From etymology to violence.
Between the abundance and the force.
Behind the space of a waterfall.
Breathing in its presence.
And the water makes less noise.
The force seems under control.
When talking with Rafa Forteza about etymology, he is not concerned with philological accuracy or the true roots of the words we use, as much as he is concerned with intentional fiction in language, the subjective and joyful twisting of meaning. His etymologies are in fact ruptures that consist of taking the words in one’s hands and sculpting them, reordering their syllables.
When seeing the new paintings, made after a month-long stay in California, I think of the etymology of the word violence that comes simply from vis (force/strength) and olentus (abundance). That is: an abundance of force. For instance, the abundance found in nature, the force of a geographical feature. A noisy waterfall that is like a water curtain behind which one can find an empty yet difficult to access space.
The room behind a waterfall is the paint’s impassable space in these new canvasses. Its violence is the abundance. However, in all of them a small human figure can be found, barely a dark silhouette, the character who takes his head out to breathe. He is
like the raincoat-clad tourist at the Iguazú Falls. He’s here, the paintings say, over and over again. And in his presence without drowning the force is finally controlled.
Rafa Forteza, born in 1955 in Mallorca, Spain. He’s had solo exhibitions in galleries and museums like L21, Kewenig Mallorca, Pelaires, Joan Miró Foundation, The State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg, Kunst Station Sankt Peter in Cologne among many others, and more recently at Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum in Mallorca. His work is part of collections like MoMA New York, Centro Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia Madrid, Centre Pompidou Paris, Collection DeutscheBank, La Caixa Collection, Münchner Kunstlerhaus Stiftung Munich… He has published artists books next to many poets and artists like Joan Brossa, José Carlos Llop, José Ángel Valente, Antonio Saura, and many others. In 2016, a monograph of his work “Más cara” was published by Printer Fault Press (Spain).