24.01.2023 – 11.03.2023

Ander Sagastiberri (Bilbao, 1988)’s solo exhibition “STARLESS”, COMO STARLESS takes its title from a 1974 song by the English progressive rock band King Crimson.

Ice blue silver sky
Fades into grey
To a grey hope that oh yearns
To be
Starless and bible black

Sagastiberri’s painting oscillates between abstraction and the appearance of the figure. At its centre is precisely the transition from the ice blue silver sky to the grey sung by King Crimson. It is a moment well known to painters, the consequence of an accumulation of gestures leading to brown-grey. It is an erasure, an overflow, a catastrophe. This chromatic exhaustion is, however, a stage often necessary for the appearance of a form or a colour. It is a laborious and regenerating experience. Sagastiberri’s work celebrates the infinite possibilities of this -non-colour.

I wonder if my readers know the colour of that “darkness seen by candlelight.” It was different in quality from darkness on the road at night. It was a repletion, a pregnancy of tiny particles like fine ashes, each particle luminous as a rainbow.

In this fragment from In Praise of the Shadow, Junichirô Tanizaki describes the grey of ash (between darkness and light) as the colour of contingency, of becoming, as it hides, in its darkness, all the colours of the rainbow. This brings to mind Bosch’s The Creation of the World, which appears on the reverse of his work The Garden of Earthly Delights. In this painting, the mass of grey water, which gives rise to the earth, is similar to Tanizaki’s tenuous ash. It is matter, pure grey, in the making. This opposition between catastrophe and creation, non-colour and colour, is central in Sagastiberri’s work.

‘STARLESS’, COMO STARLESS presents recent works in a variety of formats. The smaller formats are tiny and require extreme proximity to be seen. The larger formats reproduce the forms and gestures of the smaller ones. The viewer is forced to go back and forth as if embarked on Gulliver’s Travels. This tension between form and format is the result of a process of immersion. The artist, through repetition and improvisation, is transported to a strange environment/state in which he is forced to move blindly and accept what is happening. The darkness of this voluntary blindness can be compared to that of a starless sky from which, in this case, only painting and its substratum can emerge.



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