Enrique Brinkmann: The Poetics of Silence A Retrospective

24 June - 10 September 2011

A retrospective of over 40 works by the Spanish artist Enrique Brinkmann. This show, stretching back over fifty years, represents a unique, restless yet coherent, journey from 1960 to the present day.

The first works date back to 1960, produced under Franco’s shadow. Their monochromatic palette is redolent of the unease and oppression that permeated Spanish society in those years. Although clearly figurative, they display a freedom of line which, over the course of twenty-five years, evolves into pure abstraction.

The 90s sees Brinkmann freeing himself from any traces of figuratism left in his work and by 1998 his stated desire “to find a way of creating air between the wall and the pictorial plane” results in his artistic breakthrough when he begins using a tightly strung metal mesh distanced from the wall as his new painterly surface. The adoption of this new medium proved to be a watershed in his oeuvre, “what I painted previously was based on a placing of points and lines around the space of the canvas; now I am able to achieve it in real space, in the air.” Although never subsequently leaving it, he has continued to experiment with possibilities which it opened up for him.

Works from the late 90s to 2002 display intense colour allied to the transparency the surface gives him. From 2003 a need for silence and purity of line becomes predominant. Even when titles are obviously political (Irak series, 2004), it is now an extremely personal interpretation where the dark areas punctuate line and the mesh’s transparency. Compared to the direct images of the 60s, there is now an exclusively emotional response to the subject. In the following series Segmentos, small squares, each one conceived like an individual painting, are laid over a large part of the mesh’s surface to resemble a grid or musical score. The continuing dialogue between emptiness and fullness, shifts again when the artist begins covering the mesh with a thick layer of paint, turning his attention to the density the mesh enables him to obtain, so much so that the work takes on an almost sculptural texture.

Brinkmann is still as focused and artistically ‘restless’ as he was as a young man. It is this endless curiosity and passion tied to a unique poetic voice which will ensure that this wonderful body of work will leave its mark and the resonance arising from it will long endure.