Miquel Barceló (b. 1957)
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Miquel Barceló (b. 1957)


Miquel Barceló (b. 1957)
signed, titled and dated 'Barceló VI 89 DILATATION' (on the reverse)
oil and mixed media on canvas
78¾ x 118 1/8in. (200 x 300cm.)
Executed in June 1989
Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1998.
Special notice
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis. Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Lot Essay

'For the white pictures I used anything from grains of rice to almonds, beans and chickpeas in order to cause irregularities in the surface. Later they were simply lumps of paint' (Barceló, quoted in Miquel Barceló 1984-1994, exh. cat., London 1994, p. 94).

Painted in 1989, Dilatation is one of Barceló's celebrated white pictures. It presents the viewer with what appears to be a rock-strewn landscape with raking shadows cast by each lump. The deeply textured yet sparse surface is monumental, absorbing the viewer, bathing us in an almost dazzling light.

During the 1980s, Barceló's paintings began to develop a complex and packed imagery, largely informed by his encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of art. But it was becoming too much-- Barceló was more and more seeking a way out. And while it was already hinted at in the works from that period, the true escape came with his first trip to Africa. Dilatation dates from this moment, when his art was marked by an immense cleansing. The light in Dilatation reflects this cleansing, as does the deliberate avoidance of figuration, and reflects Barceló's comment that

'The light in the desert is so intense that things disappear, and the shadows are more intense than the things themselves' (Barceló, Miquel Barceló: Obra sobre papel 1979-1999, exh. cat., Madrid 1999, p. iv).

In Dilatation, that cleansing is apparent not only in terms of light, but also in the fact that the artist has emptied out the clutter of his former canvases and instead focussed on something that appears organic. This organic aspect is reinforced by Barceló's techniques:

'most of the pictures I did prior to the nineties were painted on the floor on canvas without a stretcher. I poured large quantities of paint onto them, and as it concentrated in certain places it gave shape to the landscape, making the rivers and lakes that can be seen. So these landscapes are parallel to the phenomenology of paint, with various strata' (Barceló, quoted in Miquel Barceló 1984-1994, exh. cat., London 1994, p. 95).

Thus the painting has become both a facet of and a product of the world, and of the forces, physical as well as inspirational, of art.

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