At 22 he moved to London and enrolled at the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology from the University Complutense, surely please his father, because in the background was clear that this was not going to be his way. It was five years of study referred to as a formative stage in his career so happy. On campus meets Esther Buenaventura, who shares outset subjects and affinities, and who becomes his constant companion, the mother of his two children and, undoubtedly, momentum and support needed to move forward. Simultaneous classes with five hours of drawing in private schools in learning the classic techniques. We present the entrance exam at the Academy of Fine Arts, but does not approve. “At the time was a blow, but over time I have come to the conclusion that it helped me to forge a self-taught, gave me more freedom of thought”, confesses. In 1978 already has its own study, at Calle Tirso de Molina, number 9. A space with large windows and high ceilings in the three years that makes their intellectual, moving from figurative to abstract absolute. At landscape overlays Madrid at that time the La Alpujarra, region that loves traveling and frequently accompanied by already had become his wife. For a year he painted almost all people of the area in a particular series of portraits.
Surge late the first sculpture, when the artist has 35 age. This is a torso made of alabaster stone gave him, and where the influence is undeniable, always avowed, the Henry Moore. The torsos are present along the entire path of Bañuelos, appear as if a stage ends and another begins, as a kind of mark on the path that tends to bifurcate again and again. Also from the tables appear soon-sculpture, pieces where the glass stands rest on reasons like a couple making love. At first the place for personal, but accepting that friends and acquaintances have led him to do many more on request. For a year figuration and abstraction are combined, until finally, as happened in the pictorial-phase is the second which imposes its dominance. “Actually, as it is with Julio Gonzalez, From figurative need to evolve toward the abstract.” From the first torso Banuelos has not returned to pick up a paintbrush, “although always stand ready, I do not know, perhaps if I ever strength fails and I have to return to it”. The artist makes this reflection in his residence near Madrid where he lives and works since 82, where have the outdoor space enough to realize their dreams and where stone sculptures seem shipwrecks in the landscape, exhibit some newcomers; other to depart. Once inside the house, in the studio-workshop, the visitor can not fail to be impressed with the curious and minimum plaster models previously performed before executing the pieces. “When working in stone no return. Each hammer is a step forward not backward and models can help me think the play. “Since that first and late torso sculpture, the artist realized that was his means of expression. “I felt more comfortable, Unless suffered with paint, maybe because I allowed a slower way forward and helped me unload my aggressiveness.”
Of 1983 a 1985 made constant trips to Carrara, I had visited for the first time in 1978. In the mythical quarries, of great beauty, breathe, learned and nurtured the trade of marble. The long stays in Italy coincide with trips to other parts of the world that become sources of inspiration, as, e.g., Brazil, whose extensive, lush spaces both motivated him, o Washington, Lucian Freud where he discovers. “It seemed incredible. Like Francis Bacon and José Gutiérrez Solana had had a child. “It was an impact similar to that produced Mark Rothko. Henry Moore o Isamu Noguchi, who had once met in his studio in New York two months before his death. Among his influences, also quotes the artist Richard Serra and the enigmatic Medardo Rosso. “He is an artist that I love. Auguste Rodin threw him out of Paris, probably out of envy, and I think much more tender and deep that he. Working with wax, and the Nazis destroyed many of his works to be used as candles.” Banuelos is fed with the work of all these artists and is dedicated to ensuring read authors are at the base of his work, For Marcel Proust or Miguel de Cervantes. The first taught to measure the time of childhood, the pace of memories in its purest; the second will hold in the idea that only withdrawal, with the existing experience, you can draw a great work, something that has been applied to his own way, his desire to constantly experiment, by covering my cycles and stages that have led to an increasingly essential work.
