an act of liberation of the painting. The result of this is "Volver a empezar", an installation where the artist invites the participation of the visitor as an integral part of the work. Making it disappear little by little and exhorting him to reflect on the commercialization of the world of contemporary art. The artist plays with materials, shapes, volumes and colors to create an "organic" painting, almost edible. Color and light are inseparable in his work. The color plays a main role in the work of Carpio, where intense, vibrant colors predominate, which seem to go out to meet the visitor.
Bric Arts Media Short List. Curated By Erin Gleason. 2014
Pablo Carpio pushes the boundaries of painting into sculpture and installation, essentially condensing the space between the depicted and the lived. He often "builds paintings" using everyday objects as subject matter and as materials, challenging our interactions with the virtual representations of these objects and spaces.
Pablo Carpio: An Artist’s Life in New York. Jonathan Goodman. 2013. Published in Fronterad magazine
Pablo Carpio is from Madrid, but hasn’t visited home in two years. Currently he lives in the seam between the Bedford Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn; his studio is small and roughly divided in half between his living and working spaces—he has a loft to sleep in. The bathroom and shower are outside Carpio’s space, but he feels at home in his single room. In his mid-30s, Pablo represents the kind of artist moving into Brooklyn today; he is smart, talented, international, and open to the complex multicultural circumstances that make Brooklyn an ideal place to be a young artist. Brooklyn is already filled with artists; space is at a premium, and the cost of living there is exorbitant. But painters like Carpio find ways of beating the system; tiny garrets are common. Actually, Carpio’s particular situation is really quite good by current standards; his space allows him to work on four-foot-square paintings, the largest size that has occupied him so far. Generally speaking, Carpio’s forte is abstraction, of a highly balanced kind; his taut compositions remind us at this point that he worked as a graphic designer for years as a young man in Madrid.
The combination of a strong compositional intelligence and the wild colors on the cut strips of canvas that the painting is composed of make for a group of abstract works that connect with the visual complexity of New York City, which Carpio now calls home. The city’s art scene is no longer dominated by a particular style; however, a certain kind of abstraction, originating from the gains of painters working in the middle of the last century, persists in New York. I have seen the abstract expressionist style particularly affect Asian painters who stay in New York, and at the same time additionally rub off on almost anyone working abstractly in the city. Carpio’s art is no exception to this general rule; his work fits in well with other artists roughly his age. It looks as if he has a double allegiance, like most artists coming to New York from foreign homes. For example, the high-culture physicality of Antoni Tapies’ paintings and sculpture can be found in Carpio’s art, which includes a sculptural piece in which red paint has been draped over a wooden chair and left to dry.
At the same time, the considered intensity of the New York School has made its way into his paintings. Here his impulses are primarily about paint as its own material, its lively effects extended by Carpio’s highly successful sense of composition. The two-inch-wide strips cross over each other on a regular basis, building a momentum that comes close to the representation of movement. Interestingly, Carpio is an artist whose work cannot really be situated in a geographical place or even a particular time beyond that of modernism. He belongs to a youthful generation whose eclecticism carries the work beyond boundaries. As a result, it is impossible to discuss national origins in Carpio’s paintings; pinpointing just how Spanish it is fails. This causes a new group of problems, which emphasize the floating world of the artist and his inspiration. But, at the same time, it complicates—in a good way—the sophistication of a new generation of artists whose grasp of contemporary art is inherently international. As a result, the scene is multicultural and even global, with artists picking and choosing their way among styles and materials that belong, in an intuitive sense, to most everyone. This does not mean that everyone’s story and influences are the same, or that even the best of the work decays into a cultural merger. Instead, the art produced by someone as talented as Carpio shows us how abstraction, always an international idiom since modernism conceived it, remains a language of infinite interest and variety. This means that the open cultural space available to Carpio must at the same time be treated with internal discipline.
