Submitted by editor on Thu, 07/27/2023 - 12:22

Absence, Presence


I first met Joan Hernández Pijuan (Barcelona, 1931-2005) in the mid-nineties and since then I have had the opportunity to organize three exhibitions of his work. We opened this gallery with a magnificent selection of his work on paper in 2004, and accompanied that exhibition with the publication of a catalogue. In 2015 we held a new exhibition commemorating the tenth anniversary of his death, and later in 2018, we put his work on paper in dialogue with the colourful canvases of the Costa Rican painter Federico Herrero.

I have never stopped admiring his work, and without being an authority, I am aware that the more I observe it, the more I am attracted by those paintings of his in which spaces and voids are the protagonists. Those who follow the programming of our gallery will know the importance we give to empty walls, and for this occasion we have selected a set of the works by this Catalan painter in which this element is most strongly evident.

While all of us, creators or not, try to fill silences with words, canvases with forms or paper with letters, Hernández Pijuan himself aspired to "turn space into something that one looks at", as if he had managed to capture on his canvases ideas and concepts as abstract as air, silence or nothing.

This exhibition is in turn complemented by a solo show from a young Franco-British artist with whom the gallery has recently begun to collaborate: Galina Munroe.

I remember that on one of the times that I met Hernández Pijuan for lunch, he asked me if I would mind if he came accompanied by a young artist whose name I can't remember. I was surprised that someone with his background would dedicate his time to guiding younger artists who were taking their first steps in this far from easy world. That is why we wanted to complement his exhibition with our gallery’s first showing of works by this young artist whom I discovered several years ago, with work that is very different from that of Hernández Pijuan and yet which, in its spontaneity and capacity for synthesis, undoubtedly reminded me of the Maestro.