First exhibition at the now defunct Gallery 24 Madrid, where he exhibited his paintings of La Alpujarra and a series of gouaches of slaughterhouses, but also his first figurative sculptures, women lying in erotic poses. A quick look at his career takes the viewer to stop at work 1987 as Source, interlacing arm, one of his recurring motifs, or torsos set that mixes different in different countries and marble colors-black, red, pink and white, making visible its origins as a painter. His landscapes of stone and wood are in 1988, merging with one of its most popular and original series, the keels of, in which “opening a groove geometry, mode as the keel on the skin makes sea, report on the subject”, Fernando says the critic Huici in a text published in the catalog that accompanied an exhibition by Mexico, organized by the Junta de Castilla y León under the slogan Between Earth and Heaven.
The Keels, many of which are embedded in the wall, are happening. It is inhabited by a productive year and other deep-sea fish from the seabed arising. In “one querencia”, as discussed Huici, “pursuing a sultry stylization growing towards a metaphysical aura of essentiality”. It remains curious that the sea is a constant in a landsman who goes in search of different paths, playing, through the mixture of languages and various materials, the contrast between polished and rough, between the civilized and the wild.
Banuelos's work occupies the entire Arch stand Aldaba Gallery (Madrid). It is an opportunity to make it known, but the truth is that the artist has always kept away from public, always encouraged by the encouragement of private collectors who have followed and bought their work, many of them from outside Spain. “He sido, yes, a creator somehow hidden that has needed the absolute silence and solitude to create, a kind of art monk”, defined. He continues: “I'm always working and when I'm sleeping I dream of the sculptures that I make”. Of the 90 are your Maternity, coinciding with the arrival of their first child, and the series of Masks. The artist looks and experiment with iron, but ends up staying with stone, more complicated. “There is in her a desire for eternity while primitivism fascinates me”, recognizes, going to list your work tools: mason's hammer-headed “the bell”, pointers… “They are exactly the same used by the Egyptians…”, says. “The process of creating the stone produces a very special tension. No it is wrong and it is very difficult to decide when terminating the piece. Each hammer is final. “In the first 90 we find such significant works as the Opus CLXXIX. Paisaje No. 10, a suggestive and dark Calatorao geography where Banuelos playing surface gently undulating in a winding jog.
Born the suggestive series of Moons. Lunas beginning to leave the land or that represent the empty. New Moons. Gothic Moon resembles a needle Burgos Cathedral… “Moons that wax and wane”, as Fernando says Huici, to lead “brooding emptiness of the black moon, docile strut, Limit guardian”. Beyond the Moons series arises Open-Close, and in the 2000. These uprights, stylized, in which the artist plays with the contrast between what is inside and what can be seen. Banuelos experiments with the reason for the keys and also the signs at this stage in encrypted messages that appear on alabaster trying to talk the viewer of secrets, ultimately the great power of the word, communication. The phase lasts only a year and a torso-torso-always sets the course in another direction.
This year is the largest of the sculptures by far Banuelos. It is a piece of 400 tons and near 11 meters installed in the town of Muxía coruñense, seaside. An open block in half, a wound, illuminated by a cut below the observer will always remember the great catastrophe of the Prestige in Galician waters. The sculpture is sister in her earlier work approach, Funerary monument, where the artist had already turned to a vertical, crosshair, breaking in two granite in the manner of an open wound to the pain of emptiness, disappearance, death. But 2003 is also an important date because it inaugurates the new period announced, the deconstruction of, in the path of the artist. It is at this point that in studying the angles Banuelos realizes new language that comes from cuts in the stones. It uses boulders and part, inclines, the scrolls, the remakes… “Life is like reinventing again and again. Jacques Derrida spoke of it. I rid the stones and do something different with them. Life is so, establish a new perspective on something that already exists”, says the artist and still pondering what lies behind broken things, on what changes, becomes one fluye. There is some Eastern philosophy in his words. His technique is like cutting a fruit in pieces or as a door open and let you see your soul. The same thing happens when the stones, closed for thousands of years, listed below are cut and other forms, other colors. “The element of surprise is crucial and I acknowledge that I have always liked playing. The artist never leaves childhood.” The new millennium brings Spanish exhibitions in galleries such as Raquel Ponce (Madrid) or institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Art Ateneo de Yucatan or the Embassy of Spain in Mexico.
