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Carlos Delgado. Madrid.

Carlos Delgado. Annta Gallery. Madrid.

Catálogo exposición “Alasdurasyalasmaduras” Annta Gallery, Madrid. Mayo 2009.



Carlos Delgado


Alasdurasyalasmaduras (For better and worst) reunites a selection of paintings done by José Manuel Ciria throughout the years 2008 and 2009. This period of exceptional creativity agrees with the itinerant of a great exhibition in Latin America, showing his works at the Museum of Modern Art of Santo Domingo, the National Gallery of Jamaica, the Museum of Modern Art of El Salvador, which will culminate at the beginning of 2010 after its presentation at the Anthropological and Contemporary Museum of Art of Guayaquil, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Santiago of Chile, at the Modern Art of Medellin.


In his last works, the artist puts to the extreme, the dialectic between abstraction and figuration, the formalism of the drawing and the expressiveness of the stain, between the idea of the matter and the idea of the emptiness. These are only some of the keys of his last investigations in New York, in which Ciria consolidates, as Donald Kuspit, the american art critic, recently wrote: “an absolute dominion of his means of expression and his tools, the painting, and the modernist vocabulary of abstraction, gestural o geometric”.


If Ciria has systematically worked his work like a singular cartography that expresses the creative incidence of his stays at different places in the world (Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv or Moscow), it is certain that perhaps it is in New York where this constant exploration has become more complex, getting to undermine many of the fundamental concepts of his plastic of the Nineties: on one hand, it is in this city where he meticulously prepares a progressive cooling of the sign expressiveness of his previous work. This idea considers a critical concept of starting linked to the conception of the drawing like basic formal structure on which the pictorial image rests. From this first solution, stain, ever free and expansive, will be modulated by the architecture of a line that will end up creating specific meanings. Thus, the drawing will maintain in a first indelible moment the stigma of its origin: figures, torso and faces will concentrate the development of the stain to turn it into the eruptive skin of his first important series in New York, titled “Post-Supremática”, that shows hieratic and compartmentalized bodies. But soon these same bodies will alter the descriptive morphology to open themselves towards iconographies that, still maintaining certain biomorphic character, will detach themselves from the physical dimension.


All this occurs, from 2006, in his large and complex series “La Guardia Place”, where the artist will propose the new dynamics from which three families will arise: figurative paintings next to totally abstract pieces while compositions that we do not know clearly in what field we should place. Again, the linear formalism will be the unique means that owns the iconographic motif against the threat of its disappearance: if the drawing does not exist, the stain would expand in a risky process that would possibly have much to do with the abstract production of Ciria of the Nineties. However, we do not have to understand this drawing like a mere limit for the stain: the line becomes an structural and compositional tool of the image, defines new subjects and, in addition, opens the possibility of the regulation and the modular repetition of the motif.


Within the thematic and formal explorations of “La Guardia Place”, the subject of the mask directly was enunciated in works like Máscara y tres elementos, Cabeza Máscara y Máscara Africana, all of 2007. Nevertheless, within the sum of these series, we evaluate like a true hinge towards the following series, two pieces done in March of 2008: Bloody Mary duplicado and Cabeza sobre fondo verde. In both works the dimension of disegno, so complex and varied in the series “La Guardia Place”, has been reduced to the configuration of a simple oval structure. But it will mainly be the color and its contrasting character what determines the originality of both pieces: thus, the green, orange and rose shades, if not at all usual in the production of the artist, will acquire progressive prominence; new chromatic dimensions that will mark the footpath towards the development of his new creations that belong to the series “Schandenmaske (burlesque Masks)”.


In front of the strict formal control that demanded the complex linear modulation of his series “La Guardia Place”, the artist locates the creative axis in this new family in another dimension: the management of the color in a simple and repetitive structure as is the one that closes the contour of the mask. But in “Schandenmaske” the color detaches itself from the conscious repression and rambles from side to side, causing the accidents to be the protagonists. When fluctuating this way, the chromatic element folds and twists, opens new ways and sometimes imposes its own expansive limit.


