Carlos Delgado. Miami II.
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Carlos Delgado. Miami II.

Carlos Delgado. Art Rouge Gallery. Miami. II

(Continuation of the section ‘Carlos Delgado. Art Rouge Gallery. Miami. I’)

As the reader will have been able to notice, I’ve been affirming a change before it comes to pass. One hypothesis that is, I admit, the excuse for conceptual analysis that wants to substitute the unique order of representation with an argument that has been latent up to now in Ciria’s recent work. Contrary to the immobile elasticity of a viewer used to visually dominating a world categorized and objectified in the pictorial support, the artist suggests a gaze that puts the singular in flux and opens up new relationships that raise questions about the temporal problematic of pictorial representation. Ciria finds himself once again at a point of crisis, at a formal and conceptual limit, that wants to inhabit the erosiveness of the time of matter through a support that vibrates at the encounter with our libidinal drive, with that gaze that calls forth the petrifying Medusa(42) but which irremediably goes the way of the mutable and perishable as a result of the experience of its fragility. It was Freud who analyzed that last phenomenon when he stated that the value of the perishable brings with it the value of rareness in time, and that “the limited possibilities of enjoying it makes it all the more precious” so that, as he says immediately afterwards, “the judgment of how much perfection and beauty there is can be found in the importance it has for our perception; it doesn’t need to survive, as a consequence, it’s independent of its duration in time”(43).


As a composition, this painting is conditioned by its own contradiction, by the other painting that it has yet to be. The wound on its skin modifies the action of the painter as the only creator of the image, the incision, the tear, the perforation, as marks left by time, were some of the tools Tapies used to emulate the passage of time. Ciria inverts this strategy when he works on the panels of insulation. If Tapies used those resources with an evocative instead of compositional approach, “as if they were natural, without making their artificiality explicit”(44) Ciria allows tension between the natural accident and painterly conception to be the origin and justification for new interventions, the multiplication of wounds and the total destruction of the pictorial image, to fullness through annihilation.


“Box of Mental States”: Drawings by Ciria


“I then slept – and upon awaking, I must have returned upon my steps
– thus supposing the circuit nearly double what it actually was”


Edgar Allan Poe, The Pit and the Pendulum.


In contrast to the quotidian body understood as a sleeping entity(45), you can only oppose wakefulness, “capable of getting an alert body, a body in constant tension and ‘discomfort’ that suspends the voracious expansion of the ruling ideological system”(46) Ciria’s most recent work comes out of a long ascendancy, of explorations that have gone through one stage after another. I have suggested, as the first level of thematic-referential reading, the unveiling of a series of formulations directed at the questioning or negation of the quotidianness of the body. The mystery of this metamorphosis has been incarnated in a second formal-conceptual level that has arisen out of drawing as the means of recounting, exploration and experimentation.


Iconographic metamorphosis, as well as the idea of combinatory possibility, seem to have picked up a lot of speed since the beginning of Ciria’s New York period. This is true in two ways, firstly; the geographic change has permitted the affirmation of a definitive stylistic shift, initially materialized through a very specific assertion, “I didn’t want to go back to making paintings like the gestural abstraction before New York”(47). And secondly, professional commitments that have been the cause of frequent returns to his Madrid studio seem to have functioned as a point of inflection when it came to taking up work again in New York, “I’ve come up with a lot of ideas on my trips between the two cities. In one atmosphere, in Manhattan, it seemed more relaxed, free, and without pressure than ever”(48).


In our conversations about the implications of those trips, Ciria has insisted on the evolutionary dimension that they have always brought about. Going back to New York after a period of work in Madrid means looking at the paintings that were left the studio in La Guardia Place in a detached way, as if they weren’t mine and I needed to respond to them in some definitive way. I can’t start working on them again, because there’s no correspondence with their new creative state which is what sets off the desire to go in one direction or another, closed up in a schizophrenic succession of mental states where time and memory act revulsively. It’s not surprising that his sketchbook, a privileged witness through recent years of the artist’s shifts, processes and experimentations, has been given precisely the name “Caja de estados mentales” (Box of Mental States) by the artist.


I want to proceed with caution on this point, because all of Ciria’s New York series negate as much as they confirm the previous ones. The drive behind his work in recent years has displayed the energy generated by the dynamic of these two cities which the artist himself understands as two opposite poles. Nevertheless, just as we’ve been able to see, there is an uneasy harmony that ties together all the states of his latest development, a topography that the artist seems to materialize unconsciously, even when he tries to deny the terrain that’s already been explored. In this sense, Ciria’s future is still inscribed in that circular structure that ties him to a constant conflict between the appropriate and the inappropriate, to an unconscious longing to always paint, as the artist himself has admitted, the same painting.