The IVAM holds the most important collection by artist so far, a year later travel to Valladolid. To some extent this is a retrospective, since it offers the viewer the opportunity to see all the models you have made as a prelude to the sculptures. Through the staging seems that the sculptor's studio has moved into the exhibition space. The finish IVAM, clearly, with the anonymity of the public face of a long-term work and plural, special attention to the findings of deconstruction, to continue to occupy currently Alberto Banuelos. “Now I am looking for a vacuum and that disturbs me a little because inevitably you realize that this search has to lead, one way or another, in lucid appreciation that life is very short and almost half of it takes place in the night, that death is near. Rothko committed suicide searching for the vacuum; Oteiza chose to stop and devoted himself to philosophy…”To Banuelos space is what is inside the sculpture or what is around, but silence or what tries to catch. “There is a point of spirituality in my work. Basically it tries to access the soul”, confesses. And still wondering: “Is my quest for perfection in sculpture, my accuracy, my obsession… something aesthetic or moral category?”. A question that speaks volumes about the way they deal with the trade.
Projects were continuing, the questions, search, dissatisfactions that lead the artist to go ahead and certainties. Banuelos donates pieces to IVAM; exhibits his works in an exhibition that takes place in the now defunct Salvador Díaz Madrid gallery and participate in a group show at the Ateneo bringing together a dozen sculptors,
but 2010 is characterized by being very international one year. His work comes to German cities like Düsseldorf or Munich; traveling Brazil museums Dragao do Mar Center of Art and Culture or the Oscar Niemeyer in the traveling exhibition Picasso to Gary Hill, which extends to 2011, and lands in Shanghai Expo. The artist, shy and introverted character, a process of opening and begins to discover his ability to communicate with others, a public dialogue with the stones, eager to find in them some light, dwell, Stability, in the quicksand of this. Students of Fine Arts of San Fernando approach the creative process, the motivations of the sculptor, visit his studio and hear him repeat what he said Leonardo da Vinci: “Art is a mental thing”. Banuelos tries to convey that the office is important, but what really distinguishes an artist, and makes himself master of a style, is what we have to count. Induce the, therefore, to forward to the work they read, the living, which are, what they feel… The increasingly clearer what has. Constantly thrives books, Film, able to stimulate their creativity. “Imagination”, holds, “is like a muscle and you have to exercise it more permanently”.
Is entrusted with the implementation of the World newspaper stand for Arco and solves deploying nine large alabaster sculptures ranging from 100 to 1.000 kilos of weight. His obsession with reaching the edge of the spiritual through his striking pieces again become apparent, but also detects a growing desire for simplification and primitivism. “My art is increasingly primitive”, ensures. Participates in the III International Biennial of Contemporary Art at the End of the World in Ushuaia (Argentina) and following his sculptures there visiting other countries like Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. Continues the process of opening, symbolized in these continuous trips abroad, but also a change in the mood of the artist, increasingly aware that their work in silence and solitude is full of nuances and words when received by others as an oasis of peace, balance, serenity. Banuelos acquires perspective and reflects on the importance of art as spiritual food. In one of his exhibitions let the public play a torso and watch the process, the gift of sculpture, stone, Marble, to connect. “Is alive, skin and also has sound. The stone or crystal may sound hoarse and off depending on their state, depending on whether it is in perfect condition or if you have streaks. It's amazing what people come to feel”, Banuelos said. Feelings, emotions, perceptions, are words that are now increasingly in his speech.
