The title That was before, this is now, extracted from a work by Ed Ruscha, gives its name to the first retrospective of the painting of Yago Hortal (Barcelona, 1983), one of the most outstanding Catalan artists of his generation. Curated by Enrique Juncosa, the exhibition, which includes 36 works produced between 2007 and 2020, chronologically covers the fourteen years of the artist’s career and also, includes recent unpublished works.
As stated by the curator, “from the beginning of his career, Hortal has developed a formalist review of abstract painting, which considers the meaning to be an autonomous entity and not in the reasoning produced around it.
“Hortal’s work tells us about the work process itself and its technique: large splashes and thick accumulations of matter, and moves away from a symbolist, metaphorical or lyrical will. In this sense, the finished work is the result of a dialogue between the artist and the pictorial language and its possibilities. Hortal affirms that “listening, seeing, letting the painting speak as it takes shape is, for me, indispensable. This dialogue guides the result. The options are unlimited, although we have to unravel them.”
The chronological approach of the exhibition allows us to know the various interests that the artist has had throughout his career, according to the curator, is the result of a “thoughtful artistic evolution”. In this exhibition, we can see, on the one hand, how he has been defining the essential features that make up his work: the exuberance of color and the presence of gestures, which from a metalinguistic conception leads him to underline the physical characteristics of painting, but that also suggests, from the irony, playful and hedonistic ideas.
On the other hand, and as we can observe in the last rooms, we can also appreciate in the most recent works -some of which are unpublished- how his work turns his gaze towards the volume without forgetting the pictorial discipline and how he incorporates a palette of reduced colors.
Visit the online exhibition at the following link: