Guillermo Peñalver

The use of his own biography, not only as available material to be elaborated, with which to manage, but as the driving force of all his artistic work, has been a constant for Guillermo Peñalver (Tarragona, 1982) since his beginnings. Theme and subject, pretext, logic of a concrete narration that, by becoming public, aspires to reach the value of a symbol that universalizes what is treated in the first person and from a particular, even private, point of view”. With these words, the critic Óscar Alonso Molina introduced us to the artist’s latest project, Self-Portrait in Interior, which could be seen at the ABC Museum in Madrid a few months ago.

And indeed, it is under this premise, where the personal and the public, the intimate and the universal transfer their respective influences, that Peñalver’s work must still be approached. Those drawings and works of “marquetry with paper and cardboard” so singular of his, which now, for the second time alone, he presents at the Gema Llamazares Gallery in Gijon, from March 13 to May 9.

In fact, the title chosen for the occasion, From the inside to the outside, alludes once again to that permeable membrane that makes the artist’s particular moments, his domestic scenes, his private rites, become scenes where each spectator can project himself, feeling himself as the protagonist. The step to achieve this is to understand them literally as phenomenal existential allegories.

After having worked for more than two years on his previous project as a sort of ambitious, multifaceted self-portrait, Peñalver turns around and undoes the path. He thus recovers numerous ideas that had to be momentarily abandoned during the arduous work process. Naturally, during this waiting time he himself recognizes how “the landscape has been changing, the shoulders have become overgrown with weeds, the lawn is somewhat neglected, and nothing is ever again what it was…”.

These new scenarios allow the artist to experiment, to try new formulas, a certain thematic, formal and procedural freedom, after the tension/concentration maintained around an obsessive idea. The result shows the pleasure of concentrating once again on narrative-works, isolated, capable of concentrating in themselves a complete story from its presentation to its denouement.

In this way, the exhibition can be understood as a more open set of issues; images somewhat scattered and with something light, festive, playful about his usual concerns, which are now treated as a breath of fresh air and in a more open way. For example, for the first time in a long time, the artist has moved away from the rigorous black and white in which he kept his previous process as an immovable premise, and which has now given way to new drawings in full color.

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