Carlos Delgado. Orense II. 2010 En
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Carlos Delgado. Orense II. 2010 En

Carlos Delgado. Palacio Simeon. Orense. II

(Continuation of «Carlos Delgado. Palacio Simeon. Orense. I»)



The modular experimental nucleus that clearly formed the basis for the “Schandenmaske” series, gives way in the “Doodles” series to an iconographic freedom that does not adhere to any authoritarian order. Furthermore, a new kind of figure appears here that is similar to the idea of children’s stick men that Ciria had already partially developed in the Divertimentos Appeleanos (Appelian Diversions) series of 2006 that are an energetic mix of the Cobra temperature and the naiveté of Miró and that materialize into «stridently colored petrified feeling dolls with frizzy hair and eyes popping out of their heads that are not intended to be either barbaric or show any kind of angry expression, but rather to recover the tradition of reflecting upon painting within painting”(28). So, while those paintings ironically remind us of kindergarten finger painting as one possible avenue for artistic renewal , in the paintings we are now discussing the connotations of playful and technical innovation have disappeared.


Perhaps the freshest and most Miró-like of all the Apellian Diversions, El orejas saludando (Big Ears Says Hi) from 2006, exhibits a broad and garish chromatic repertoire, presents numerous simplifications and physiognomic malformations and, especially, brings to the fore a sagacious understanding of the aesthetic modes associated with children’s creativity, which has not yet been stifled by tradition, training and artistic experimentation. In the painting titled Doodle (2008), the body is an outlandish broken apparatus, a personage with an oversized oval-shaped head and whose other limbs are synthesized. But those kinds of distortions, which seem to hark back at the dislocations of Art Brut, now contrast with the painting’s refinement. Once again, Ciria presents a mixture of temperatures that intends to avoid being boxed into a single unifying discourse. The banal and naive aspect of the icon seems to be disconnected from the rigorousness of the visual construction, the rigorousness of the compositional organization and the bold distribution of color. The result is a fascinating image with a hypnotic energy, where the muted violence of the fragmentary and deformed is superimposed onto the oppressiveness of the grid structure. This time, however, that superimposition is merely a deception. The flatness of the image and the confusion of planes that make up the “ground”, (the red rectangle, the grid and the gray field. What spatial hierarchy exists between them or in regards to the figure?), create confusion that is, in actuality, the fusion or interference of all the formal elements on a single plane. The possibility of dissecting the figure and ground relationship both visually and in terms of its meaning and legibility is another visual convention that Ciria is trying to eliminate in this considerable painting. Trapping this stick man full of life in a regulating structure is perverse, as it is perverse to violate the geometric rhythm by introducing a free form body spilling out. Perhaps, the space where these figures can become conscious of the space around them is in the open expanses of the garden.


For Ciria, the metaphor of the garden conceptualizes one of his favorite themes, at least in his paintings from the nineties and under his Deconstructive Automatic Abstraction system; we are referring to the techniques of controlled chance where the artist’s hand is no longer reflected metonymically through staining, but begin to impose their own limits. One of the many ways it is applied is determined by using the tarpaulins that had been used to cover the floor of his studio while he was making other paintings as a painting surface. At that point, chance emerges as an aleatory mechanism, as a residue that flows freely over a surface laid out on the floor, and becomes the starting point to be worked on further at a later time.


The tarpaulin, stepped on and stained by the echo of artistic activity, is recycled and valued because of its expressive immediacy but, more than that, it is valued because it exemplifies the essence of the found object that contains memory, in this case, one intimately linked to the artist himself. In this way, the archaic memory of rhythms forms, frequencies and flows, masses and colors, is the reflection of an impulse the painter finds it worthwhile to explore. Throughout Ciria’s entire career, Instinct and reason have both been present in a dialogue of varying intensity. The recent incorporation of these “chance elocutionary events”(29) already present, as we have seen, in some paintings from “La Guardia Place”, do not just deal with the memory of the support, but also the memory of the artist’s career.


