Jordi Ribes’ paintings lead us to the world of childhood, or into his imaginary, a space rich in dreams and mysteries, where it seems we might play all day long. And yet once we are trapped in the velvety warmth of the surface of his canvases, we suddenly realise that this fantastical dimension is very far from idyllic.
Many of the motifs of his paintings are organized around the theme of travel. The artist makes series of paintings that could go on indefinitely, analogous to the adventures of many characters that appear in his canvases. “It is when we move that things happen,” notes the artist. Perhaps they are initiatory journeys or metaphorical scenes, or both at the same time.
Suitably equipped (with spacesuits and weapons, respectively), surrounded by inhospitable elements and stranded in a hostile terrain (an alien landscape, a dense jungle), our protagonists, toy heroes, press on into the unknown. We observe and empathise with these faceless characters, alone in front of a danger that, while not yet fully perceived, can already be guessed at. Bodies synthesised almost to the point of abstraction, but with a latent humanity; despite not recognizing their gender or determining their individuality.
The Barcelona artist’s figurative painting is conceived in a suspended scenario, structured thanks to a radical containment of its main elements. Fiction is articulated through volumes reduced to simple shapes and colors lit by fluorescent tones. The elements are intertwined, and the figures, repeated many times, become characters. Childhood is also a time of exploration of the world and of surprises. Repetition increases the impulse towards the unknown: What is on the other side of the mirror? Is that where we will find what threatens us without showing itself at all? Fortunately, on the other side there can also be ideal. The adventure has begun, the desire moves us to take another step, to move. That’s when things happen.
Ribes’ painting, clean in its lines and virtuous in the use of color, proposes enchanted situations. The quality of its surfaces captivates us. When we wake up from the dream, from the enchantment into which his pictorial alchemy has led us, it is too late to go back to where it is possible to play all the time.