The interest of this action is double; on one hand, to enhance the semantic ambiguity of his work, in line with the artist´s work in New York and, on the other, to exceed the gestural expressionist poetry without breaking one of its elementary codes: the planitud (flatness). This sense of apparent purity like a modern key, defended by Greenberg´s formalism(1) (shattered by the answers of Steinberg, Mitchell or Mary Kelly) is not recovered by Ciria like a simple modernity icon. For the artist, the act to emphasize the planitud has a symbolic meaning: the mask is a too heavy curtain as to allow to see behind. The contemplation of these works implies a constant doubt because it never allows the decoding of what lies behind. It exhibits, it puts in scene the mask to hide the face, and more than a veil it is an insurmountable wall.


If for Mitchell “to see painting is to see touch, see the artist´s hand gestures”(2), a complex knotting between the optical and tactile, Ciria chooses to neutralize the effects of tangible sensitivity. That one carnalidad that Berger granted to pictorical means, in the work of Ciria is pure illusion, a mirage that disappear when we get near his works : there is no volume, neither passable spaces nor footprints of his action. The masks, more than floating on a certain space, are imprisoned in it; they are a violent parenthesis tattooed on the skin of the support. There isn’t space or solid foundation for its location, and the mask only folds over its own existence.


In a paralellism to the development of “La Guardia Place”, and preceding therefore the beginning of the series o “Schandenmaske”(3) works, Ciria begins to elaborate a series of drawings with its complexity very simplified to define its transit like a simple oval. Undressed of rhetoric ornamental, precise, full of intensity and retained complexity, in his drawings he looks for the immediate exposure of the intuition and, at the same time, he pursuits an unique image, of obsessive and repetitive coming back, the mask, under a constant process of disarticulation and re-articulation. But for its constitution as such figure, the artist opens empties spaces that define the inner reality of the figure, as if it only wanted to deny the function to hide and it could only reveal its linear relation with the space. With his paintings of same subjects, Ciria assumes the specificity of the linear structure in all his implications, including the most extreme, that is to say, to introduce the nothing(4).


His progressive interest in the destabilization of the logic of the oval module, will be the reason for him to begin to draw from another order, that is to say, through an incessant relational linking that feeds from the dialogue between the form and the emptiness, where this last one now acquires an active component. The new images will arise from such formative necessity and with argumental volition around the idea of founding a new core from the parts different connections. In this thought, the idea to fight in favor of the space is outlined and to complete it, the artist is going to evaluate the line, traditional staging of the limit of a body, in relation to what it exceeds its own definition. The formal way undertaken by Ciria in his vacated drawings exhibits signs that articulate plastic rhythms, but without concrete references. What determines the meaning of these works is not already the original mask, but the spatial compartmentalized spread that, in their dialogue between matter and space, clarify the condition of their structure.


His following pictorial series “Desocupaciones” inherits this investigation in which he continues dividing the figure in two possibilities, emptiness and matter, that always conserve an intimate friction. However, against the laws of the measurable -the line- that his “vacated” drawings denoted, the qualitative factor -the color- is the element that dictates the expressiveness and the logic of these works.


The chromatic arrangement of red, oranges, whites and blacks of a piece as Máscara desocupándose en figura (2008) is overwhelming, to the point that the sensuality of the color hides the structural character of its design. It is an iconography that comes from the idea of the mask, but with the same urgency dives in the concept of emptiness. Since the subjects do not illustrate any action, the key to understand the nature of its presence is implicit in the expression “desocupación” (vacancy) that appears constantly in the titles of these pieces: to leave a place free of obstacles or to remove what there is inside are the first meanings of this term. Ciria, in these works, eliminates the obstacle of the reference from the dissection of the interior of the form, where also exists, among others elements, the absence of tangible matter. When imposing both actions, he manages to definitively transform the subject –it is ossified in the series “Post-supremática”, disarranged in “La Guardia Place”, hidden behind a false identity in “Schandenmaske” -in pure plastic language. The subject is not the departing point of the image, now the language has occupied its place.


Ciria is an artist who always has looked for “the autonomy of the plastic in the constitution of the work of visual art”(5) and that, at the same time, has played with the impurity of the memory; for that reason it is not strange that the results of some of his “desocupaciones” show coordinates or basic alignments that the own artist discovers next to previous plastic creations(6). Máscara desocupada recordando a Giotto (2009) reveals that, over other elements –of content or symbolic- the reason that determines the formation of the plastic elements is exclusively compositional, required by the formation of a specific image. In a project developed during a stay in Rome in 1995, that he titled “El tiempo detenido” (The frozen time), Ciria decided to dissect the enacting dynamics of the works of Giotto and Ucello. At that time, our artist disconnected the resources of the figurative contextual and worked with the stain in a complex search of notional displacements. Without subordination to works of both artists, Ciria solved his painting from a subjectivity oriented towards independent plastic results. However, in Máscara desocupada recordando a Giotto the search has been replaced by the encounter: the resolution of vacancy has as a result a visual dispositio next to the abstract translation that the own Ciria did of Giotto´s paintings..


Very close to the plastic conception that we are describing it f Figura-Máscara desocupada sobre trama (2008). Arranged in a centralized form on a type of transparent cage, the iconographic motif tries to cling to a space that is no longer unitary, but a totalized multiple modular. This mechanism, opposed to the free registry of the stain, formed a central part of his abstract poetry during the Nineties. Already then, before the certainty that, structurally, the reticule only can be repeated(7), Ciria chose to assume such axiom as departing point for the invention: the ordered and regularized similarity were the place for a polymorphous scene. Said paradox was accessible from the unexpected territory of the deviation that grants the interrelation of the geometry´s with “the knowledge of <> and, later, of <>”(8) as well as with the free, plural and unstable character of the stain. Nevertheless, the formalist interest that Ciria develops in these images allows him to establish a rigorous, restrictive reticule that will not be altered by the sensitivity of the injury


A similar geometric organization constitutes, in fact, the base for other pieces conceptually close, as it happens in the exceptional Máscara partida-desocupada y regleta de colores sobre trama (2008). Here, the one variation comes determined by the displacement from the reticular to the upper part of the composition, in a similar disposition to the one he already used in Habitación de juegos (2007), one of the most enigmatic and suggestive pieces, in spite of its apparent narrative character, of the suite Winter Paintings. In any case, the invigoration of the Ciria´s present plastic investigation of is going to come determined by the solidification of the geometric structure (made flexible and only organically modulated in Figura desocupándose sobre madeja (2008); on the contrary, the variable dynamics of the iconographical structure that raises over it and opens itself to a multiple inventory.


In Fuck Picasso (2008), Ciria assumes the deviation of the paradigmatic square through the juxtaposition of parallel bands of bi-chromo rhythm. But again, the icon that is not conscious of the limits of the bands, that is to say, does not restrain its disposition to adapt to the compartments of the base. However, the last experimentations of the artist, of which we will speak later, recover the essential compartmental function of the geometric acting like a picture within the picture, submitting the disposition of the stain to its conditioning


The evolution of Ciria´s work cannot be reduced to a linear distance. Time and time again, “the different series from Ciria retake the same subjects and aesthetic worries. Subjects and instruments are combined in different ways throughout his active years”(9). The tense dialogue between order and stain that characterized his work of the Nineties returns to reshape itself under new models. But, in a more disquieting way, some of the iconographies which were keys of previous series are rescued now to demonstrate their potential semantic virtuality when they are integrated in a new visual system; in this way, the undulating forms of the piece of “La Guardia Place”, Hermanos (2008), arranged over shining base of thermal insulator, now they are rescued (although not literally) to rest on a modular rate in the recent Posible figura sobre trama geométrica (2008). The interest of the artist to repeat a certain visual motif serves to question the possibility of a sole reading and reveals once more the high complexity of its syntax; the repetition in Ciria´s work is, therefore, in a positive or creative sense: one first matrix, when returning to appear again in another work, does not conserve what denies, but affirms what changes, its novelty, that always it is essentially semantic.


