At the end of 1987 Barceló went to Mali (Africa). His time there was to mark his later career: he submitted the canvases to a process of iconographic and material refinement which we find in the images he did in New York. In the archaeological substratum of the material, images of holes and furrows appear. In delirious centrifugal and centripetal movements, they leave the spectator in a state of permanent uncertainty, change and transformation. In Africa he worked with the suggestion of fissures and serpentines, and obtained lyrical images that reflect on space and time and the permanent transformation of matter. In Une poignée de terre (A fistful of earth), 1989, we find the legacy of his first landscapes, spiritual landscapes of great physicality which are also images of absence. The painting creates a membrane of organic relations between colour, light and shadow which provide the work with the memory of time, life and death, of the quintessence of existence. That new life experience is reflected in drawings, water colours, travel notebooks, terracottas and personal jottings.
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