Yago Hortal. That was then, this is now
That was then, this is now is the title of the first retrospective by Yago Hortal (Barcelona, 1983), one of the most notable Catalan artists of his generation. The exhibition, curated by Enrique Juncosa, features more than forty paintings presented in chronological order covering the artist’s fourteen-year career, since his first exhibition in 2006 and his now substantial international career.
Yago Hortal has carried out a formalist revision of abstract painting, creating images based on the way he applies the paint – large sweeps, splashes, very thick layers of paint… – and its physical characteristics. Moreover, Hortal uses industrial colours and materials that make reference to the urban experience. The exhibition has been curated by the art critic Enrique Juncosa who has frequently written about post-minimalist abstraction.
ft/ Yago Hortal, 2017
This piece is a good example of Yago Hortal’s small, three-dimensional paintings in which the brushstroke has grown so much that it acquires volume. These works can even take on the appearance of pies or cakes, implying a hedonistic and celebratory attitude to the medium, as occurs in SP10 (2012). In this case, the work resembles a sweet or a blown-glass object. If the brushstroke had previously been the element that gave rise to the expanding image, here it seems to fold back upon itself as a kind of knot or bundle, without losing any dynamism or suggestion of movement, though we can imagine that it takes some time for the artwork to dry out. The knot is a powerful symbolic image, as it refers to a closed interior.