Alfonso Albacete
Spain, 1950
Born in Andalusia and trained in Murcia in the studio of Juan Bonafé—a fact that has often confused critics interested in modern academic art—Alfonso Albacete came to prominence on the Spanish scene in the late 1970s with the staging of his third exhibition at the Egam gallery in Madrid. In the show, entitled En el estudio, the artist explored, from a unique vantage point in painting, the conjunction of figuration and abstraction in a single motif that assimilated the three basic genres of painting: figure, landscape and still life. Since that revelation nearly thirty-five years ago, Albacete has applied himself to the task of fully developing and exploring that experience. At the same time, in an ongoing dialogue with the generative and constructive process involved in painting, he has continued to come up with different approaches to painting and distinct ways of articulating his ideas. He is acutely aware of the history of painting and the important role one’s personal and private history plays in artistic practice. This has led him to adopt an approach that involves a series of steps. The process begins with the perception of a phenomenon (which may well be induced). The next step is to ask who has already tackled the subject and how it has been dealt with. Finally, Albacete seeks a response by going a step beyond the limits of what is known in one field or another. In this final stage, the artist’s ability to combine life and painting in a single vital arena is a crucial factor. The series ‘El huerto’, to which Mañana de verano belongs, was painted in 1982 in a maelstrom of hope. The work emerges from the contemplation of several young men and women walking naked around a garden in the meadowland of Murcia. At the same time, as he paints the artist responds to all the promptings and changes he is confronted with, including those related to light, and shadows, which spill onto the paper or canvas in the final result. He is also driven by the dialogue he engages in with Cézanne, in this case, with Jasper Johns, in other works concerned with the same subject, and with the expressionism of Richard Diebenkorn, in works executed immediately after ‘El huerto’. Albacete’s work is represented in leading Spanish museums and major international collections. He is also a highly talented engraver and has produced significant installation works, underpinned by painting, as well as works of public art.
Mariano Navarro