Worries  (2004)


“Our life isn’t a dream, but it must become one” Nouvalis

“Inquietudes” (“Worries”), the new series of paintings by Pere de Ribot, signifies the beginning of a new phase, with important differences from the previous one. In order to explain the artist transformation, the exhibit includes three of the landscapes that have characterized his work until now, a work in which he has submerged himself for the last four years.
The landscapes of the stage that Pere de Ribot has finished correspond to and era of plenitude linked to the Empordà. The paintings are not a representation of the Empordàn landscape, but a resonance of the contemplation of a landscape close to the artist, that manifests itself as an interior landscape and a spiritual refuge from the world. The landscapes are luminous and ample spaces that reveal some of the most ancient aspirations of man: the creation of a world of harmony, which only art and poetry can create. In these landscapes, the distinct colors of the sky, the mountains and the fields can be perceived as changes of season or distinct emotional sentiments. Despite these metamorphoses, all are linked to the inevitable passing of time and of the landscape, wrapped in a diffuse atmosphere and light. The make us stable, like grandiose permanency. At the same time, the rows of trees and the paths that cross the fields seem to bring us closer to the far away horizons of color, with their dawns and dusks and their drea,s. Thus, it’s an imaginary landscape, felt, sublime. In short, it’s an archetypal image and, at the same time, a poetic dream, that shows the landscape as an oneiric space of the inconscience and as a profound desire.
It’s precisely here, in this archetypal image, where the essence of the landscape and its feeling lie. It’s a phenomenology of the relationship between man and his environment that goes beyond his relation with nature, to reach the social and the perceptation of the world. For this reason, the landscapes with which Pere de Ribot begins his new stage are waking up for a dram and looking at the world with certain inquietude. The current paintings no longer reflect that placid look at the world, which translated sentiments of beauty and plenitude. Instead, they reflect tension, clonfict, nostalgia… and, they continue to be, perhaps more than ever, a desire.
The point of inflexion between the two stages – the first painting of the series – is an architectural interior that suggest the ambience of a hospital, a scene of pain, unavoidable in a convulsed world like that today. From here, the favourite genre of Pere de Ribot reappears: the landscape – natural or with architectural references – but now inhabited by children. They are not scenes of cruelty but of hope. Te children appear as characters from a fairy tale in which they do not play the starring role because their world is elsewhere. They play and run in spaces that do not respond to any geographic place, but to the emptiness of a non-place. They are anonymous, fantastic spaces of loneliness up to phantasmal ruin. Yet, the children far from this reality, live in their own world of dreams, in their own adventure. They arouse in adults the deep feeling of idealization of the infancy.
Those diaphanous paths of Peres de Ribot’s previous landscapes have disappeared. Now, the landscapes are more sober, less expansive, with an atmosphere that is more dense and less peaceful. The children run in the snow, among the ruins or on intricate forest trails in which they could easily become lost, like in the existential holzwege of Heidegger. The landscapes permit a movement between the beautiful and the sinister because they breathe an ambiguity and a fantasy outside. And this brings us to Freus. For him, the sinister only comes when the limits disappear between fantasy and reality, when the fantastic becomes real, and when that which in real life would be sinister isn’t because art is the ambience of the imaginary where fantasy has no limits.
It’s as if the children of Pere de Ribot take us by the hand – they take our hand – for an existential walk, that would go from the return of infancy, desired with the true uneasiness by the philosophies of German Romanticism, to the discovery of our inner child, suggested by Jung. The world in which these children move is not the sublime and paradisiacal space desired by Hölderin, or the ideal natural state of Rousseau influence across which we expressed a painful cosmic yearning for childhood. Nature and the Infinite: It’s a world that shows the worried look of and adult that also sees in infancy the charm of its innocence and, thus, a privileged era and a form of liberty. Nevertheless, this idealization of childhood could also be a path to fins oneself and to live with the inner child that, according to Jung, we all have inside.
In the painting of Pere de Ribot, there is a perceptible contrast between the figure and the background landscape. The images mix with a certain spatial informality of textures that are move visual than material. Through them, de Ribot manages to evoke a spatial atmosphere with a seemingly formal appearance. The structural lives, with the gestured and abstract and controlled lines, with the chromatic stains and the drippings, live in the paintinfs as they live for Nietzsche. They reflect the principles of the Apollonian and the Dionysian: serenity, order, rationalism in front of impulsive, the overwhelming and the vita. These principals end with the platonic idea of an ideal and ordered world. This is the world that, even though disordered, Pere de Ribot tries to present, like Rike – one of his favourite poets – under a look of love.


Marga Perera