Ciria’s drawings move back and forth. On one side, as part of a sketchbook focused on the graphic resolution of various unpremeditated ideas, and on the other, as a tool to test or analyze the formal possibilities and the conceptual model of any given pictorial project. So, despite being made based on a structure determined by the ellipse and, later on, by more complex linear organizations, we can’t articulate a strict order to the evolution of his analyses. The iconographic network that provides support for the whole is also what accentuates the fluidity of ideas and new compositional relationships. The number of recurrences that contain the whole of the notebook produces “a reserve of possibilities that are integrated into the draughtsman’s memory as possible filters that articulate new closures in meaning”(49). Thoughts and obsessions that appear and reappear melted down, expressing compulsive visions, rhythmic variations and expressive twists. A collection of ideas with a common origin, manifesting itself through the reflection of the particular dynamic of each moment of the creative act.


The Ellipse and the Mask


In the legend of the origin of drawing, according to Pliny the Elder’s account, graphical representation is attributed to the absence or invisibility of the model. The daughter of Butades the potter of Sicyon circumscribes within a few lines the shadow cast by the face of her lover who is about to leave. While she was doing this she didn’t see her lover, “as if in order to draw -writes Derrida- seeing were prohibited, as if one only drew on the condition of not seeing, as if the drawing were a declaration of love destined and ordered by the invisibility of the other, at least if that doesn’t arise from seeing the other outside of the gaze”(50). At the same time she’s drawing the line on the wall, the potter’s daughter sends her lover away. According to Derrida’s terms, between the visible and the line of the drawing there is more than merely a separation, there is an “abyss”. The invention of the line is not regulated by what is visible in the present. That which the drawing brings forth cannot be mimetic. Taking this thesis further, Derrida will end up stating that that same thing which is eventually to be imitated, to restore or to return, is found, invariably, in invisibility.


If drawing the body is to “depict it as lost”(51), the image of the mask shows us a new pillaging of identity and it culminates in the absence of a subject. A peculiar symbolic tale we’ve been telling in these pages, where the body analyzed by Ciria has affirmed its Being by constructing its retreat, it has progressively revealed itself to be ossified, separated, open, dissipated, and finally, blown up into masks. His drawings, gathered together in a sketchbook the artist calls a “Caja de estados mentales” (Box of Mental States), suggest a new degree of dispossession by revealing the skeleton of its structure, the last level that links form with tangible existence. Color provided the “Schandenmaske” paintings with a skin; its contrasts saturated the surface of the mask and, through that, our gaze. But, the drawings take a different tack; the monochromatic graphism that compartmentalizes the interior of the mask reveals itself to be the last armature that causes us to recognize it as such.


But, perhaps we should ask ourselves if the artist himself, while making those drawings, had progressively stopped understanding them as masks to concentrate on the pure syntax of formal concerns. That wouldn’t be surprising from an artist who defends the impossibility of a work of art having one unique meaning(52) and whose interests have, fundamentally, been oriented towards visual construction by means of the combinatory of conceptual units. In fact, the elliptical profile that’s repeated throughout his drawings, with infinite variations inscribed within it, is configured as a recurring module. We shall soon see, rather than a succession of masks, the emblem of a unique matrix upon which multiple organizational variations have been experimented with.


Repetition has a positive and creative function in Ciria’s work, a notion derived from Deleuze’s investigation of the distinction between the repetition of identity and the repetition of difference, the repetition of the same or the repetition of the new, active repetition and passive or reactive repetition(53). An initial matrix, upon appearing once more in another piece, does not preserve what it negates; rather it affirms what it changes, its novelty, which is always essentially semantic. And in order for repetition to not deplete itself, “must be accompanied by the game of creativity which adds something new to repetition”(54).


But, this interest in modularity is nothing new in Ciria’s work. I’ve previously mentioned that one of the consequences of examining the redemption of drawing as a structural base for the “La Guardia Place” paintings was the organization of part of his experimentations in repetition into a catalog of specific forms(55) the use of minimum specific iterative units whose variability was stimulated through color, compositional layout and their relationship to the ground.


Parallel to this exploration within “La Guardia Place”, and thus also preceding the beginning of the “Schandenmaske” series of paintings(56), Ciria began making a series of drawings in which he simplified the complexity of the matrix in order to at last make it into a simple oval. Within this structure the artist suggests various graphical codes that respond to meditated adjustments in the compositional assemblage and which, other than a few exceptions, are not repeated in the chromatic solutions of the “Schandenmaske”. In fact, we should judge these drawings relatively autonomously in respect to the series of paintings, although they may seem to be the spark that sets them off, they are not used as preparatory models or sketches. In contrast to the exultant chromatic dimension of the “Schandenmaske”, always mediated by chance, the artist understands drawing as a fluid system that produces its own internal rules. They are linear, free of ornamental rhetoric, precise, and full of complexity and retained intensity.


