Pere de Ribot. Landscapes. (2002)


The landscapes of Pere de Ribot are more than just landscapes. If one looks at only some of them, alone, one could misinterpret their meaning. It could seem like the painter limits himself to restoring the landscape as an artistic genre, or to a figurative representation in a painting. In reality, they are not landscapes painted from nature; they are imagined or remembered landscapes, recreated by the artist. Their meaning can only be understood if you contemplate them as a whole, as a temporary sequence, or, even better, as a series that allows for variations and pictorial dialogs that oscillate between the object and  the subjective.

Consider in this way, these paintings can be seen as landscapes, but also as mental and pictorial objects. The emphasis in painting, in the middle of representation and expression, makes the motive seem like painting and the pictorial material seem like the motive. Nevertheless, the landscape is there and this is significant. The non-natural colours accentuate their archetypical character, which is more than descriptive. They could be landscapes from the Empordà or from Castilla or from other countries. One observes in them a human organization of nature and in some there are elements like telephone posts or far-away houses. But , above all, they are archetypical landscapes, featuring the horizon, as the limit, also evokes what is beyond this frontier, and the sky and the ground communicate and merge or get mixed up though colour.

The artist plays with perspective, so that the mountains in the background seem to get closer, to make something near of something far away. And often, the foliage of the nearby trees presents itself, not as a volume, but as an empty space or as an erasure, suggesting unreal depths and a temporary division.

However, a more important dialogue is perhaps that which takes place between the subject and the variations, between a ´certain permanence or fixedness that expresses the compositions structured by the horizon. On the other hand, the notions of the temporariness, change, and fleetingness are expressed by discontinuous textures, chromatic outbursts, and erased forms. The variations on a theme allow the artist to stress the temporary dimension, but also to intensify the subjectivity of the works, and to affirm the possibility of finding the distinct in the same or similar.

If one considers these recent works in relation to the previous pictorial work of Pere de Ribot, one can observe a coherent path that began with architectural paintings –first close, later opened- of archeological subjects, of rhizomes –subterranean stalks, as roots- up to these landscapes with trees and the horizon, goes from the closed to the open, and chromatically from gray to crimson, oranges, reds, and blues. The fact of being in times seems to have created a desire to give from to the origin, to what gives new life, and to find, starting with objective reality, a vision that is subjective and the artist’s own, which permits, in a temporary world, to create and originate through painting.


Juan Bufill