Monday, June 16

Mortadelo and Filemon

When I moved to Barcelona in 1988, the city was a very out-of-the-way-place. An alternative, unknown quantity, very authentic, and for me quite exotic in its authenticity. I knew instinctively even before coming here that there was nothing going on as far as visual art. Well, there were things going on but they definitely weren't very interesting as far as painting, seeing paintings, good galleries were concerned. That was fine for me. Sailor bars, junkies, and locals. Real stuff in your face. That was inspiring if not disturbing. I needed to develop my work and isolate myself from my surroundings. One of the things that grabbed my eye was the comic book "Mortadelo and Filemon", quintessentially Spanish, and very interesting  visually to look at. I wandered around my neighborhood, looking at stuff. It wasn't the comic parse that I liked, but the covers, which were well displayed in the kiosks on the Ramblas  That was a continuous presence and something very native and pop. There was some good painting coming through town. Bits and bobs at the Caixa Forum.  Some great shows.  I liked the frenetic warped surreal scenes and the bright, garish colors. I ended-up painting Mortadelo and Filemon. Well, just Mortadelo --230 x 170cm size in oil. The two paintings in the photo are installation shots from the show I did at Carles Poy Gallery in 1993, in Barcelona.