Taking drawing to be a laboratory of ideas and not just a preparatory scaffolding is a notion that became deeply rooted during modernism. A substrate so powerful that it would even come to be erased in order to discover nothingness as the common ground. That is what happened in 1953, when Rauschenberg asked Willem de Kooning to give him a drawing with the intention of making it disappear through a meticulous erasing process. Two marks (the one that was there and which we don’t see, the one that’s there now and we can barely perceive) as “the choreography of desire and a forgotten memory”(57). Emptying in order to create was also the strategy Malevich had engaged in in his square, a zero degree of form “understood in the same way that Roland Barthes understood the zero degree of writing”(58). In fact, the idea of a black Suprematist square had its genesis in a drawing made for a set design for the opera Victory over the Sun. The Ukrainian artist would affirm that, “That drawing will be of great importance for painting. What’s been made unconsciously will now bear extraordinary fruits”.


Drawing, insofar as it is an operative language opposed to the multiplicity of the real, lets us make some cognitive hypotheses that are summarized in the graphical construction of the image. At the same time, it highlights the indeterminacy of matter as much as the discontinuous and essential qualities of the object. According to Lacan, the essential, insofar as it refers to the make up of an object, a derivation of the recognition of the absolute Other, and thus “in the tension between the suppressed and that which substitutes it, that new dimension occurs which so visibly introduces poetic improvisation”(59) is a new order of symbolic relation with the world. Drawing as a linear demarcation does not transcribe a body but rather it leaves its mark, and because of that, it belongs to that strangest class of things, “that hardly have a presence; if it does, it’s sound, it borders on silence; if it’s words, it borders on muteness; the presence of such purity, it borders on absence; if it’s the class of being on the edge of not-being”(60).


In his drawings Ciria is seeking an immediate efflorescence of intuition and, concurrently, he is pursuing one image that he constantly and obsessively comes back to, the mask, putting it through a constant process of disarticulation and re-articulation. But, in order to make his drawing that figure, he opens up voids that define the interior reality of the figure, as if he wanted to negate their use for concealment and could only reveal their linear relationship to space. As opposed to his paintings that have a similar subject, Ciria takes on the specificity of the linear structure with all its implications, including the most extreme one, which is introducing nothingness(61) Graphic materialization has the effect of revealing the purity of forms out of the tension between two opposites, the white of the paper and the black of the drawing(62) a strange friction that makes matter invisible as much as it reveals the vitality of form.


Last Drawings: the integration of the void


In the “Box of Mental States” sketchbook, each new approach to linear compartmentalization is a “field of forces” that feeds off of its predecessors. Ciria’s graphical language produces masks with the dimension of depth subtracted from them and onto which drawing has been tattooed, where concealing and showing are mutually contradicted. In these drawings the skin of the ellipse shows its strangeness as a sign before decomposing and letting itself be invaded by the corrosive breath of the void, an operation that has its experimental materialization in the last eight drawings that make up the body of work. In these pieces, the artist quickens the rhythm of his marks and breaks the uniqueness of the contour line, “as if the mask opened up in three ‘disjointed’ planes, leaving voids, big holes or cavities in the evolution of the ‘silhouette’. It was as if, suddenly, the masks needed a transversal reading for unraveling their mysteries. A new creative system that explored the “voids”, antithetically opposed to the initial formal approach of the drawings. One word fell like an axe inside my head; “De-occupation”(63).


His growing interest in destabilizing the logic of the elliptical module would lead him to begin his drawings with different priorities, through incessant relational coupling drawing from the dialog between form and void, where the latter now takes on an active role. The new images come out of that necessity for form to have a rational will that revolves around the idea of finding a new nucleus based on the varied connection of the parts. For this process, the artist found recourse in the term de-occupation that, of course, immediately made me think about Jorge Oteiza, “with whom I shared”, said Ciria, “aside from some common interests and priceless conversations, an exquisite photograph taken in Zumaia a couple of years before he passed away. I remembered his ‘Experimental Proposition’, his mysticism, his eagerness for transcendence, his tumultuous scandals, and the scarce recognition of the importance of his work. I asked myself if perhaps I didn’t relentlessly try to provide my work with a basis in methodical and analytical activity and if what I’ve always been looking for wasn’t to reach higher levels of knowledge and deepen my analysis of pictorial space”(64).


The idea of fighting in favor of space already appears in a rough form in this statement, and because of this the artist will stress the value of line, the traditional representation of the limit of the body, in relation to that which surpasses its definition as such. This process of attaining intimate knowledge of matter through the void had marked Oteiza’s career as a sculpture. Oteiza achieved the conclusive void of his Metaphysical boxes where matter materializes itself as de-occupation. This space of non-place would constitute the evasion of tangible sculptural mass. In this way, as Pedro Manterola has indicated, “The Metaphysical boxes are not, as they seem at first glance, sculpture made with sheets of metal, but rather a box-place where the sculpture −empty space− resides”(65). As opposed to the vital space of Heiddeger’s philosophy or space shaped by Chillida, both territories are intended for life, to be inhabited. Oteiza’s space is uninhabitable, and thus sacred, like the Parthenon and the Cromlech also were(66).