Although in certain paintings, like Posible figura como trama roja (Possible figure as a red grid) Ciria places a rectangular web between the icon and the “garden”, there is typically a more direct relationship between the two registers. In Cabeza buque boca abajo (Tanker head upside down) (2008), the memory of the support has its own geometric echo that is now less formalist and inflected by the ideas of vanishing and trembling. On the other hand, the intense narrative charge implied by the title, as well as the centralized monumentality of the iconic form, bring to mind traditional figurative devices, but now, the inversion of the motif, which is placed upside down, perverts the principles of perception. The disappearance of normality, of the physically natural, casts doubt upon its essence as an iconographic theme and turns it into an abstract structure whose only function is to be an image. Like in the work of Baselitz, this effect causes the form to become dispossessed of its semantic register and makes it cease being a legible figure inscribed into a composition to decisively make it start being composition itself.


This reflection upon the formal problems of painting, the boundaries between abstraction and figuration and the intensity of an inversion is brilliantly materialized in Composición con crestas (Composition with crests) (2008), where the inventio (iconography) is already referred to in the title as pure dispositio (formal composition). In this way, the artist makes the conditioning narrative precept disappear and only directly refers to that which is inevitably recognizable, a crested profile with aggressive animal connotations.


The same totemic and primitive quality that has quietly but steadily made its way into the various phases that demarcate Ciria’s New York period achieves unexpected degrees of expressiveness in what is likely one of the most significant paintings of his most recent period: El ojo que llora ante la pintura (The eye that cries in front of painting) (2008). Once again the narrative component, with its newfound drama, takes initial precedence in our reading; the imposing presence of the figure, part dismembered doll and part savage monster, and not unlike certain compositions by Karel Appel, presents its suffering to the viewer. There is no longer inverted subversion, rather, we find an expressive frontality that seems to leave little room for ambiguity. Even though the figure is no longer descriptive, the logical presence of the black oval with a red mark flowing in three sinuous bands around it undeniably brings to mind the idea of weeping, of bleeding sorrow generated by the gaze. Is it painting that is crying why painting? It could be. Because what the painting represents, which displays continuity with the specificity of the medium, is technically and conceptually solid, but is far from being at the center of the map of the current biennialization and digitalization of the gaze that it imposes. Perhaps its only destiny is to become part of the kind of painting that “has abandoned almost everything: the canvas, the frame, the wall, the genres…”(30) denying its own condition, opting for a constant hybridization with other disciplines. The new painting that enriches itself by not being painting, that camouflages itself in contamination and distorts its specificity and submits to a new viewer who seems to have gone beyond the artifice of the scopic regime. Definitively, that kind of painting that attempts to embody and exemplify “an intoxicating feeling of finally being free”(31). But perhaps, from a less optimistic point of view, that kind of painting attempts to embody a new modality of future painting, that would be of the kind that could “bear witness to its own extinction”(32). A different painting, whose outcome can only be a misunderstanding or irresolvable paradox: a kind of painting that must distance itself from the categories that define it as such in order to survive. In a make-believe costume ball, that kind of painting opts to be exactly the opposite, the other, or the same but disguised; to be everything.




The progressive reconfiguration of Ciria’s painting reveals a relentless desire for evolution and an eagerness to develop a coherent defense of the permanence and relevance of the medium of painting beyond fashion, discreditation or boding of its death. For Ciria, it is possible to deconstruct the emblems of modern painting without altering the purity of painterly space, and it is this strong-willed attitude that has led him to be considered one of the most complex voices in contemporary Spanish painting. In fact, what the artist puts into play in his discourse is not an obstinate reticence towards hybridization or broadening the boundaries of the medium, (he has explored this territory with unusual lucidity in several series), but his desire to affirm the importance of painting through its practice within the complex field of contemporary art, and confirm its potential to continually explore new formal and conceptual spaces. His attitude implies going against the stream; it is an affirmation of painting, “obscured by a paralyzing theory of the avant-garde”(33), as opposed to becoming invisible. But more than anything, Ciria is trying to construct a kind of painting that confronts distracted perception and the trivialization of the image and destabilizes the passivity of the gaze, painting that can then become a focus for anxiety and questioning, and especially, for reflection. Through thick and thin, in times of positive recovery of the medium as much as when the end of painting as a viable form of expression is affirmed most vehemently, Ciria keeps finding new avenues for exploring painting.


