Sala Rekalde

Jesús Pastor

07 Feb - 04 May 2014

7 February - 4 May 2014

In COLLABORATION with FGTB. Fundación Gonzalo Torrente Ballester - Santiago de Compostela.

Curator: Miguel Fernández-Cid.

Jesús Pastor (Santurtzi, 1954) is an artist who combines sound theoretical training, he's got a double major in philosophy and fine arts. His extreme curiosity makes him stop and study images until he masters them. His involvement in research and teaching meant that his presence in exhibitions was meagre for many years, although he is a professionally-acclaimed artist who won the National Engraving Prize in 1997. He has had solo exhibitions at venues such as Fundación Telefónica in Madrid, Fundación Pilar i Joan Miró in Palma de Mallorca, Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid or the University of Salamanca.

The exhibition in Santiago and Bilbao is a reflection on his current work, where his most recent works are set together with a selection of his earliest ones, thus allowing the viewer to follow his process, both in terms of his research channels and their subsequent synthesis. Ultimately, an obstinate and constant question underpins his work regarding the place that is the setting for the image.

His latest work was unveiled at the exhibition in Santiago at the end of 2013, while all the selected works, including earlier works, from 1982 onwards, that are the key points in his discourse, are on display in Bilbao.


Jesús Pastor belongs to a generation of Basque artists who studied at the Fine Arts Faculty in Bilbao in the latter half of the seventies. About this artist who stood at a remove from the general keys affecting his own and the following generations, as Miguel Fernández-Cid, curator of the show, points out, “one senses that his artistic training is linked to a championing of proposals of a constructive, minimalist and conceptual kind (...). He is concerned with the processual aspect of art work, and he does not even hesitate to show it as a documentary stage prior to the completion of the images, as if wanting to leave proof, or traces, of the internal functioning of things, although he does not display the slightest interest either in making this explicit, or in trying to hide it. He simply allows for the possibility that, should anyone be drawn to this area, they may to some degree satisfy their curiosity.”

It is hard to point to a single tendency or a group of artists towards whom Jesús Pastor feels close. His choices are personal in their diversity: the work of Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman or Brice Marden, the debates opened up by the minimalists and artists who set out on a search through structures of repetition or simulation; the analysis and reflections in the writings of Derrida, Deleuze, Bataille, Jaime Echarri or Andrés Ortiz-Osés; the intelligent paradoxes posed by Mallarmé or Lewis Carroll.

Initially Jesús Pastor’s work was linked with experiences associated with electrography, and the search for internal structures in the images. But, from the mid-1980s until the start of the 90s, when he used the mediums of marble and aluminium, his work took on a special presence and mystery, examples of which can be seen in the works selected in this show from the series Inflexiones, encompassing forms closed in upon themselves as well as those that expand.

Inflexiones starts out from the discovery of an organic order within the interior of a black shape: reticula that are furrows, simulating undefined landscapes. Jesús Pastor engraves these forms on slabs of marble, transformed into subtle bas-reliefs; counterposing them is an image of continuity, or its negative, brought out first by the juncture of white and black marble, then by the grey aluminium. Especially striking are the smooth diptychs on which the white marble and the soft grey aluminium engage in a harmonious dialogue of classical undertones, producing perfectly drawn and measured forms.

The materials are transformed with astonishing ease, making way for nuances, pictorial values and, essentially, tactile values, such as the use of metal filings that accentuate the different textures and draw them to the painting. One of the greatest tributes to a painting that we ought to call ‘interior’, at one and the same time cryptic, hermetic and almost sensual, is a group of four pieces, 40 x 40 cm., that closes off many possibilities. The pieces are made of slabs of marble and cast aluminium plate put together, leaving the traces of the join at the edges, rough and unpolished and the face of the marble slab invisible behind the aluminium. The inherent textures of the material, of the mechanical processes brought to bear upon them, recreate ambiguous landscapes, Morandini-like spaces.

Next to these closed images, in other works, forms open up like window panes offering a landscape view; they move apart at a measured pace or tend to expand, escaping their original border, covering the wall, reclaiming the empty white neutral space. As if colour were physical and could float, in its own plane.

In the series Latitudes the substitution of opaque materials (marble, aluminium) for glass allows Jesús Pastor to address the often-asked question regarding the actual plane upon which an image is placed. By superposing multiple sheets of glass, he manages to blur the visual effect and conceal the form, and produce an echoing effect, like an optical fiction, while the light is filtered by the glass, creating an atmosphere that is different in each piece.

When he takes as his point of departure books that have stimulated him to aesthetic reflection and subjects them to analysis, the prior process is intense and thorough. While years before, he photocopied his body or enlarged shapes until he managed to cause them to break up, giving rise to other new non-referential forms even though they started out from a representation, he now converts a book, a musical score or an image into small circles that contain a minute fragment of the epidermis of each sheet.

Once more he brings in a set of clinical procedures, of analysis and mediation, in order to later seek out from the nuances the image he pursues. Amazingly we can verify how, at the end, each work holds the synthesis of what is displayed in the original material, thanks to the way Jesús Pastor selects his intervention and defines the final image: the hollows that appear in Diálogos IV..., the mirror effect of El pliegue..., the dividing in La doble hélice..., or the harmonious sharpness of the special suite –magic and melodic– represented by the pieces that stem from scores by Lucio Berio, Morton Feldman, Luigi Nono or Bernhard Lang, musicians whose compositional structure Jesús Pastor feels close to.

The exhibition closes with a selection of meandering paintings, in which there is a reappearance of the notion of forms that float in space and play, between presence and evocation.

Tags: Donald Judd, Brice Marden, Joan Miró, Bruce Nauman