Oteiza limited sculptural space through the spatial use of what he himself referred to as “Malevichean Unity”, a small dynamic, unstable and floating surface. In the free and pure formality of Suprematism the sculptor found the possibility of a light modular form, lacking emotional-expressive connotations, and which could be translated into three dimensions. In other words, his “de-occupied” abstract sculptural work would be exercises in the activation of three dimensional space in a way similar to what Malevich’s paintings had done with pictorial space.


In an audacious conceptual reconversion, Ciria’s latest drawings are an attempt to translate that activation of space through the graphism of drawing and by giving them a reductive formal quality. It’s not a question then of a return to the origin, to Malevich. The recent comments on drawing that Ciria’s work raises are closer to the dynamism of Oteiza than to linear space, where the forms rotate, limiting the void, deformed into concave planes intercepting each other; a strategy the Basque artist developed principally in his de-occupations of the cylinder and the sphere, as well as in his emblematic Homage to Malevich from 1957, where the curve is what physically forms the sculpture.


This dynamic tension between being and nothingness is, in Ciria’s last eight drawings, a tool for gaining knowledge about perception as an interpretative process. The information from a visual motif is so great that “the nervous system would not be able to interpret it if there were no process of abstraction that could reduce it into manageable quantities. Perception is, therefore, a hierarchical process of interpretation”(67). This implies, on one hand, the elimination of certain information structures in favor of others, where the formal and semantic dynamic are reorganized to generate a hermeneutic explanation in the viewer which, even if it is not the only route that presents itself to someone who wants to approach a work of art it, “implies an effective relationship between the interpreter and the work”(68). In this point, Ciria intends to invite atonement for the mask, using drawing as an instrument the makes spatial perception into an experience. Form and negative space enter into the illusion of a flat and mobile continuity, idealistically two dimensional, and congruent with what we normally understand as abstract or completely aniconic form. The formal approach Ciria takes in these last eight drawings shows signs that articulate pictorial rhythms but lack specific references. What determines the meaning of these pieces is no longer the mask that originated them, but rather the compartmentalized spatial unfolding that, through its dialog between matter and space, clarifies the condition of its structure.


On the other hand, even if this series is inscribed in the same field of reflexive action, With Ciria, we don’t find the strict notion of experiential sequence that Oteiza had advocated, and neither does he codify his work through the radical distillation of the Malevichean pictorial signifier. In this regard, the de-occupation drawings acquire a notable distance in regard to the various stylistic orientations he dialogs with, which is doubtlessly an affirmation of the interest of his work. Derrida observed that to inherit is to choose(69). Ciria takes on this idea with lucidity, in that he starts from an examination of artistic practices through the consciousness of his own discourse. Along these lines, in his most recent series, brought together under the clarifying epigraph “De-occupations”, the artist articulates the painting using the defining parameters of form that we have just analyzed but introduces the sensual element of color, which didn’t interest Oteiza in the least, or which Malevich supplanted in favor of black and white as being the forms of authentic Suprematism.




The order of being, its plausible transparency, had been broken in Ciria’s work, or even negated, and it reconstituted itself only to become a mask. But the tremulous contour of the oval, the last pretext of metaphor, the disguise, would soon become a ruin. In his “De-occupations” series the mask refuses to close itself; on the contrary it spreads itself out, like something imaginary. But the grammar the image is structured with, the impeccable dynamic order of composition that comes from his drawings, only serves to intensify the desire to ensure metamorphosis. It’s not a cartography, like the one in the Borges story(70) consumed by its own destiny, rather it’s submitted to a process of rigorously articulated distortion.


The artist defines this new series with the dialog of the ellipse as a referential structure with space as an active void, for which the figure is divided in two directions, emptiness or matter, that are kept in a constant close friction. Intersections as well as disarray allow for a hyperbaton that reconfigures and disfigures the idea that motivated it, whose originary essence disappears. So, contrary to the laws of measurability −the line − that set apart his latest drawings, the qualitative − color− is the element that dictates expressiveness and the articulation of these paintings. Like makeup on top of form, the chromatic surface conceals the clean essence of the de-occupation of his drawings.