“Aptitude. Intention. Exploration. Concept. Contribution.” In 1992, José Manuel Ciria put those five words, which came to define the complexity of his mature artistic production, on top of a rigorous black, white and red grid structure subtly wounded by flowing stains. In fact, he only decided to engage in an abstract discourse after having built a theoretical platform to back it up that would also simultaneously shield him from the possibility of banal mannerism. As a young painter he reached his first breakthrough around 1984 with his first group of paintings that had a degree of thematic homogeneity, which was titled “Autómatas” (Automatons). Those paintings displayed ossified anthropomorphic structures in which the specific features had been removed, leaving only an eroded interiority. The body, it turns out, was Ciria’s first experimental motif and he modulated it in subsequent series through expressionistic shreds. Subsequently, he would continue doing the same through the progressive deconstruction of the originary figure, as occurs in the series he began in 1989, “Hombres, manos, formas orgánicas y signos” (Men, Hands, Organic Forms and Signs). Finally disconnected from the language of objects, the beginning of the nineties coincided with his progressive consolidation of the abstract image, where geometry and the stain constituted the principal facets of his painterly exploration.


Geometry and the stain are the echo of a process of historic objectification that is immanent in both ways of understanding the abstraction that crystallized with Modernism, but which have a long history. Ciria’s project of restoring the generative principle of heroic Modernism could only manifest itself through the complex problematization inherent to painterly praxis in the nineties. Accordingly, Ciria became a prime example of a tendency permeating the turn of the century that is inscribed in a post-heroic and even post-minimal abstraction. However, what has really distinguished the originality and relevance of his work from the beginning has been the lucidity of a language that, backed up by a solid conceptual platform, was located at the margins of mannerist redefinition as much as ironic parody, lyrical melancholy or ornamental resolution.


The examination of this legacy we are alluding to seeks the immanence of two visual concepts (the gridded structure versus the unintentional irruption of the stain) that are tied together by the conclusions of the compositional combinatory. Admittedly, this piece of research does not define the totality of what is interesting about his paintings. But, how could we deny that in his work from the nineties the best and most innovative pieces were precisely the ones that pushed the dialectic possibilities of geometry and the stain to their limit? The uncombinability of the constituent elements of the former -oil, acid and water- and the multiple dictions it would impose upon the latter produced vastly different levels of expressive intensity that culminated in the “Manifiesto” (Manifesto) and the “Carmina Burana” series from 1998. And, getting the new century started off in full swing, the series “Compartimentaciones” (Compartmentalizations), 1999-2000, “Cabezas de Rorschach I” (Rorschach Heads I), 2000, “Glosa Líquida”, 2000-2003, “Dauphin Paintings”, 2001, “Venus geométrica” (Geometric Venus), 2002-2003, “Sueños construidos” (Constructed Dreams), 2000-2006, or “Horda geométrica” (Geometric Horde), 2005, were a confirmation of the full breadth of his artistic investigations.


As mentioned at the beginning of this text, the new period Ciria began in New York at the end of 2005 constituted a significant change of direction in his work that was guided by two essential ideas. The paintings became cooler as a result of the recovery of line as a compositional armature, and there was a subsequent iconographic stabilization aimed at stabilizing faceless hieratic bodies that are initially similar to Malevich’s paintings from the second half of the twenties. In trying to find a kind of degree zero from which to build a new line of investigation, Ciria returns, perhaps unconsciously, to a kind of image that reminds us of the ones in his first “Autómatas” (Automatons) series. During his next New York phase, the strict formalism imposed by drawing was freed from the iconography of the body, destructuring it and opening up new thematic dimensions. Once again, his development suggests a parallelism with what occurred early in his career. Many questions presented by the “Hombres, manos, formas orgánicas y signos” (Men, Hands, Organic Forms and Signs) series, which was a nexus for the transition into the aniconic painting of the nineties, once again became the object of analysis for Ciria in “La Guardia Place”.


