Sobre Materia

Pep Codó -
Joan Alsina -
March 2020

ESPACIO | BCN is pleased to present Sobre Materia. The exhibition gathers around twenty black and white photographs by Joan Alsina (Barcelona), dated between 2007 and 2019, alongside with ten handcrafted stone sculptures by Pep Codó (Sant Cugat del Vallés, 1949).

Joan Alsina is able to transcend the classical representation of the human body: finding in it the freedom to conceive the skin as a big canvas. Tracing clean brushstrokes of pigment and using techniques which remind us of Pollock’s abstraction, Alsina challenges the corporeality of the human figure by disrupting its appearance. Galápagos (2007) is a clear example of the essence of Joan Alsina’s photography: materials like clay allow him to reinterpret the sinuous lines that define the human form.

There is a strong interest in matter in Alsina’s work: In Elektra (2007) and Taboo (2007), for instance, a variety of materials are used. Oil and mud merge with the skin while modifying its texture, and altering its surface. It is not a question of experimentation, but rather an understanding of the subject itself, a por- trait of his changing nature.

His work captures the richness of the materials and the fragmentation of the human body, released from all kinds of ornament. However, the representation of the skin as a canvas is also conceived as a new way of understanding the painting. In short, Alsina rethinks the dialogue between photography and sculpture and invites the viewer to engage with the boundaries between the different means of artistic expressions.

Sobre Materia also showcases works by Pep Codó, a sculptor with a long career behind him with projects such as Diàleg (1993), a set of two sculptures placed outside the Sant Cugat Auditorium, or Pedra (1995), a mural sculpture located in La Pedrera (Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona).

Although Codó has been influenced by the sculptural tradition of artists like Jean Arp and Brâncusi, his work transcends the stiffness and limitations of the academic artistic trends. His sculpture acquires a singular language that stands out for the precision with which the artist works the stone to offer unique handmade pieces.

From his beginnings as an artist, Codó has shown great fascination for nature: his interest ranges from the ocean’s ability to shape rocks to more trivial subjects such almond’s shells. Clova 4 (2014), for instance, reflects this interest for nature. The piece, sculpted in broken white stone with an oblique opening resembles a bivalve conch. Codó, however, does not aim to create a mimetic composition of natural elements instead he considers them as a starting point to explore the different behaviours of the materials he uses.

His sculptures reveal the expressive abilities of stones. Works like Terç Minvant 3 (2012) and Quart Minvant (2014) are pieces of refined lines that speak for themselves. No great words are needed to give sense to these sculptures. It is clear that Codó’s pieces rely on a certain autonomy that simultaneously generates multiple interpretations that never fail to activate the viewer’s emotions.