Once the structure of the mask has been deconstructed, we might think that the artist wants to reveal an underlying image, to bring to the surface an identity concealed by the veil that has now been partially lifted. Nevertheless, there is no identity revealed between the cracks that affirm the functional purpose of the mask, all we can affirm is the certainty of its deterioration as such. And this happens because what the artist has been seeking since beginning the “Schandenmaske” has been to go deeper into the essential truth of the mask, in the direction described by Barthes, where the principal instrument for its operation is the passage of time, “Let’s take an object we normally use. What exposes its essence most effectively is not its new, unused state, rather it’s the deformed, somewhat used, dirty or abandoned state. It’s in its remains where the truth of things can be read”(71) In these paintings there is a desire to accelerate time and discover new structures for pictorial space, to overcome the static and reach the strange beauty of uncertainty. The essential oval has been put through a systematic process of regulation and interior compartmentalization so that, once the fundamental vertices of their formal possibilities have materialized, they traverse the gaze with their interiority and reconfigure it in relation to space.


Ciria’s combinatory thus inscribed new variables presented as conceptual binomials, matter-void, space-time, within an approach made risky by all the frictions generated in respect to the two dimensionality and specificity of pictorial practice. Berger would be the one to describe, in a beautiful text, that the static visual image negates time in itself, so “the singularity of the experience or looking at a painting many times – over a period of days or years- is that, in the midst of that flow, the image remains intact (…) the same pitcher always pouring the same milk, the same sea with the same waves that never break, the unchanging face and smile”(72).


The painting bids farewell to the eyes that made it to take its place with the ones of its new creator of meanings. From the original intention only the primary structure remains, unmoving, that which remains after a loss and constructs a pictorial image that will now be rebuilt. Autonomy is relativized while waiting for the arrival of a gaze, which nonetheless also implies the prospective dependence on a subject, an other one. Painting will be some sort of prophecy about what the viewer sees while looking, the scenario of an absence about which one can only speculate, “Some painters, when they reach a certain phase during working on a piece, tend to look at their paintings in a mirror. They then see the image reversed. When they’re asked why they do it, they answer that it lets them see the painting for the first time. What they see in the mirror is something similar to that moment in the future the painting is directed towards. The mirror lets them forget for a little while their present way of seeing as painters and take up something from the way of seeing of the painting’s future viewer”(73).


In Ciria’s most recent work, this hypothetical mirror will take on the properties of a dissection table that shows us the miniscule monstrosity of the mask, its nature of being opposed to the normal pristine state of matter. This poetic approach puts the concepts of memory and identity into doubt, the fundamental structures of the “I”. Primarily, “this is because it remembers having been; memory is the foundation of its identity, alongside the unity of the body and kinesthesia or the consciousness of having a body. Memory is also the model which perception and desire operate with, the model of the imaginary and the absent, or of the symbolic”(74). When representation has lost it referential uniqueness the pictorial image is configured as the essence of an emptiness. But Ciria doesn’t compose paintings based on a physical model that he contemplates or analyzes. Rather, he is guided by the marks that modulate the echoes of the subconscious. His painting is, certainly, a remembering, a performative act that assumes the inconsistencies of space and the inflections of time as abstractions susceptible to modulation.


Ciria’s approach to the creative act is sensitive and experimental. His high status in Spanish painting in recent decades is a reality that keeps being repeated in every new stage of his career, with his New York period having perhaps been the one that has consolidated the intensity of his work and the rigorousness of his evolution. He belongs, without a doubt, to that class of artists who replace complacency with occasional discoveries or merely intuitive curiosity with the search and invention of a lucid identity for the artistic act. The unmistakable personality present in all of his work doesn’t hide the fact that he is convinced that thought is always evolutionary, as the creative process must also be. And neither does he hide the importance of having sufficient knowledge and sufficiently reflecting upon the past. His staunch commitment to painting is the result of that double sided and contradictory consciousness.

1.KUSPIT, Donald. El fin del arte, Akal, Madrid, 2006, p. 149.


  1. NEGRO, Álvaro. “El fin del fin de la pintura”. Skyshot. La pintura después de la pintura. Auditorio de Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, 2005, p. 135.


  1. KRAUSS. R. «Sculpture in the expanded field». La originalidad de la vanguardia y otros mitos modernos. Alianza, Madrid, 1996, pp.289-303.


4.In the sense of embattled on multiple fronts, it’s lost its capacity for being original. Novelty as a criterion of judgment can turn out to be as limiting as it is reactionary. As Donald Kuspit pointed out, “What’s already been done and seems to be dead can come back to life if there’s a human need for it”. KUSPIT, D. Op. cit, p. 147.


5.LAWSON, Thomas. “Última salida: la pintura”. WALLIS, Bian (ed.), Arte después de la modernidad. Nuevos planteamientos en torno a la representación. Akal, Madrid, 2001, p. 154.


6.BRAUDILLARD, Jean. “Ilusión y desilusión estética”. Letra internacional, Madrid, no. 39 1995, p. 17.


  1. CASTRO FLÓREZ, Fernando. “Estuans interius. Comentarios superpuestos a la pintura de Ciria”. Manifiesto / Carmina Burana. Galería Salvador Díaz, Madrid, October 1998.