This evocative circular discourse, where an initial idea attains greater depth when the artist returns to it at a later date, must not, however, obscure the radical newness of the work he has developed in New York. From this point of view, the reasons for an apparent return to formulas already examined at the beginning of his career need to be put in relation to a desire to bring a significant cycle of his artistic production to a close and consider a new direction for the future. If his first figurative experiences, bound by the contour line, were the impulse for his expressionistic abstraction of the nineties, the investigations into drawing he has carried out in recent years are likewise the seed for his most recent aniconic paintings where color is released from a linear structure, the stain regains its freedom and its volume expands once again. Nevertheless, the effect produced by his most recent paintings is even more expressive, gestural and dynamic than the aleatory staining of the nineties, which reached its pinnacle in the considerable “Máscaras de la mirada” (Masks of the Gaze) series. Conversely, the grid device also comes into a new state with a rigid, authoritative rigor that is absolutely decisive in the configuration of the image. The coolness and containment Ciria has brought to all the work he has produced in New York sets his work off down a tense path based in the radical opposition between both extremes.


The paintings that make up the “Memoria abstracta” (Abstract Memory) series illustrate the new levels the artist achieves in his examination of potential links between gesture and structure. In contrast to the broken staining of “Máscaras de la mirada” (Masks of the gaze), where the resistance between water and acid eroded the morphology, Ciria is now using staining to produce expanses of uninflected color that engage in a violent dialogue with the black. The syntax this produces possesses a frenzied internal energy that seems to be struggling to free itself from the strict geometric compartmentalization that structures its rhythm over the surface. That sort of dichotomy between the constrained seriality of the grid and the dynamic, suggestive power of gesture was a shrewd way to heighten the tensions between the compositional and expressive devices that he had been dissecting up to this point. But, what is certainly surprising is how he can start from the dialectic of modernity yet construct a body of work absolutely disconnected from traditional narratives of painting. The focus on intensity and drama in his latest compositions is not a disguise or veil that filters a previously explored idea. Despite the artist’s persistent claims that he inevitably ends up painting the same painting, it is clear that Ciria can constantly transform the skin of his paintings without having their unmistakable identity get lost.




The journey strung together by different stops that is advanced in this text does not really present a linear evolution without rectifications or interruptions. On the contrary, the artistic consequences of the work Ciria has produced during the time he has spent in New York are part of a dynamic discourse where the generic bases of his work sometimes overlap and are constantly re-situated. However, aside from the formal differences that identify and categorize all his series, his work has always shown a pronounced conceptual strain that organizes the progression of a painting based in a previous exploration of the formal components. Automatic Deconstructive Abstraction was a tool for constructing painting in the nineties, as was his insistence on a formal vocabulary dictated by the two great lines of the tradition of abstraction, geometry and gesture, which were re-examined and amplified in “Memoria Abstracta” (Abstract Memory), the recovery of line in “La Guardia Place” and “Doodles”, and finally, the culmination of his exploration of the module as an iterative structure that can generate semantic changes through internal structuration and the use of color in “Schandenmaske”.


These observations are useful for bringing to light the exceptional nature of “Cabezas de Rorschach III” (Rorschach Heads III) within Ciria’s body of work as a whole. In his most recent series he has opted for outright figurative painting, exempt from abstracting nuances that hinder a referential reading, but which is clearly far from naturalism. The most recent series consists of faces of larger-than-life size that become battle fields with counterpoints of light and chromatic distortions, powerful close-ups inciting a crude dialogue with the viewer. They are, at any rate, portraits, without any conceptual divagations or formal exploration other than what is produced out of the wish to turn painting into a fascinating pictorial event. This bold aesthetic strategy -distanced from the coldness of some of his riskier conceptual work- allows us to connect with the one who sees in a direct way through the use of our senses.


