The seventh personal exhibition of Joan Hernández Pijuan, in collaboration with the artist’s family, includes six charcoals and gouaches on paper, two large gouaches on paper and five large oil paintings on canvas.
Joan Hernández Pijuan started as an expressionist. With time, he turned to a sparer way of painting, focusing more on volumes and putting more order among the pictorial elements. In the seventies, he worked on giving new dimensions to landscape-themed pictures. He then felt always more interested in empty spaces, among others those surrounding objects, giving them a metaphysical dimension. Typical example of this period is the White series presented at Xippas Gallery of Paris in 1998.
The surfaces of his paintings are delicate textures resulting from superimposed oil coats, leaving sometimes unpainted the edges of the canvas. On a monochrome background, Pijuan sets out colour, light and movement in a new way for each of his work. The range of colours used throughout his career is limited to ochre, yellow, rose, green and, most characteristic of his work, black and white. The iconographic elements of his paintings – houses, cypresses, clouds and flowers – are represented isolated. They are recurrent themes of a work in which emotion pours out through opposites, where full and empty, visible and invisible, light and opacity lead to meditation.
By drawing furrows, the artist fashions the motif and isolates it, revealing the undercoat. Smoothed and scratched, the painting’s surface beckons near to discover the coats in which shapes are engraved. The canvas offers different readings and thus needs interpreting. The represented picture becomes a sensation. The point is no longer to describe a landscape or to conceptualize a space, but on the contrary to express the sensitive universe. The monochrome areas’ sobriety and the limited vocabulary allow the gathering and the identification of inner and outer spaces.
The result of the pictorial experience is silence. Pijuan interprets it as a topographical heritage, a visual sensitivity linked to his homeland, Catalonia, which allows him to savour “the emotion of a summer day’s absolute immobility”.
Joan Hernández Pijuan was born in 1931 in Barcelona, where he also died in 2005. In 1993, The National Museum Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and the Museo de Monterrey, Mexico dedicated to the artist a retrospective. In 2001, he was elected member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. Several exhibitions have been dedicated to his work. Among others, the MACBA put on a touring retrospective in 2003, which has been presented at the Musée d’art et d’histoire of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, at the Konsthall of Malmö in Sweden and at the Galleria d’arte moderna of Bologna in Italy in 2004. The same year, he received the Premi Ciutat Fine Arts Award of Barcelona. In 2005, he took part to the 51st Venice Biennale, showing in The Experience of Art curated by Maria de Corral at the Italian Pavilion.
Joan Hernández Pijuan is one of the greatest Spanish artists of his generation. He has won international recognition and his works are presented in prestigious collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo of Madrid, the MACBA of Barcelona, the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Genève and the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Neuchâtel.