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"Joan Hernandez Pijuan: Painter"
2003-11-22 until 2004-01-24
The exhibition of works by Spanish-Catalan artist Joan Hernández Pijuan
consists of paintings and drawings from the beginning of the 1970s up
until today., Hernández Pijuan, who was born in Barcelona in 1931 and who
now lives part time in the Spanish countryside, began to paint at an early
age. In the 1960s he began painting in an expressionist style whose lines
revel the movements of the hand and body. During the 70s, empty spaces
gained an ncreasingly prominent place in his imagery and the lines of
sweeping gestures were replaced by more low-key, geometric shapes. The
present exhibition of his works commences at this point in his artistic
In the mid-70s, Hernández Pijuan began experimenting with the landscape as
a motif. He discovered that the window of his studio framed the landscape
without any horizontal line, sky, mountain or tree. This landscape with no
other frame or limits than those provided by the window inspired him and
he found what he saw to be attractive. He always paints the landscape from
memory and so he never sets up his easel "en plein air". He remembers the
landscape of his childhood when he roams the surroundings near his studio
in Folquer. He makes simplified descriptions of what he sees and these may
later provide the starting point for a painting. In this way, when he
paints he is "surrounded by his motif on all sides" rather than being
reduced to the humdrum frontal perspective of a plein-air painter.
During the later part of the 70s, Hernández Pijuan worked above all with
the relationship of the surface to different techniques. He experimented
with water colours, oils and graphite. The central theme in his thoughts
and work until the beginning of the 80s was above all how one can bring
into being actual pictorial space. How is always more important than what.
He proceeds with his painting systematically and with care: "I cannot
finish one chapter without exploring all its possibilities. I came to
abstraction and formal painting fairly late and very slowly - I would say
that it was by a process of elimination and expansion."
During the 80s, Hernández Pijuan began to introduce new forms into his
painting. The forms resemble drawing and have a rhythm which can be traced
back to the material he uses. The motifs, in those cases they are
recognisable, became similar: flowers, cathedrals, buildings or cypresses.
He began to paint a frame within the frame - a technique which later
became very characteristic of his style.
During the 90s, Hernández Pijuan again became interested in the surface
and in the texture of the paint, as he had been in the late 70s and 80s.
Using a broader brush and with the aid of a palette knife, he again
explored the area of the picture. He began to draw with charcoal directly
onto the oil paint and created more intense paintings, with varied impasto
effects, intricate patterns and the repetition of forms. White, along with
black, took over more and more, and the focus was again redirected to the
space within the picture.
Hernández Pijuan's goals have never been descriptive or narrative.
Instead, via the monochrome surface he emphasises the handcraft behind the
painted picture. With this approach he also separates painting as a medium
from other "languages" of modern art. He dislikes the label of "artist" -
he is a "painter" - as it says on his ID card. The great independence he
displays as a painter, in always working alone without direct links to
various movements or trends, reveals a particular relationship to being an
artist. In all probability we can say that the very best art emerges from
this very type of obsession. Hernández Pijuan's art is indeed based on
Joan Hernandez Pijuan
Blomma med gröna kanter/ Flor amb limits verds, 1996