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"Cristobal Toral: Realist Figuration and Dream Images"
2004-01-05 until 2004-03-15
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Belgrade, , YU Yugoslavia

Cristobal Toral is hailed as one of the most outstanding and personal Spanish artists of the latter half of the twentieth century. His work, executed in a style that has been christened imaginative realism on account of its combination of realist figuration and dream images, speaks of real and inner journeys and trajectories, while his floating, weightless fruit denies the very concept of space.

Toralís paintings pulsate with the soul of the venerable Spanish still-life tradition that emerged during the Golden Age and, with its austere materiality, endows the renewed gaze with elegance and symbolism. The seriousness of his compositions, which verges on solemnity in certain cases, does not prevent his brush from the touching on the limits of irony and even parody in his versions of masterpieces of pictorial tradition. Indeed, the mixture of tradition and modernity is superimposed on a no less conscious and fruitful combination of reality and fantasy. This explains why the term ďmagical realismĒ, which also denotes certain trend in Hispanic literature, has been used to define a style as personal as it is unclassifiable.

The artistís brushstrokes, faithful to academic norms but endowed with an unsettingly modern vibrancy, reflect hs incessant quest for answers, dissatisfaction with his own future and perhaps the anguished awareness of a possibly hostile environment where objects and landscapes, figures and things are turned into symbolic reflections of an unfathomable solitude. The myth of the journey, which was fuelled the modern imagination since Romanticism, is accordingly transformed in Toralís work into a renewed tension in whose accumulation of symbols we glimpse a Baroque echo of vanitas. Whereas his work convey a feeling of fleetingness through the unsetting visual play of the most obvious signs of the fluidity of time and space, enabling his works to be interpreted as subtle allegories of life and death, the solitude his works evokem accentuated by their motley combination of elements, is the solitude of humans who, in their eloquent absence, proclaim like ghostly shadows the melancholy of existence in their eagerness to cling to things.

IMAGE
Cristobal Toral
Composition with luggage, 2000-2001.
Private Collection, Madrid.


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