8.BERGER, John. Algunos pasos hacia una pequeña teoría de lo visible. Ardora, Madrid, 1997, p. 39.


9.GARCÍA BERRIO, A. and REPLINGER, M. José Manuel Ciria: A.D.A. Una retórica de la abstracción contemporánea. Tf. Editores, Madrid, 1998, p. 67


  1. FOSTER, H. “Asunto: Post”, en WALLIS, Bian (ed.) Arte después de la modernidad. Nuevos planteamientos en torno a la representación. Akal, Madrid, 2001, p. 190


11.“The examination of Ciria’s avant-garde roots moved away from seeking direct references, from appropriation as a masochistic exercise, towards looking at a more evocative field of analysis like making the vulnerability hidden in the interior of the rigid idealized formalist systems visible and evident. GARCÍA BERRIO, A. and REPLINGER, M. Op. cit, p. 237


12.An exclusion that seems to be abating: The thirty-eighth Art Basel (2007) was host to a surprising amount of pictorial work, in direct relation to what was seen at the Venice and Kassel events that same year.


13.In regard to this see chapter 5 of TORTOSA GARRIGÓS, Virgilio. La construcción del “individualismo” en la literatura de fin de siglo. Historia y autobiografía. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Valencia. 1999.


14.MARTÍNEZ-ARTERO, Rosa. El retrato. Del sujeto en el retrato. Montesinos, Barcelona, 2004, p. 254.


15.ECHEVERRI, Ana María. “Arte y cuerpo”. La Tempestad, México, March-April, 2003.


16.But always conscious of the impossibility of translating without changing the meaning. That heterogeneity is evident in Des tours de Babel (1985) by Jacques Derrida, where the author states that the translation has no original, and thus there is no translation without some untranslatable remains, which means that every translation inherently gains and loses something.


17.ROSENBERG, Harold. “The American Action Painters”, Art News, LI, nº 8, December, 1952, p. 22. Taken from SANDLER, Irvin. El triunfo de la pintura norteamericana. Historia del expresionismo abstracto. Alianza, Madrid, 1996, p.283.


18.LÉVI-STRAUSS, C. Lo crudo y lo cocido. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 1968, p. 332.


19.CIRIA, J.M. “Retazos (El miedo al rojo de las bestias)”, previously unpublished text found in ABAD, Vidal. Pintura sin héroe. Op. cit., p. 260.


20.Statement by José Manuel Ciria printed in SOLANA, Guillermo: “Salpicando la tela del agua”, in Squares from 79 Richmond Grove, MAE and SEACEX, Madrid, 2004, p. 39.


21.VALÉRY, Paul. Œuvres. Gallimard, París, 1957, pp. 927-31.


22.REPLINGER, Mercedes. “El pintor en Nueva York”. Búsquedas en Nueva York. Ediciones Roberto Ferrer, Madrid, 2007, p. 31.


23.“The idea of an «I» endowed with a finite and stable form has been gradually eroded, echoing influential developments of the twentieth century in the fields of psychoanalysis, philosophy, anthropology, medicine and science. Artists have investigated temporality, contingency and instability as inherent human qualities”. WARR, Tracy. “Preface”, in WARR, T. (ed.) The artist’s body. London, Phaidon Press, 2000, p. 11.


24.MARIO PERNIOLA. “El cuarto cuerpo”, in CRUZ SÁNZHEZ, Pedro A., and HERNÁNDEZ-NAVARRO, Miguel Á., (ed.), Cartografías del cuerpo. La dimensión corporal en el arte contemporáneo. CendeaC, Murcia, 2004, p. 110.


25.PÉREZ VILLÉN, Ángel L. “Tutelar la mirada, velar la visión”, in Máscaras. Camuflaje y exhibición. Córdoba, Palacio de la Merced, November 2003 – January 2004.


26.DE DIEGO, Estrella. El andrógino sexuado. Eternos ideales, nuevas estrategias de género. Madrid, Visor, 1999, p. 15.


27.The name of a Swiss psychologist whose research was oriented towards the diagnosis of his patient’s neurosis using the specific interpretations they made of certain «abstract» stains.


28.ABAD VIDAL, Julio C. “Pinturas construidas y figuras en construcción”. Ciria. Pinturas construidas y figuras en construcción. Sala de exposiciones de la Iglesia de San Esteban, Murcia, 2007, p. 42.


