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Carlos Puente – Shadows of Spain
March 1, 2016 @ 11:00 am - April 1, 2016 @ 6:00 pm
Shadows of Spain
Post-war Spain was a culturally complex nation. Bitter with its memories of the Civil War – itself a legacy of the little known Carlist Wars of the 19th century – and divided by the regime of Francisco Franco. With Western politics focused on the USSR and its satellite states, Franco felt secure with his nationalist (anti-communist) stance. When the painter, Carlos Puente de Ambrosio, was born in Santander in 1950, the society he entered was in a state of flux.
Art schools, as a traditional hotbed of revolutionary ideas both cultural and political, were thus subject to surveillance. So after studying at the Escuela de Artes Aplicadas e Santander in 1969, Carlos Puente made the traditional migration to Paris, which had a long association with artists from Spain, Picasso and Dali being perhaps the most legendary. As it turned out, it was to be Italy that would subsequently inspire and succour the young Puente and he was to flourish in the environments of Celle Ligure and Milan, not least under the auspices of the Galleria San Carlo, which specialises in works by the CoBrA group. These painters, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Corneille, Asger Jorn and Roberto Matta, together with their decided opinions on the content and nature of painting, helped focus the young Spaniard and continue to inform his work and philosophy. It is a banner he carries without embarrassment to this day.
For me the language of art must be international, my stance has always been against localism and nationalism. But it is difficult to escape from the mother culture. I left my homeland at 18 years old, looking for connections with other worlds – air, light and freedom. I really did feel a prisoner of poverty, blackness, without a horizon… I survived by my involvement with art, with beauty…
My work starts with a vital feeling, with an idea, diving into the unconscious, digging in the dark. For me it is important to work on a series, a number of artworks simultaneously with interrelationships between the various pieces. Later, I like each individual picture or sculpture to develop its own space and its own individual ability to express the emotions I am feeling. I work on several things at once, 30 or more pieces, several materials: fabric, paper, wood, ceramic… It is a cycle. It is intense work where I get lost, I can’t leave it for later, I must finish it while the energy and the desire dominate the process. For me art is in the act of making, working hard, loneliness, complete days without leaving the studio – listening to music, jazz or opera, the radio is my only company – until the work is finished. Then comes another cycle – of doing nothing, looking at the stars and watching the grass grow. Just waiting for a work cycle to begin. My art comes from my heart, sex, life…