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Claudia Saiz, Elle Spain, march issue, 2021






















“I consider myself a voracious collector. I learn from what I find on the margins of what I seek. Curiosity is an engine that takes you to unsuspected places.” 

The Spanish artist has made color his faithful squire, the world his source of inspiration and FLOWERS - vibrant and free - the celebration of his next ‘expo’ and a space to take shelter in. 

‘I started painting when I was very young. One day I was bored at home so I sat on the floor and started to draw with some Manley crayons and I have never gotten tired of it ever since’, says Jorge Galindo (Madrid, 1965), who continues facing paintings as if it was the first time. For this artist, the world is his palette, and the color explosion is a hymn of liberty in action and creation. It’s been more than three decades since he moved from the capital to Borox (Toledo), where he works most of the time in an old wine cellar converted to one of his chambers of wonders. Two of his main pieces, Calle alucinada y Poupette, are part of the Reina Sofia’s collection, and the main art fairs and international galleries have his work. He’s an insatiable treasure hunter, the Rastro was is first source of inspiration and his work appears in Pedro Almodovar’s films, as well as being an important part of the filmmaker’s personal collection. Now, his luminous strokes, sometimes made with a brush, others with his hand, flood the Madrid based Helga de Alvear Gallery, under the title ‘The echo of flowers’ (until April 24). 

At what vital point do you find yourself? 

Personally, I just had surgery for the first time. I have been lucky. Excesses take a toll which you have to pay. I have banned myself from tobacco, which, with painting, is what I enjoy the most. During my two-month convalescence, I only went into the studio to paint a three-by-six-meter painting to show myself that I could do it without smoking, something I had never tried. The work will be part of an exhibition this spring in Germany. 

And professionally? 

First I exhibit at Helga de Alvear. It has been seven years since the last time I did and I am very excited. Then, in March, I have my first solo exhibition at L21, in Palma de Mallorca. I am also preparing a great book with my series of flower paintings, studio photographs from Jean Marie del Moral and a text by Rafael Doctor. 

What are you talking about in the first show, The echo of flowers

They are large-format works and a triptych that I made last spring, during the first confinement. I painted more than ever, perhaps to be safe from such a terrible reality. They are very free, vibrant, luminous flowers, with a lot of color and a lot of anger too. Flowers are always a cause for celebration, and this is what I’m bringing to Helga de Alvear’s gallery in February. 

Why this natural element? 

After painting flowers and still lifes with Pedro Almodovar the previous year, I wanted to do more. The series that I’m presenting now I started in 2009 and I am not finished yet. 

What do they mean to you? 

They are the best color compositions and they make people happier. They are the perfect work of art. William Blake used to say: ”Flowers have taken thousands of years to create, while creating a single flower is the work of centuries.” 

Where does your artistic sensitivity come from? 

From when my parents took me to the Rastro for the first time. For a child it is a brutal aesthetic experience. My love for books comes from there: my parents had a friend who was a bookseller and one Saturday a month they would take us to his bookstore to choose whatever we wanted. 

Do you find inspiration in the same things as before? 

I try to keep my curiosity alive and keep learning, just like old Goya. I’m still attracted to what interested me when I was 20. They are references that I want to keep, like those friends you have from back then. 

If there was a message in your work, what would it be? 

The pleasure and freedom of painting whatever I want. 

Are you more of a creator or a dreamer? 

I am a painter. I like to go to bed and feel tired of what I have painted that day and fall asleep thinking about what I will do tomorrow. 

What does contemporary art need in Spain to be protected as a cultural asset of the first order, as it is the case in the United Kingdom and France? 

The first thing is a basic artistic education in schools. As it does not exist, it does not generate any interest in contemporary art: neither political, nor social, nor from the media. Unlike the UK, in Spain less and less people are interested in art. There the Turner Prize ruling is broadcasted live on TV. Can you imagine something like that here? Impossible. 

Does the artist live too tied to the market currently? 

What market? To begin with, there is no such thing as the art market in Spain. Here artists live miraculously, by chance. There is none of that here, I wish the market could influence one or to be contaminated by money. 

Can art be made from political correctness? 

Whatever you do, do it from impertinence, whether political or artistic. Far from what is appropriate or expected. 

At this rate, will there be a reality show for painters? 

There was already one 10 years ago in America and now they are promoting another one in Great Britain. I will keep to myself what I think of this crap. The thing is, here, it would be impossible, art is not even of interest for this. Thank god. 

So, from your poetic language, how do you rebel against this troubled time? 

Now that I am painting flowers, I would say that like Poem 23, by Álejandra Pizarnik: ”A look from the gutter can be a vision of the world, rebellion consists of looking at a rose until one’s eyes are pulverized.” 

Painting, creating, is an act of... 

Impertinence, and also a magical act, of illusionism. 

What do you think matters in painting? 

Painting is language. A language previous to he invention of language: from that primitive imprint typical of caves to the ”gesture that illuminates,” as Joan Miró liked to call it. Instagram has become a magnificent global meeting point for artists. Can you imagine what this social network would have been like when you were 17 years old? I love Instagram, it’s my only social network, I think it’s perfect for us, because of the global diffusion and the power of the image, which is worth a thousand words. I think of it as the magazine of art magazines. It is even more useful than a web page. If it had existed when I started painting, I would have never stopped using it. 

How much importance do you give to communication? 

A painter works with a language of emotions, he has to communicate them in his work so that this is then built within the viewer’s gaze. There is a quote from Matisse about this: ”The only thing that should be required of an artist is that he clearly expresses his intentions.” 

You’re a voracious collector. Has this become a vice to the point of being introduced into your own work? 

Totally. I have always liked visiting the flea market of each city I go to. I buy records, books... Introducing them into your work is the best way not to feel guilty. In the collage and photomontage series that I have made since the 90’s, I have needed huge amounts of old photographs, illustrated magazines, postcards or album covers. 

What makes you collect things? 

Above all, pleasure. Also a bit of Diogenes syndrome. I hoard too much, but I have a good time and I learn from what I find on the margins of what I seek. Curiosity is a motor that takes you to unexpected places, and I use everything. I belong to a generation in which discovering things was not as easy as it is now that with one click you already have it. You had to work on it, a lot. 

How would you describe your study? 

I have two, one for painting and another for works on paper and photomontages. The first is an old wine cellar, with high ceilings lined with old wooden beams and planks. I left it as is because it reminds me of Pollock’s barn, and that gives me a good vibe. The second is a room that has walls covered with photo collages and prints like a Ramonian office mixed with Robert Rauschenberg. 

Of all the things that make up your personal collection, what do you hold the most affection for? 

All the paintings I have are exchanges with artist friends. For example, Julian Schnabel’s portraits of my wife and children. I have a special affection for these. As for books, I appreciate an American edition by Ramón J. Sender with a dedication that only says: ”No Pasarán !! Madrid, 1938.” Also the first editions of books signed by artists such as John Heartfield, Grosz, Calder, Warhol, Basquiat...

And tell me, what is the soundtrack of the works that you are now painting and presenting? 

I always work with music; furthermore, all my series have a soundtrack that accompany them. It’s interesting, to paint these flower paintings, I have used a lot of electronic music from the 80s and now, like Devo, Aviator Dro, Mount Kimbie, Thom Yorke. 

“Translated from the original Spanish”

Prensa | Jorge Galindo: CON OTRO PRISMA | Villa Magdalena
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