But this modular experimental root, that r was the base of his series “Schandenmaske”, yields in his recent work in favor of an iconographic freedom that does not adapt to any authoritarian order. In this way, Figura casual I, Figura casual II y Posible figura sobre trama roja, all of 2008, present similar iconographies but do not outline any object of repeated constriction. Now a new type of figure opens close to the idea of a children´s rag doll, that Ciria had partially developed in the suite Divertimentos Appeleanos, of 2006, energetic crossing of the temperature Cobra and the Miró’s naivety. However, while those pieces ironically resemble the finger painting of the kindergarten, in the ones which we are commenting now the connotations of playful and technical naivety has disappeared.


In Doodle (2008), the body is an eccentric broken machine, personage whose overgrown oval head determines the proportions and synthesizes of the rest of its members. Such distortions, that seem a revision of the dismemberment of the Art Brut, contrast nevertheless with the refinement of the work. Again, Ciria raises a crossing of temperatures that searches not to fall into any unifying discursive category : the banal and naïve aspect of the icon seems to be disconnected from the rigor of the visual construction, the rigorous compositional organization and the audacious chromatic distribution. The result is a fascinating image, equipped with a hypnotic energy, where the smothered violence of the deformed and fragmentary is superposed to the oppression of the reticular device. However, such superposition is only a deceit. The planitud of the image and the confusion of the planes that constitute the back (the red rectangle, the reticule and the silver-plated field, what special hierarchy they have between them or in respect to the figure?) they raise a confusion that, really, is fusion or interference of all the plastic elements in a same plane. The possibility of the visual, significant and clear dissection with respect to the figure and the background is another one of the visual conventions that Ciria tries to demolish in this great piece. In fact, it is perverse to cage to this rag doll in a regulating order, like is also to violate the geometric rate with the inclusion of a free body that is spilled. Perhaps, the space where these figures can be conscious of the space that surrounds them is in the open drift of the garden.


For Ciria, the metaphor of the garden conceptualize one of his important subjects, at least during his work of the Nineties and under his conceptual system of work Abstracción Deconstructiva Automática; we mean the techniques of controlled chance, where the hand of the creator stops being reflected by metonymy in the sstain and imposed his own expansive limit. One of his multiple forms of application will be determined by the use as a base of those canvases that covered the floor of his studio during the accomplishment of other pieces. The chance arises then like random mechanism, like remains that travel free towards a surface prepared in the ground and becomes the departing point of a later elaboration.


The support stepped on and stained by the echo of the artistic exercise is recycled and valued by its expressive immediacy but, mainly, to exemplify the essence of the found object and owner of a memory, in this case, extraordinarily attached to the own artist. In this way, the archaic memory of rhythms, frequencies and flows, masses and colors, is the reflection of a pulse that the painter values as deserving of being investigated. The Instinctive and the reasoned had been present, in a dialogue of variable intensity, throughout all his trajectory. The recent integration of these “casual eloquent incidents”(10) not only assumes the memory of the base, but the memory of the artist´s own trajectory, who already between 1995 and 1996, painted “El jardín perverso I” and in 2003 “El jardín perverso II”, suites pertaining to the series “Máscaras de la mirada”, from this same approach.


If in certain pieces, as already commented on Posible figura sobre trama roja, Ciria imposes a reticular mesh between the icon and “garden”, the usual is a more direct relation between the two registries. In Cabeza buque boca abajo (2008), the memory of the support owns its own geometric echo, now less formalist and touched by the fainting and tremor ideas. On the other hand, the intense load of narrative that the title implies, as well as the centralized monumental character of the iconic form, makes think us about traditional figurative devices; however, the reverse of the motif now upside down, perverts the principles of the perception. The disappearance of normality, of the physically natural questions its essence as an iconographic subject and converts it in an abstract structure with the only function to be image,. As it happened in the works of Baselitz, this effect entails to strip the form of its primitive semantic registry and forces, it to stop being a registered legible figure within a composition and, so turns to be a composition itself,


This reflection on the formal problems of the painting, the limits between the abstraction and the figuration, as well as the intensity of the reversion shows with brilliance in Composición con crestas (2008), where inventio (iconography) is already referred in the title like pure dispositio (plastic composition); in this way, the artist makes disappear the narrative perceptive determining factor, and he only refers directly to what is inevitably recognizable, a haughty profile of aggressive and animalistic connotations.