An important event marks the passing of this year, the award of the Arts of Castile and Leon. The jury appreciated the update, the update that makes the artist's eternal and ancient language of stones and he received the award as a joy, a boost, the possibility of being recognized in the homeland, in this geography and landscape that has both internalized and are in the beginning of all subsequent development.”Weigh no vivir allí, since the distance, the relationship of my work with the stones of Castilla-León is very deep. La Cartuja, Burgos Cathedral, the ambulatory behind the altar, that huge stone embroidery done with a pointer and a hammer. How were they able to do such a thing stonemasons in the Middle Ages?”, is passionate and excited Alberto Banuelos to speak of the influence of all these places he has walked and both already part of their genetics creative. The importance of heredity must add the new paths are opened and become manifest in the exhibition of the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. A privilege for an artist without looking, to intuitively, unconscious, connected through their deconstruction work with cultures like the Maya, the Olmec and Aztec. “I had always attracted primitive art and have traveled extensively to Mexico, exchange affinities but has not been for nothing premeditated. Has come through the memory of things”, declares the sculptor. “I have always felt very comfortable with the ancient cultures. In Mexico, in Egypt… I have been given the gift of simplicity, primitive, essential”. The title of the show is again the same as in the IVAM retrospective, The liturgy of the stone. Pieces that were exhibited there again are present, but added, up to a total of 120, above 80 news, among which heads of Mayan warriors, explains the artist, a bridge to the past, but primarily represent the current man fighting against all odds for a day full of shadows. “They are warriors of life, we all are faced with a different war”. And along with the warriors, dialogue with them, papers are, the big news in this exhibition. Immense paper sculptures in which the artist uses paint and other materials such as plaster. He began his career as a painter and this is somewhere, a natural evolution and parallel. Large heads of the warriors asked to be accompanied and felt very comfortable expressing that otherwise, in a language he had never left, I was there, waiting for the chance to be reborn. “On my way I go about things taking other. Comes into play a concatenation of circumstances, Element, knowledge and nuances that I may be changing, be in constant state of renewal”. Again breakage, Torn, holes, cracks, cuts, mysterious hollows, abysses, but this time not on stone but on paper. “The papers speak of death, but as a positive, present, inevitable, stimulating even. Through them I express the experience of emptiness, the disappearance”, explains Banuelos, who invited the Mexican public to share his sense of time, all his work is full-time- , the essentials. That timelessness that borders again and again and it causes in those who approach their work a great will to stop, of silence, to take a break in the journey of life.
Después de la importante cita en 2012: Art-Ginebra (stand “Fundación Abanico”), in 2013 el trabajo del artista se puede ver en la muestra “Sustratos”, en el IVAM de Valencia, y en la galería GAM de México DF, donde también es invitado a participar en la Feria de Arte Contemporáneo Zona Maco. Pero lo más importante de este año es el tiempo dedicado al silencio, a la reflexión. Después de la gran exposición en el Museo Nacional de Antropología de la capital mexicana y el gran esfuerzo que supuso, se abre un tiempo de meditación. La necesidad de descanso mental, de recapitulación sobre lo realizado hasta el momento, se imponen, y en el gozoso paréntesis aparece, como el propio artista señala, otra forma de ver, de mirar la propia obra, de interpretar los pensamientos. “Siempre he tenido muy presente lo que decía Picasso de que copiar a los demás es necesario para aprender, pero copiarse a sí mismo resulta trágico”, ensures.
Repasar su itinerario se hace necesario, pues, llegados a este punto. Tres son los lenguajes escultóricos esenciales que identificamos en el trayecto que hemos seguido hasta aquí: la demótica (lenguaje de signos horadados en las piedras, como palabras), que duró de 2001 hasta 2005; la deconstrucción, que se desarrolló paralelamente y se ha prolongado hasta la actualidad, y el trabajo con el papel en estado puro, con el que realiza “picto-esculturas”, denominadas por él “Esculturas de pared”, desde 2010.
