Àngels Ribé Sota l’ossa major

15 May 2019 - 03 Mar 2020


In his autobiographical novel The Lover of Ursa Major, the writer Sergiusz Piasecki establishes a poetic simile between the smuggling routes that he travelled along the Polish borders and the action of walking long distances at night, guided by the sky. Halfway between survival and aesthetic appreciation of the world, the epic of his narrative functions here as an initial stimulus that invites us to delve into the work of Àngels Ribé from similar parameters: the experience and the need understood as the main drive that allows you to continue doing what you have decided to do.

This essential impulse also directs the tone and imagination of the exhibition towards one of the themes that best defines the artist’s work: the emotional connection with nature. A nature that, as happens with Piasecki, is no longer a way of looking at the landscape, but a way of conceiving it as part of oneself.

‘Bajo la Osa Mayor’ (Under the Ursa Major) exposes the current state of the artistic practice of Àngels Ribé, with new productions and unpublished works that coexist with recent and historical works and intensify the relevance of an immediate present capable of expanding over time and offering a path of instinct for more than fifty years of dedication to art. Thus, some of her most emblematic works, such as the photographic records Interseccions (1969), Work Is the Effort Against Resistance (1976), Acumulació / Integració (1973) or Transport d’un raig de llum (1972), function as synthesis of a way of proceeding that has remained faithful and unchanged over the years. Now, fragmented through space, freed from chronologies, these pieces accompany a broad set of work in which sculpture and photography are erected in the two central languages ​​that allow Ribé to formalize a potentially performative work. At the end of the day, the incidence of time and the activation of experience have always been the main engines that sustain her work dynamics.

In this way, the exhibition recovers large-format sculptures —Landscape (1983), L’altra riba (1997) or El jardí (1997) — to merge them with recent photographic works—Around the Garden (2017), Waterfall (2014) – , but also with a whole series of new pieces, such as the photographic series My Mountains (2019) or works of an objective nature such as Trajectes (2019) or The Living Horizons (2019). Among the multiple intersections that the exhibition rehearses, the presence of audio-visual pieces of short duration very far apart in time also stands out, such as Triangle (1978) and Clouds, Bubbles and Waves (2019), or the incorporation of light sculptures —Cap al lluny (2002), In open field (2003) and Bye (2003)—, which dialogue, by opposition, with works of an intimate format, such as Nan Shepherd (2019), 6 pm (1972) or Mar proceloso (1984).

As an exhibition within an exhibition, ‘Bajo la Osa Mayor’ also emphasizes some large-scale projects never carried out and diverse ideas outlined simply through drawings and unpretentious notes. All a material of desire that gives rise to a documentation showcase where other inspiring documents coexist, such as the two editions of Piasecki’s novel that the artist and the curator have shared during the process of preparing the exhibition.

Finally, the work of Àngels Ribé also connects with other cultural productions sensitive to the way of understanding her art. Despite being a solo exhibition, the artist’s voice thus seeks to share space and time with similar voices and positions. On the one hand, the film Nanook of the North (1922), by Robert Flaherty, is part of the contents of the exhibition, being directly related to her works in the exhibition hall, while Zéro de conduite (1933), by Jean Vigo, and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), by Tony Richardson, make up a short film series. Within the program of activities of ‘Bajo la Osa Mayor’ the workshop on perception of the gaze given by the architect José Aponte, the talk between the French landscaper Gilles Clément and the Chilean curator Luz Muñoz and the presentation on exoplanets of astrophysics also stand out. Catalan Mariona Badenas. Thus, the gaze, the landscape and the cosmos— three key concepts of the exhibition —are opened to specific approaches that transcend the limits of contemporary art. Or, perhaps the other way around, artistic thought expands into presumably alien spheres.


David Armengol

Installation views