This same totemic and primitive character, that has been introduced throughout the different stages of Ciria in New York, reaches strange expressive levels in which perhaps one of the key pieces of his last investigation is: El ojo que llora ante la pintura (2008). Again, the narrative component, in addition now dramatic, prevails initially before our reading; the imposing presence of the figure, between disarticulated doll and wild monster, next to certain compositions of Karl Appel, offers its pain to the spectator. There isn’t an inverted subversion, but a expressive frontload that apparently leaves little space to the ambiguity. In spite of not being a descriptive figure, the logical presence of the black oval surrounded by a red outline that flows in three winding bands, approximates us irremediably to the weeping idea, of bleeding pain generated by the glance. Painting that cries for which painting? Possibly, for what it represents: persistent with the specificity of means, solid technique and, conceptually displaced off the center of the map that starts from the present biennalism and the digitalization of the glance. Perhaps their only destiny is to add itself to that painting that “has left almost everything: the canvas, the frame, the wall, the sorts…”(11) and that apostatizes of its own condition in favor of a constant hybridization with other disciplines; that new painting that enriches itself by becoming not enriched, that is camouflaged in the contamination and distorts its specificity to be reconciled before a new spectator who seems to have surpassed the artifice of the scopic regime. In fact, that that one painting that tries to incarnate and to exemplify “an intoxicating sensation of being at last free”(12) or, from another less optimistic perspective, that looks to incarnate a new modality, painting future, that will be the one that knows to give “full account of its own extinction”(13). Another painting whose result only can be a misunderstanding or an unsolvable paradox: painting that stops to survive, must move away from the categories that define them as so. In an improbable celebration of disguises that painting chooses to be exactly the opposite the other, or the same but disguised: to be it everything.


Ciria has titled the present exhibition Alasdurasyalasmaduras, all together, like an inner whisper that animates its creativity constantly. The progressive reconfiguration of his painting indicates a continuous eagerness to develop in a coherent way a defense of the permanence and the relevance of the pictorial beyond fashions, discredits or funeral omens. For Ciria, the emblems of the modern painting can be deconstructed without altering the purity of the pictorial space, firm activity that has taken to him to position himself like one of the most complex voices of the present Spanish painting; in fact, which the artist states in his speech is not the obstinate reluctance to the hybridization or the expansion of the media (on this aspect he has worked, with singular lucidity, in diverse series), but his desire to actually corroborate the importance of the painting in the complex field of the present art and the potentiality that this discipline has to cross new conceptual and formal spaces constantly. His attitude implies to go against the flow, to affirm the painting, “blurred by the weight of a paralyzing vanguard theory”(14), against its concealment. But mainly, he looks to construct a painting that imposes to the distracted perception, to the trivializing of the image, and gets to destabilize the passivity of the glance: the picture becomes a center for the restlessness, the doubt in fact, for the reflection. For the better or the worst at the moments of positive recovery of the means and when he affirms with greater zeal its end as means of expression, Ciria manages to find new channels for his pictorial investigation.


“Aptitude. Intention. Search. Concept. Contribution”. On a rigorous white reticular structure, blue and red, subtly bruised by fluentness stains, José Manuel Ciria arranged in 1992 these five words that were going to mark the complexity of his mature artistic project. In fact, the artist will only decide to embark in an abstract speech once a theoretical platform is built and sustains him and, at the same time, let him move away from the possibility of a banal mannerism. His beginnings as artist found a first landmark when, towards 1984, produced his first painting group with certain degree of thematic homogeneity; reunited under the title “Autómatas”, those pieces presented ossified anthropomorphic structures to which their particular characteristics had been extirpated in favor to a eroded inner. The body was, therefore, the first experimental motif for Ciria, modulated in later series from expressive shreds; later he will do, it through the progressive destruction of the original figure, as it happens in his series, initiate in 1989, “Hombres, manos, formas orgánicas y signos”. Separated finally from the object language, the beginning of the Nineties will agree with the progressive consolidation of the abstract image, where the stain and the geometry will constitute the keys of his plastic investigation.