29.In 1996 Ciria wrote down his own definition of the concept of the mask, «The concept of the ‘Mask’ is translated into a triangle that multiplies itself into a polyhedron, from reason to intentionality, to the objective result and the posterior personal interpretation. But not just the creative act in itself, but the triple referentiality dwelling inside of us, in the artist, his work and in the viewer them self. We are what we are, and also what we’re not, what we think we are and what everyone else thinks of us. Because whenever a painter leaves the product of a stain on a canvas, it’s impossible for him to foresee and count the personal, emotional, or aesthetic associations which that gesture might be able to create in any given viewer. The disguise, concealment, the confusion between masking and unmasking, pain…, makes possible an ongoing game, unavoidably, we can see right away how the mask conceals or reveals and through that, its structure, becoming taut and loose, makes its own language. It’s a position from which each language legitimates itself, in which ultimately the viewer is implied. CIRIA, José Manuel. “El tiempo detenido de Ucello y Giotto, y una mezcla de ideas para hablar de automatismo en Roma”, in José Manuel Ciria. El tiempo detenido. TF, Madrid, 1996, p. 27


30.DE DIEGO, Estrella. Op. cit, p. 16.


31.KUSPIT, Donald. Op. cit, p. 147.


32.“José Manuel Ciria en conversación con Rosa Pereda. El pintor en Monfragüe”. Ciria. Monfragüe. Emblemas abstractos sobre el paisaje. MEIAC, Badajoz, 2000, p. 65.


33.“While the Old Masters created the illusion of space within which you could imagine yourself walking, the illusion created by the Modernist is of a space into which you can see and which you can only travel through with the eye.» GREENBERG, C. “La pintura modernista”, taken from FRIED, M. Arte y objetualidad. Ensayos y reseñas. A. Machado, Madrid, 2004, p.41


34.“The purity of mediums had stopped being a critical imperative”. DANTO, C. (A)rthur “Lo puro, lo impuro y lo no puro. La pintura tras la modernidad», Nuevas abstracciones, Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 1996, p. 19.


35.MITCHELL, W.J.T. “No existen medios visuales”. BREA, José Luis (ed.) Estudios visuales. La epistemología de la visualidad en la era de la globalización. Akal, Madrid, 2005, pp. 18-25.


36.CIRIA, José Manuel. The Absent Hand Unpublished text


37.OZAL, Valeriano. Pintura y escultura españolas del siglo XX (1939-1990). Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1992, pp. 418-419


  1. Ibídem.


  1. Ibídem.


40.KUSPIT, D. Signos de psique en el arte moderno y posmoderno. Akal, Madrid, 2003, p. 257.


41.DELEUZE, Gilles. Lógica del sentido. Paidós, Barcelona, 1989, p. 26.


42.The severed head of Medusa could well symbolize the triumph over the metaphysics of representation, as it defeats the gaze that fixes the contingent and dynamic in an image”. ÚBEDA FERNÁNDEZ, Mª Elena. The gaze overwhelmed: the thickness of the aesthetic subject’s experience in the context of the crisis of the scopic regime. Unpublished doctoral thesis Granada, 2005, Universidad de Granada, p. 267.


43.FREUD, S. “Lo perecedero” en Obras completas. Ed. Biblioteca Nueva, Madrid, 1981.


44.BOZAL, Valeriano. Op. cit,, p. 284.


45.For quotidian it should be understood that «which turns the body into a sleeping entity, submitted to a homogeonizing discourse that instrumentalizes it, until it turns it into a medium, with no other function besides being an outlet for the expansion of the dominating value system”. CRUZ SÁNCHEZ, Pedro A. and HERNÁNDEZ-NAVARRO, Miguel A. “Cartografías del cuerpo (propuestas para una sistematizacion)”. SÁNZHEZ, Pedro A., and HERNÁNDEZ-NAVARRO, Miguel Á., (ed.) Op. cit, p. 19.




47.CIRIA, José Manuel. “Volver”. Búsquedas en Nueva York. Ediciones Roberto Ferrer, Madrid, 2007, pp. 44- 45.




49.GÓMEZ MOLINA, Juan José (coord.) Estrategias del dibujo en el arte contemporáneo. Cátedra, Madrid, 2006, p. 47.


50.DERRIDA, J. Mémoires d’aveugle. L´autoportrait et autres ruines, Paris, Louvre/Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1990. p. 54.


51.WAJEMAN, Gerard. “Narciso o El fantasma de la pintura”, in Arte y Fantasma, Chapvallon, Paris, 1984, pp. 107-126


52.»There is nothing even like a literal meaning, if by meaning one understands a clear, transparent concept regardless of the context or what’s in the mind of the artist or the viewer; a meaning that could act as a limit to interpretation by being outside of interpretation a signified outside of signification. Interpretation doesn’t exist without the work of Art and never yields results, except for purely analytical ones» Statement by the artist printed in TOWERDAWN, Joseph. “Plástica y semántica (Conversaciones con José Manuel Ciria)”. Quis custodiet pisos custodes. Galería Salvador Díaz, Madrid, 2000, p. 43.