Again and again, I have seen foreign-born artists do well in New York, mostly because the city’s atmosphere of freedom doesn’t turn their head. Carpio brings with him from Spain an internal discipline that American artists find harder to establish, fed as they have been a diet of libertarianism and excessive theory. The real work that needs to be done often escapes the American artist, who proceeds as if his psychic development was occurring for the first time in history. It is, sadly, a narcissistic position, one not so generally found in the psychological outlook of artists from other cultures. So, as a result, Carpio is to be commended for his focus and specificity of purpose; he has explained that Spain’s economy in the last five or six years has not recovered from the world recession—New York’s more buoyant financial circumstances brought him to Brooklyn. Another side of Carpio’s creativity is found in his use of paint as a sculptural material. He has rolled up sheets of acrylic paint to make works that seem both flexible and taut— as happens in his sheet of red paint over a chair. To reduce the purpose of paint to the point of being an end in itself, as opposed to its usage as a material, a means to an end, is an act of sabotage. It is not a rhetorical stance, but rather a genuine reaction to the truth of paint’s physicality. Steeped in the history of perspective, we often forget that the materials of art are materials first, before they sketch out the illusion of three-dimensional depth on a two-dimensional plane.
As a contemporary artist, Carpio realizes that making it new is an esthetic demand that will not go away—hence, his penchant for exploration with paint as an end in its own right. Works such as his sculptures of paint posit a working space where anything can happen. Suddenly a material becomes the site of a transgression. And the idea and act of rebellion remains central to the young artist, who must act as an iconoclast before he can build an imagery with the shards of his destruction. With these paint sculptures Carpio has worked out a problem particular to his esthetic: to change the notion of paint from its traditional role as a bridge between artist and canvas to a newer function where it mediates nothing but itself. While the idea of putting forth paint as a material first is not a new idea—it has been part of the abstract artist’s esthetic since the middle of the twentieth century—Carpio’s treatment of the issue is particularly inspired. His technical competence reminds us that he has earned his living doing graphic design. But there is more than mere skill here: there is an exceptional energy contained in the paintings that revolves around both compositional structures and the existence of paint as a material. It is clear the Carpio knows what he is doing, but, more important, he finds a way to bring abstraction forward into contemporary dialogue. Despite the solemn liturgy of the critics who are convinced painting is dead, it is clear that the medium will remain alive, partly because it can illustrate ideas distinctively, and partly because it has tremendous attraction as material.
The sculptures continue Carpio’s distinguished investigations with paint as materials— they deploy paint structurally, rather than illustrationally. This of course results in sculpture, which we know of course is a different medium than painting. The real contemporaneity of Carpio’s paint sculptures has to do with their transformation of one medium into another in a way that is counterintuitive but works even so. Interestingly, although of course there is a conceptual underpinning in Carpio’s decision-making here, the sensuousness of paint remains dominant as an esthetic issue. The sculptures hang like paintings or are rolled up like paper, but they maintain an orientation that is threedimensional. Carpio doesn’t always solve the problems he devises for his interest and amusement, but he is consistently aware of the implications of awkwardness and even doubt when one medium is treated physically like another. Such an orientation operates as a kind of playfulness; it is also partially subversive in the sense that such play undermines received notions of what art should be. It is interesting to see how the esthetic choices of an artist would have conceptual consequences and not the other way around. For this alone, Carpio is an original. The nature of contemporary art often involves challenging pre-existing assumptions about painting and sculpture. In painting we have someone like the American artist Roxy Paine, who is best known as a sculptor but who has made painting machines kept to task by computers. In sculpture we have architects such as Frank Gehry, who push the physical boundaries of a building to its limits, at least in part to build and discover what can only be called a sculptural style. These are artists whose work translates one kind of artistic meaning into another.
Carpio belongs to this kind of artistic intelligence, and has done quite well in working out some of the problems described above on a smaller scale. He is not transforming the boundaries of his art so much as he is translating one kind of creation into a different language. His intelligence is restless and searching, much like many of the young artists who have settled in Brooklyn. Additionally, as a fairly young artist, Carpio has time to develop and grow in his field. It is my opinion that the most interesting advances in art are being found in the interstices of allied media: the point at which painting becomes sculpture, the point at which sculpture becomes architecture. This requires intellectual acuity, but also a kind of adroitness that rests on exploring the inherent properties of a particular medium. As time goes on, it will become clear that Carpio’s inventiveness takes abstract art another step forward, to a place where his originality is vehemently evident.