Stain and geometry are the echo of an historical objective, immanent to both ways to understand the abstraction that crystallizes with modernity, but which they have one long history. The restoration that Ciria undertook of this genitor principle of the heroic-vanguards could not but be pronounced through the complex problem that supposed the pictorial praxis of the Nineties. In this sense Ciria became the perfect example of that current that will get to cross the change of the century and that enrolls in a post-heroic abstraction and, still, post-minimal. But from his beginnings what definitively stated the originality and relevance of his action was the lucidity of a language that, supported on a solid conceptual platform, placed itself at the margin of the mannerist redefinition and of the ironic ridicule, the lyrical melancholy or the ornamental resolution.


The reflection on this inheritance will look for the immanence of two visual concepts (the squared disposition versus the accidental irruption of the stain chained by the conclusions of the enacting combinatory. And although this area of investigation does not define the total interests of his work, how not to realize that during his mature production of the Nineties, the most important works, the more innovative were indeed those that put to the limit the dialectic possibilities of the stain and the geometry? The inassimilable condition of the components of first -oil, acid and water- and the multiple dictions that will be able to impose to the second, will draw up very diverse levels of expressive intensity that will culminate in the series “Manifesto” (1998) or “Carmina Burana” (1998). And, linking the first years of the new century, the series “Compartimentaciones” (1999-2000), “Cabezas de Rorschach I” (2000), “Glosa líquida” (2000-2003), “Dauphing Paintings” (2001), “Venus geométrica” (2002-2003), “Sueños construidos” (2000-2006) or “Horda geométrica” (2005) will certify the vertices of this investigation in all its extension..


The new period that Ciria initiates in New York at the end of year 2005 supposes, as we stated dd at the beginning of this writing, supposes a powerful inflexion in his production determined by two key ideas: a pictorial cooling from the recovery of the line like compositional frame and the consequent stabilization of the iconography, directed to stabilize hieratic bodies, without face, next to the works that Malevich realized in second half of the Twenties. In this search of a degree zero on which to construct new line of investigation, the artist returns, perhaps in a unconscious way, to a type of image that remembers those of his first series “Autómatas”. During his following period in New York, the strict formalism that the drawing imposed will be freed of the body´s iconography to deconstruct it and then open new thematic dimensions. Again, the evolution suggests a parallelism with the one developed in his beginnings: many of the questions that the series “Hombres, manos, formas orgánicas y signos”, rose, and the nexus of transition towards the plastic aniconic of the Nineties, will return to be analyzed by Ciria in “La Guardia Place”.


This suggestive circular speech, where one first track reaches major depth when the artists returns to work on it, shouldn´t hide the radical newness of the works developed in New York. From this perspective, the reasons of an apparent return to formulas already studied in the beginnings of his trajectory, must be put in the light of a desire to close an important cycle of his production and to try a new opening towards the future. If his first figurative experiences fixed by the contour line were the impulse towards his expressionist abstract work of the Nineties, his investigation about drawing developed during the past few years is, in the same way, the germ of his last aniconic productions: when detaching the color from the linear structure, the stain recovers the freedom and its volume returns to expand; nevertheless, the result that his last pieces presents is still more expressive, informal and dynamic that his risky stains of the Nineties, whose main milestone was the great series “Máscaras de la mirada”. On the other hand, the reticular device acquires also a new entity, of a full rigor, rigid and absolutely decisive in the configuration of the image. The restraint and cooling which Ciria has put under all his New Yorker production initiate a tense drift based on the radical opposition of both ends.


Flowers (For MLK) y Elementos sobre tablero de juego, both already of 2009, illustrate the new levels that the artist within his reflection reaches on the possible connections between the gesture and the order. Against the broken stain of “Máscaras de la mirada”, where the repulsion between the water and the oil eroded its morphology, Ciria now offers stains of flat color that clash violently with the black; the resulting syntax shows a furious inner energy that seems to litigate to free itself from the strict geometric compartmentalization that organizes its rhythm on the support. Such dichotomy between the chained series of the checkerboard and the suggestive and dynamic power of the amorphous is, at the same time, a wise turn of nut to the tensions between the compositional and expressive means that until now he had dissected. The surprising factor is, without a doubt, his capacity to start off from the dialectic of modernity and to construct a work absolutely detached from of the traditional pictorial stories. The accent in the intensity, in the dramatic quality, that his last compositions show is not a disguise or a veil that already sifts an explored idea. In spite of the persistence on the part of the artist to declare that, inevitably, always he ends up painting the same picture, the certain thing is that Ciria is able to constantly transform the skin of his painting without, for this reason, to annul his unmistakable identity.


