Wed. Jul 17th, 2019

Miquel Barceló and the language of the glacier | Science

Miquel Barceló and the language of the glacier | Science


At the beginning of the year 1990, the painter Miquel Barceló took off for a season in the Alps. He did so willing to interpret the ice, perceiving in the Alpine glaciers the inevitable passage of time. He was little more than 30 years old, when, in his eyes, the glaciers became memory deposits; metaphors that were completed in the frozen glass of its surface, apparently immobile, giving rise to a rhetorical figure where the real term of ice is identified with the imaginary term of death, or what is the same, with the end of a road contained in a distant point, where the view does not reach.

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Because well looked, the glaciers are relics of the last age of the virgin nature, of when the human beings lived submerged in their uncertainty. With this perception, the Mallorcan painter submerges himself in the canvas to represent the shapes of the ice and with that invite us to a journey through time that reaches remote times, when the low temperatures forced the human beings to go to other latitudes, looking for warmer climates.

Observing nature is nothing more than talking to her and Miquel Barceló has had a constant conversation with nature for decades. Anyone who looks at his work will realize the painter's need to provoke dialogue. In each of his paintings, Barceló reflects the wild encounter with space and he brings it to a cloth that he places on the floor, before starting to stain it without truce between one question and the next. Because to ask is to rebel and the glaciers are part of the rebellious nature of the ice; an atmospheric question that originates crystal structures and generates amazing forms, capable of making us see that science is nothing other than a thought reality. When the snow increases its density and with it its weight, then, it begins to slide. In this way it forms a river of ice with cracks in the places where it flows the most and with moraines of sediments on its edges; a seemingly simple phenomenon but one that represents great complexity when it comes to transmitting it with all its ice load, which is like putting with all its load of current reality.

Visitors to an exhibition by Miquel Barceló.
Visitors to an exhibition by Miquel Barceló.

Its displacement is very slow, leaving evidence of the time traveled in its path. The movement of the glacier is called flow and, due to its solidity, this term is contradictory, but nothing further, then, the ice behaves like a fragile solid that flows due to its weight, achieving a slow mobility that is known as basal slip. This is where the liquid water that all glacial contains in its deepest layers comes into play, acting as a lubricant that makes the glacier meander between the valleys, giving rise to a vast icy path that, so clear, seems invented by a Cosmic joker who wanted to bring to the painter's eyes the reality concentrated in the ice and thereby stimulate his conversation with nature.

When Miquel Barceló came to the Alps determined to paint glaciers, he noticed something very curious, because in the language of one of them someone had pointed out the imperceptible movement of ice in the last hundred years. Then Barceló set out to look for the year of his birth, 1957. Once located, he advanced until 1990 and, thus, walking on the ice, he traveled the space of his life until then, knowing that on that ice road was not only contained all his life, past and present, but also his future and of course, also his death, behind the mountains.

With such ideas in his head, Barceló began to paint large masses of movements that are imperceptible of so slow and that give rise to the metaphor that underlies all his work, that is, the inevitable passage of time.

The stone ax It's a section where Montero Glez, with a desire for prose, exercises its particular siege on scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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