“Variations of Tintoretto” at Artur Ramon Art, Barcelona

The Artur Ramon Art gallery is showcasing Jorge R. Pombo’s series of variations of classics created by Tintoretto. The gallery has organized the exhibition to celebrate the fifth centenary of Tintoretto’s birth. The exhibition will be on view in Barcelona until September 28, 2018.

About the collection, Pombo says, “I find it inspiring to appro­priate an image with its own identity, an aesthetic code and a taste that expired centuries ago, that nobody would use to tell the world today. Painting an image of the real context in which I live would involve a dialogue with my surroundings. However, using a picture of almost 500 years ago and re­painting it is a positioning between purism and in­breeding. I do not paint the emotions derived from an image of my surroundings but I nourish myself with the emotions that emanate from a past picto­rial image, a code created by another artist and that has little or nothing to do with my time or my way of understanding existence.”

His paintings are built on the basis of an attitude of repainting instead of painting in romantic position. He tries to avoid the internal dictator who wants to master all the phases of creating a painting. He uses only the skin of an old paint, the first layer, the style of the Cinquecento, which explains a scene in a figu­rative way.

He intervenes later on the surface with a pictorial gesture of abstract nature, almost like an action painting, either with solvents in the oil paintings or with fire in the charcoal drawings. Like alchemy, understood in a metaphorical sense, fire is used as a transforming instrument, not a destructive one.

“I erase images, affirming as well as eliminating them. By blurring them capriciously with the sol­vent, I cause chance to intervene in the finishing decisions of the painting, emphasizing the liquid aspect of the discipline, trying to respect the dynamics of the nature of the paint puddles,” the artist adds.

In his variations of the “Miracle of Saint Mark liberating the slave,” Pombo paints neither saints nor slaves, only spots of color in movement, liquid tides that move on a whim regardless of how they alter or erase the previous image.

According to the artist, in postmodern viewers’ eyes what makes Tintoretto better than any other painter of his generation is not that he was the first to paint a man flying as seen from below, or that he painted “The Paradise of the Doge’s Palace,” which in Pombo’s opinion is the greatest painting of all time. Rather it is because of his compo­nent of abstract thought, his understanding that painting, beyond telling stories, is a pictorial plane, which can excite viewers by the simple arrangement of its spots.