1.“While the Old Teachers created an illusion of space where we can imagine walking in it, the illusion created by the Modernist is of a space where one may look and travel across it only with the eye. GREENBERG, C. “La pintura modernista”, taken from FRIED, M. Arte y objetualidad. Ensayos y reseñas. A. Machado, Madrid, 2004, p.41.


2.MITCHELL, W. J. T. “Visual means do not exist”. BREA, José Luis (ed.) Estudios visuales. La epistemología de la visualidad en la era de la globalización. Akal, Madrid, 2005, pp. 18-25.


3.“Since the end of the 2006, a notebook of drawing and a small box with graphite mines 6B and 8B traveled with me. In that ‘journey notebook’ denominated from the beginning BOX OF MENTAL STATES, I had been shaping page after page silhouettes of masks as simple divertimento, long before the Schandenmaske Masks series. It is possible that within us a premonition rests (…), a premonition of events that can happen later, independently of muses, or probably, directly caused by them”. CIRIA, José Manuel. “La mano ausente”, en Ciria. Box of mental states. ARG Ediciones, Madrid, 2008.


  1. “In drawing the work consists of introducing the nothing in each one of the certainties that the innocent act of tearing with a dark generator – a spot, crayon, a pencil-holder – on the flat base of light tries to introduce. A way to deal with the nothing of the objects, to indicate ignorance in that the vision moves, to destroy the habits”. RAMOS, Miguel Ángel. “Quizá la distancia sea la duda”. GÓMEZ MOLINA, Juan José (coord.) Estrategias del dibujo en el arte contemporáneo. Cátedra, Madrid, 2006, p. 304.


5.CIRIA, J.M. “El tiempo detenido de Ucello y Giotto y una mezcla de ideas para hablar de automatismo en Roma”, in El tiempo detenido. Madrid, 1996, p. 28. 6.This reflection is part of one of the theoretical programs in which the artist is actually investigating denominated DAA (Dynamic of Alpha Alignments), and that he explained in the following way: “I call Alpha Alignments those tensional basic structures of a pictorial work, that is to say, within all painting, excepting the minimalism and Annexes, exist a series of primary shaping elements that tighten the composition. This is found in the history of painting from the Renaissance and the Baroque, to the contemporary abstractions and figurations, going through the Romanticism, the Cubism, the Surrealism, the Constructivism and the American Abstract Expressionism”. In José Manuel Ciria. Limbos de Fénix. Bach Quatre Gallery, Barcelona, november-december, 2005, pp. 95-96.


7.KRAUSS, R. KRAUSS. R. “La originalidad de la vanguardia”, in La originalidad de la vanguardia y otros mitos modernos. Op. cit., p. 174.


8.GARCÍA BERRIO, Antonio y REPLINGER, Mercedes, José Manuel Ciria: A.D.A. Una retórica de la abstracción contemporánea. Tf. Editores, Madrid, 1998, p. 99.


9.ABAD VIDAL, Julio César. “About Ciria´s square paintings as the prisioner efforts against the bars, in Squares from 79 Richmond Grove, MAE y SEACEX, Madrid, 2004, p. 88.


10.GARCÍA-BERRIO, A., y REPLINGER, M. Op. cit., p. 23.


11.BARRO, David. Imágenes [pictures] para una representación contemporánea. Mímesis-Multimedia, Oporto, 2003, p. 94.


12.Ibídem, p. 19.


13.BREA, José Luis. Las auras frías. El culto a la obra de arte en la era postaurática. Anagrama, Barcelona, 1991, p. 136.


14.GARCÍA-BERRIO, A., y REPLINGER, M. Op. cit., p. 63.