Pero el camino de todo artista es un camino de búsqueda, de descubrimiento, y 2013 marca un punto de inflexión y supone la apertura de nuevas vías. Como explica el escultor, tras quince años inmerso en la deconstrucción, en el proceso de partir las piedras, “comenzaron a crearse espacios de indudable atractivo en su interior”, que, de la manera más sencilla, le fueron llevando “hacia auténticas habitaciones, lugares luminosos en el interior de las piedras cada vez más atrayentes”, que es donde podemos encontrarlo ahora.
La presencia de la obra del artista en el Monasterio de San Juan de Burgos, dentro de la muestra “Volumen en el Monasterio” conduce a reflexionar sobre la búsqueda espiritual como uno de los motores de su trabajo. Él lo explica de la siguiente manera: “Por supuesto que existe un componente espiritual en mi obra. Todo lo que hago surge de los libros que leo, de la poesía… Es un intento de trascender, es auténtica y sincera entrega. Hay que tener mucha pasión, mucha fé en lo que haces, para no echar a correr ante una piedra de cientos de kilos, o miles, y pensar que puedes hacerte con ella; que puedes partirla, abrirla, esculpirla, deconstruirla y acabar realizando algo especial con ella. Me gusta hablar de una “espiritualidad laica, “en el buen sentido de la palabra”, que diría Machado. No soy creyente, ni mucho menos practicante, pero ese sentimiento espiritual, incluso religioso, está en mi obra. Desde hace años me vengo preguntando si mi búsqueda de la perfección en la escultura es algo estético o una categoría moral”.
In Mexico, en el Museo de Antropología, le decían que sus esculturas daban paz y al evocarlo, Alberto Bañuelos se sitúa en el espacio en el que trabaja, que es como “una especie de convento o celda”. “Cuando estoy trabajando, en ese estado conventual que es mi taller, en absoluta soledad, sumergido en proyectos de una trascendencia personal que sólo a mí me interesan, estoy en un estado de entrega, de autenticidad, que podemos llamar espiritualidad; luego salgo al mundo y me acelero”, explica. En su estudio el escultor sigue buscando, explorando las rutas que abrió en 2013, un momento de intensa búsqueda, una vuelta de tuerca. Podemos imaginarlo absolutamente concentrado, inmerso en el intento de “entrar” en las esculturas y pasear por sus espacios. Esa exploración le ha mantenido ocupado estos últimos años, experimentando también con el lenguaje de la fotografía, que siempre había utilizado para apoyar su trabajo y que ha ido ganando en importancia “Nunca la había mostrado en exposiciones, pero quizá sea el momento de hacerlo”, dice ahora, refiriéndose también a la realización de obras con porcelana y otros materiales, además del papel, lo que supone otra novedad.
Entre los próximos proyectos de exposiciones destacan las dos el estado de Guanajuato, Mexico, de octubre de 2016 a enero de 2017. ( Una en el Museo “Alhóndiga de Granadinas” en la ciudad de Guanajuato y otra en el “Museo de Identidades Leonesas” en la ciudad de León. Ambas dentro del 44 Festival Internacional Cervantino). Su trabajo reciente se podrá ver también ( 2016 – 2017) en las exposiciones de la galería Ansorena de Madrid, el Museo de la Evolución Humana en Burgos, en el Monasterio de Valbuena de Duero y en la Catedral de Burgos, todas ellas individuales.
“Sigo con las mismas intenciones que cuando comencé. Ha cambiado el nivel de elaboración de las piezas, porque la experiencia es un grado, pero me sigue apasionando, del mismo modo, la piedra. Mi reto es seguir avanzando a partir de la constante duda que me obliga, día a día, a plasmar aquello que me obsesiona”, contesta el artista cuando se le pregunta por sus planes de futuro. Y entonces vuelve al proyecto que ocupa su presente: el anhelo de “entrar” en la escultura “y sentirla, olerla, escucharla, tocarla”. Todos los sentidos puestos en esos espacios caprichosos, en esos misteriosos habitáculos de luz que le regalan las piedras.
Copyright © Alberto Bañuelos 2013