Victor Jaenada kicks off the Espai 13 series of exhibitions at the Fundació Joan Miró for the 2022 season

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Victor Jaenada kicks off the Espai 13 series of exhibitions at the Fundació Joan Miró for the 2022 season
The artist explores recurring early memories starting out from an episode in his own childhood that involved premonition and death.



BARCELONA.- To begin Dive and Immersion, Victor Jaenada (Esplugues de Llobregat, 1977) has plunged into the deepest memories of his childhood and artistically processed an incident that marked his life and work. Family oral tradition left the artist a narrative of this real event that took place at his grandmother’s house when he was just a year old and that could have ended in tragedy. In Jaenada’s words,

At just over a year old I was at my grandmother Isabel’s house, in her room, in the cradle. Suddenly some formless “angels” appeared, frightening me a lot. They approached, hanging from the dark ceiling of the room, and I remember I must have cried . . . My grandmother, seeing that I was so upset, took me out of the room to calm me down. Just then the ceiling of the room fell in; the rubble destroyed the cradle, and I would have been crushed to death . . . The “angels” are my earliest memory in life, and I will probably never know whether they came to warn me or to take me away.

In the exhibition venue, Victor Jaenada recreates the physical and atmospheric elements of this episode in an installation named after his grandmother, Isabel, taking the visitor on a return trip to this alarming incident. The artist turns the premonitory lights in his memory—and the sensation of tragedy hanging in the air that surrounds the whole episode—into mobiles. In the exhibition, these objects linked to the earliest perceptions of childhood travel far from children’s games and first fears. According to Pere Llobera, curator of the series, these mobiles represent “dark, adult fears that take us back to the incomprehensible mystery of the origin of life”. Density is added to the atmosphere by lullabies aimed also at adults, that can be heard in the room thanks to a partnership with artist Marc Vives on the project. The whole installation constructs an “interregnum between infancy and maturity” that, as Llobera stresses, establishes a surreptitious dialogue with the work of Joan Miró.




Victor Jaenada’s work often deals with transcendental subjects like the passing of time or the inescapable nature of death. In this context, Isabel revolves around Miguel de Unamuno’s “tragic sense of life”, but approached in reverse: in Jaenada’s work for Espai 13, the tragedy of dying is replaced by a feeling of confusion about the fact of staying alive, about being part of existence. Within the framework of his hybrid methodology, this project is filled with duende, the spirit of Flamenco music, one of the artist’s fascinations. According to the curator of the series, this link stands beyond literality and exists in the profound (or jondo, to use the language of Flamenco) commitment to something essential that lies at the core of Jaenada’s project. In line with this, Marc Vives’ dark lullabies also connect the visitor to the gravity of some forms of Flamenco music. In mid-March, Flamenco duende will also take its place in the venue with a performance by the singer and composer Ana Brenes.

Victor Jaenada (Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, 1977) is a Barcelona visual artist forged and tempered on the periphery. He enrolled at the Escola d’Art i Superior de Disseny Llotja in 1994, before going on to study fine arts at the Universitat de Barcelona, where he honed his painting and drawing skills while experimenting with other artistic languages, such as installations. In 2004 he won a scholarship to study in Granada, and after graduating he set up a studio in his hometown to create his first mural installations. In 2013 he began dividing his time between Hangar and a studio at the Fidel Balaguer gallery. He currently lives and works in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

Rich in intuition and poetry, his work delves into the deep meaning of life and explores existential issues such as the passage of time and the inevitability of death. His work has been exhibited at museums and art centres in Spain and further afield, including MNAC (Barcelona), CCEMX (Mexico City), Casal Solleric (Palma), Centro Párraga (Murcia) and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona), among others. He also regularly exhibits in solo and group shows at a number of galleries and art fairs across Spain. Some of his pieces form part of the MACBA archives and the Grisart and DKV collections, among others.

Dive and Immersion is the series of exhibitions the Fundació Joan Miró is putting on at Espai 13 throughout 2022, with support from the Banco Sabadell Foundation. Curated by Pere Llobera (Barcelona, 1970), the project surveys the state of the art of painting over the course of four exhibitions by artists from the local scene employing a wide range of the many languages used in our context. The shows by Victor Jaenada, Marcel Rubio Juliana, Marria Pratts and Martín Vitaliti showcase the tremendous possibilities afforded by the notion of expanded painting in conjunction with methodologies and research from the world of emerging art.

The series takes its name from Galician poet José Ángel Valente’s free translation of the title of the poem “Il tuffatore”, by Italian writer and Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale, rendered in Spanish as “Salto e inmersión”. Montale was inspired by a fresco from a 5th-century BC tomb depicting a naked young man diving headfirst into a pool of water. Both painting and poem explore ideas of life, death and the circularity that binds them together. Jaenada, Rubio Juliana, Pratts and Vitaliti thread these same concepts through their own projects in a tragic and lucid vein. In their installations, artefacts and paintings, all four artists—dubbed “natural painters” by Pere Llobera—address the need to find their own voice in this cyclical succession. The title of the series also hints symbolically at these artists’ deeply felt, radical commitment to their work.










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