Sculptures (Spanish Version) Many works of contemporary art seem to exist mainly through their relationship with the viewer who will be challenged, provoked and sometimes dominated. Paradoxically, that same work is only meaningful and alive through its dependence on the confrontational gaze of the spectator.
The sculptures of Ana Corberó are of a different kind. They do not depend on the viewer’s subjective, knee-jerk response. They are not strident manifestoes awaiting a public. They are self-sufficient, humble yet authoritative monuments dedicated to reconciliation with the universe. The viewer is not here to validate, only to bear witness.
This process does not protect from loneliness, but alternatively it does bring freedom from all alienating links, whether familiar or societal. It offers the opportunity for a peaceful confrontation with a world that retains all its mystery. But here, the mystery seems to have lost its edge of anguish.
These sculptures let us see a snap-shot of benevolent eternity, where the tragic dimension of life has been put to one side. The unifying forces of the cosmos take on a simple and earthy expression only to better enphasize the irrelevant diversity among individuals.
“Life is probably round”, Van Gogh once wrote. Here this vital principle is expressed with great metaphoric eloquence through the pedestals, revealed to be more significant and more durable than the figures or the occurences they support, although it is the figures that give them their scale and thus their meaning.
In such a world, the motivations of individuals are of no importance. The only matter is the fullness of the moment, the instant in which the evil or even mediocre aspects of our lives are as good as obliterated by the radiance of being. Genuine existence is the heart of the matter. This means plenitude, hope, reciprocity and wonder – a world of children who have become as lucid as adults, but who never surrender to their compromises.
Corberó was born in Barcelona in 1961. While it is possible that Surrealism has had some influence on her work it relies more noticeably on what is now called ‘Abstract Surrealism’ which we find in Miró, Masson and Matta rather than the more academic illusionist approach followed by Magritte, Dalí and Delvaux.
She achieves the non-illusionist structure of her painting with color nuances and texture on which she incorporates sly interference, capricious couplings and freakish enticements. A necessary step towards the appreciation of her work is the realization that at all stages it involves a process of intervention in which a major role is the revelation produced by by successive layers of color, overlapping and sometimes bleeding into each other so as to unlock the hidden images. There is an intriguing tension between passivity on the one hand and conscious control on the other, the paintings have a feeling of love and fragility and despair. In all her works it is important to remember that an incomplete explanation is no less persuasive for leaving certain questions unanswered.
Although there are exceptions, most of her paintings are based upon a purely subjective inspiration in which images correspond directly to a given mood. They evoke a feeling that comes into being while she paints, a constant source of expectancy and transition, that intense striving to discover the common roots of a personal and collective unconscious.
Conroy Maddox,London, April 1990.
Ana Corberó can certainly paint. And the best of these little paintings are very convincing. They are arranged as a mythic fairy-tale sequence through life -from an accursed birth, through trials, reprieves and transformations, to release. The sequence starts with a girl child -a plump female putto, painted in sepia on a gold background- forcing her way out of the enclosing womb. Immediately she is subject to patriarchal authority, represented by by a cobra ready to strike from a dark brown background. ‘Mother’s love’represented by a single cherry on a white plate, offers small comfort. What makes this image so powerful is its minimalism. The cherry and plate are observed as keenly as objects in a seventeen-century Dutch still-life and carry as much symbolic meaning. But they float on a heavily worked ground that is more akin, in its physicality, to a Robert Ryman - to post-war painting about painting. The juxtaposition of the two ways of working (the representational and metaphoric with the literal and immediate) is extremely effective - intelligent and concise.
Sarah Kent, London, June 1995
Me senté en la esquina de los sueños para ver pasar sus poemas de colores;telas que nos cuentan jardines siluetadoscontra la luz combada de la discreta luna;bosques que el viento vuela en verdes yocres, abandonando vellones de matices enlas zarpas de acebuches anortados; niños parados en la maravilla…En sus manerasdesoladas, en sus desórdenes amables yemotivos, pinceladas hondas-y-frías-se-clavan cual dardo y un aire-sutil-peligroso-asoma. Belleza y paradoja.
Angel Montoto, Barcelona, 1992
Ana Corberó left Barcelona to study art in Texas, speaking only Catalan. She has lived, like an expensive label, in New York, London and Paris, but has now alighted in Beirut, a butterfly on hot sand. It's in Beirut that she produced the work for her forth London exhibition.Hers is an abstract cocktail of innocence and terrible knowledge, seen through the eyeglass of the Surrealist, and all mixed together by a brilliant artisan. The viewer's imagination is swept through the various realms of consciousness; dreams meet history, half-memories are completed in fictional form. Layers of paint divide, smother and bleed into each other."Truly Not Really", the title of Ana's exhibition at Long & Ryle from 24 May to 24 June, is described by her as a 'pictopoem, or fairy tale in images' told through oil paintings and ceramics. The heroine of this visual epic makes her way from the 'archetypal cursed birth and continues with trials, reprieves, transformation and eventual release'. The series of paintings, with expressive titles like: Honor Thy Father and Patience for Vengeance, where inspired by Masereel's A Novel in 120 Woodcuts.
Kate Bernard, London, June 1995