53.DELEUZE, G. Nietzsche et la philosophie, PUF, París, 1967


54.MALPARTIDA, D. “El placer de la repetición”, in Revista de Actualidad Psicológica, XV, Buenos Aires, July, 2003.


55.DELGADO, Carlos. “Repetición y descubrimiento. Nuevas perspectivas sobre la obra última de Ciria”. Rare paintings, post-géneros y Dr. Zaius. Fundación Carlos de Amberes, Madrid, 2008, pp. 177-179.


56.“Since late 2006, a sketch book and a little box of 6B and 8B graphite sticks had traveled with me. In this «travel notebook» which had been called a BOX OF MENTAL STATES since the beginning on page after page I’d been giving form to mask contours just for fun, long before the Schandenmaske masks saw to light. Maybe inside of us there is a premonition dwelling, intimation, a rudimentary kind of hunch about something that might happen at a later date, independently of the muses, or quite probably directly caused by them. CIRIA, José Manuel. The Absent Hand.


57.REPLINGER, Mercedes. “Elogio del color”. Arte, individuo y sociedad, no. 3, 1990, p. 145.


58.HERNÁNDEZ NAVARRO, M. Ángel. La so(m)bra de lo real: El arte como vomitorio. Diputación de Valencia, 2006, p. 81.


59.LACAN, Jacques. “Ensayo de una lógica de caucho”. El Seminario 4. La Relación de Objeto. Paidós, Buenos Aires, 1994, p. 380.


60.ZAMBRANO, María. “Amor y muerte en los dibujos de Picasso”. España, sueño y verdad. Siruela, Madrid, 1994, p. 185.


61.“In drawing, the work consists of putting in nothingness for every certainty that the innocent act of scratching with something that makes darkness -a stain, a crayon, a pencil- on the ground plane of light intends to introduce. A way of dealing with the nothingness making up objects, to express the unknown in which vision moves, to strip away habit”. RAMOS, Miguel Ángel. “Quizá la distancia sea la duda”. GÓMEZ MOLINA, Juan José (coord.) Op. cit, p. 304.


62.“Black and white are different in that they are considered to be opposites, while it’s only in technical terminology that orange and blue are believed to be complementary colors”. BATCHELOR, David. Cromofobia. Síntesis, Madrid, 2001, p. 105.


63.CIRIA, José Manuel. The Absent Hand.




65.MANTEROLA, Pedro. “Cinco pasos en torno a la Pasión de Jorge Oteiza”. Oteiza-Moneo. Catálogo de la exposición en el Pabellón de Navarra de la Exposición Universal de Sevilla, Pamplona, 1992, p. 23.


66.According to what Oteiza wrote, “… the Parthenon is nothing more than a sacred void symbolic of our Cromlech, but expressed figuratively. The peripteros, the rectangular columned enclosure, corresponds to our empty circle described by a circle of stones. A temple is constructed in its interior for the representation of the sacred that logically, doesn’t have any practical use. Insofar as the appearance of the symbol of the Parthenon in the Acropolis in Athens, a parthenon was built in every acropolis in every Greek city. The same as what happened in the Neolithic age with the representation of the Cromlech”. AA.VV. Oteiza. Propósito experimental. Madrid, Fundación Caja de Pensiones, 1988.


  1. JENSEN P., Henning. “Turbulencia epistemológica y transformación del pensamiento”. Revista Reflexiones. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de Costa Rica, no. 12, April, 1993.


68.AUMONT, Jacques. La estética hoy. Cátedra, Madrid, 2001, p. 302.


69.DERRIDA, Jacques. Spectres de Marx. Galilée, Paris, 1987.


  1. In 1954 Jorge Luis Borges published the second edition of The Universal History of Infamy in Buenos Aires, a book of short stories in which a text attributed to one Suárez Miranda appears with the title (On the Exactitude of Science), “Viajes de Varones Prudentes, libro cuarto, cap. XIV, Lérida, 1658” in which he narrates the absurdity of wanting to create a duplicate of reality. “In that empire, the Art of Cartography had attained such perfection that the map of just one province was the size of a city, and the map of the empire took up an entire province. As time went on, The College of Cartographers, becoming dissatisfied with these unwieldy maps, decided to make a map the empire having the size of the empire and coinciding with it point by point. Less addicted to the study of cartography, later generations understood the uselessness of such an extensive map and not without pity abandoned it to the harshness of the sun and the winters. In the deserts of the west some tattered ruins of the map remained, inhabited by animals and beggars, and in the entire country there is no other relic of any geographical discipline”.


71.BARTHES, Roland. Lo obvio y lo obtuso. Paidós, Barcelona, 1986, pp. 183-184.


  1. BERGER, John. El sentido de la vista. Alianza, p. 193


  1. Ibídem, p. 194.


74. MATAMORO, Blas. Por el camino de Proust. Anthropos, Barcelona, 1988, p. 245.