In 1985, Broto showed at the Adrien Maeght gallery in Paris for the first time. The landscapes of this new period are less picturesque and figurative. Hardness and opacity, along with an increasingly refined abstraction, dominate these desolate, visionary spaces. They occasionally allow glimpses of some dreamlike image in a play of free association. In some pieces this gives rise to a certain automatism and colourist elements that recall the work of Joan Miró, an artist Broto greatly admires. His formally austere and balanced compositions continue to define enigmatic spaces of reflection that do not forego concentration and synthesis. In terms of technique, he once again uses acrylic and occasionally tar. Creating a symbiosis between Surrealism and abstraction, his paintings convey a sense of extreme tension in images of shipwrecks, shadows of crosses, outlines of the Iberian Peninsula, apparitions of female figures, flights of steps, crowns, skyscrapers, geometric forms, heraldic figures, medieval flags, ideograms, Rothko-style horizons, roads winding along an abyss, metaphorical references to the East, as well as metaphysical, anthropological and cosmological vestiges or myths that tell us about gods, saints and heroes. During the late eighties, Broto moved to Paris and painted the music of Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen, Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel in a series of pieces inspired by French culture. Constantly concerned with order and harmony, by the compositional and structural aspect of the painting in the face of the unstable energy of movement, the artist draws a sinuous line in Debussy (1988) that is like a sign or a simple gesture. In a constant play of dualities, this calligraphy, which takes on the specific form of a dance, allows him to address concepts related to painting: fictitious depth, the illusion of perspective or the two-dimensional plane. The dripping technique regains the importance it had in earlier years. The works of José Manuel Broto are universes of signs and gestures full of highly condensed meaning, spaces dominated by a constant tension that emerges from the dogged search for new pictorial solutions. In the end, they are inner landscapes, inaccessible to interpretation, that spring from an unfathomable reflection: “For me, continuing to paint is, ultimately, a reassertion of the possibility of continuing to think”. In 1995, he won the Ministry of Culture National Fine Arts Award.
Works that may interest you