The Walker. The Island. The Spring
Original title: El caminante. La isla. El manantial
Mixed media on canvas
Dimensions: Diptych: 280 x 185 cm
Reference: ACF0576
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During the eighties, Delgado's painting followed a genetic process in which a theme or subject, understood as a context of ideas or intellectual climate, went beyond a mere pretext to make up a gaze which was both reflective and contemplative, giving body, coherence and meaning to a painting that was organised in series. That meant a gradual period for ideas to settle slowly and to prepare the picture, in which he approached both the formal problems and the more interpretative and poetic ones, more related to the subject, with great seriousness. This is not a painting of quotations or erudition, then, although it took on the weight of history, was dominated by intuitive resources, plastic solutions, which implied a narrative closely linked to a poetics of evocation and, most of all, a deeply pictorial gaze. In El caminante the painting opens, in the shape of a metaphor, a journey with no return to his own interior, like a journey of introspection along lost paths, roads lined with difficulties. The journey is also a metaphor for life, and in it painting appears as a consolation, but also as a struggle and a way of affirming the tensions and contradictions that make up an attitude. Parallel to the desolate world of Schubert, autobiographical elements are inserted into the series, making up a cathartic process of affirmation and change. The beginning of this series coincided with a moment when Delgado could not recognise himself as a member of any pictorial generation; he felt that the pictorial context in which his work was situated was not understood as it should have been, and through these works he constructed a space for reflection, where there was room for both thought and emotion. The first works of "El caminante" are from the series that came immediately before, "El archipiélago". This first group of works, to which El caminante nº 1 (1986) belongs, establish a duality constructed by two vertical canvases that form a diptych, in this case joined by a piece of worn out wood that heightens the image of landscape which, in turn, will give unity to the whole series. Other works coming immediately afterwards, such as Muerte en la tarde (1986), are concentrated on a single canvas partly framed by worn out, cracked pieces of wood, referring to the most despairing and declining moments of some of the lieder of Schubert's cycle, the ones in which death can be guessed at in the stark landscape (Letzte Hoffnung, “last hope”), in the grey colour of the hair (Der Greise Kopf, “the grey head”) or the presence of a crow (Die Krähe, “the crow”). Later on he took a decision to establish a horizontal duality that stresses the essential condition of landscapes, reducing the formats and making the painting plainer, concentrating the darkness of subtle, nuanced colour fields on the lower part of the diptychs. To that moment El caminante, la isla: el manantial (1992) belongs; here the series -which, as we have seen, was charged with bitter autobiographical resonances at the beginning- gradually becomes more diaphanous and hopeful. With great precision, the three works in the Fundació "la Caixa" Collection trace the complex development of the series, the central core of Delgado's work, whose variations and changes reflect the transformations of his creative process.

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