In the context of the referential iconography from Ciria’s New York period, the figure had been used as a stimulus for free interpretation that, even in the most figurative work, was oriented towards defining the essential features of the shape of an icon that had undergone various degrees of metamorphosis. After morphological appearance had disintegrated, and, along with it, the notion of the specific subject and its being in the world –in the words of Merleau-Ponty–, the figure lost the anchor of its identity. In paintings like Mujer extraña (Strange woman), Bañista, Nueva bañista de formas redondeadas, Contorsionista I (Bather, New bather with round forms, Contortionist I) or Contorsionista II, (Contortionist II), which are all part of the “La Guardia Place” series, the artist emphasized the metamorphosis that produced the near total loss of recognizability and the superimposition of the versatile forms on top of the static ones accompanied by a complex tension in the ambiguity of meaning. Clearly, Ciria’s explorations into the genre of figure/portrait painting were resolved through what Rosa Martínez-Artero has called –between interrogative signs– new constructions of the subject: “a feeling deeply rooted in contingency and fragility (the undefined), in opposition to the security given by naming (the hierarchizing structure of the «one»), that produces a subject – “I”, which is difficult to describe pictorially”(34). This difficulty emerged in the pseudo-figures of “La Guardia Place” because they were bodies interpenetrated by multiplicity, by dismemberment.


In “Cabezas de Rorschach III” (Rorschach Heads III), the difficulty does not revolve around seeing the portrait. The wide margins of iconicity between which figuration in contemporary painting is defined make it possible to continue talking about this genre even when the concept of likeness has been debunked. The use of line, volume, light, the handling of color with a scale of tones and saturation, are not refined in order to imitate a specific subject but rather to say something new about the artist’s identity as a painter. The subject of the portrait, when it is real, is not the owner of their image and barely finds a cartography to orient them along the path of their identity. But, the subject is also a mask whose identity has been projected beyond their own morphology to integrate a new I mediated by painting. In a sense, representing someone else’s body implicitly articulates the artist’s attitude towards their own body, and ultimately all their work becomes, in one way or another, a self portrait.


In a conversation, Ciria revealed two things linked to his recent personal experiences that might be what sparked his new series, “On one hand, the brain tumor my father had and his passing. And, on the other hand, my trip to Easter Island and encountering the Moai and the primitiveness of the Rapa Nui culture”. On one hand, symbolically these two events present the idea of the face/head as a synecdoche for a totality (the head as an emblem for a human I in sorrow and the head as an icon of a lost civilization, respectively). At the same time, both things can synthesize an image of the mortality-immortality binomial. A person lives and dies, it is a tiny point along the length of what it is to be human. Culture, creation and Art, on the contrary, are what make it possible for some part of a person to become immortal, to make their notch in history. The former is objectified, a face linked to a name, while the second one is a social face, a symbol, it is not, or does not want to be, anyone’s face


Over the last two years, Ciria has dedicated a number of tributes to his father using the symbol of the mask pierced by a gestural stain. In those tributes, the head is an active site that presents the imbalance produced by forging identity and its association with the idea of death. As José Miguel G. Cortés has said, “a society based on the hegemony of rationalization and the confrontation between the contradictions found in human beings is a society that leads us to the conclusion that we have a body, without ever understanding that we are a body”. By accepting the second affirmation we can situate the body in a place where “it will no longer be a border to get across but part of the symbolic whole where life and death are not conceived of as antagonistic elements, but as complementary parts of a totality that shapes our existence”(35).


Conversely, Ciria has worked systematically on his painting like a unique sort of cartographer who expresses the artistic repercussions of the time he has spent in different places around the world, (Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Moscow, New York). His “nomadic” nature has always been tied to his commitment to placement and it should not be surprising that his trip to Easter Island has led to significant exploration in his painting.


There is a theory that the Moai were carved by the Polynesians to represent deceased ancestors. For Ciria, however, that reference is overshadowed by his interest in the monumentality, imposing frontality and synthetic expressiveness of those sculptures. Ciria is connecting in this way with the recurring interest throughout modernity in so-called primitive culture, regarded as the culture produced by the ancient peoples that came before the advent of Western civilization. It cannot be denied that in Ciria’s interest in the Moai, there is a desire for escape, to get away from the complex visual density of the current culture for the masses by seeking refuge in a symbol of the primitive. Nevertheless, what for the artistic pioneers of the 20th century was a pure discovery that helped liberate them from the traditional canon represents for Ciria just one more reference to digest, analyze, translate and incorporate into his work.


Being first and foremost face, represented image, means no longer being other things. The ambiguity Ciria presents between bringing back the figure and its persistent anti-naturalistic transformation, carried out within the framework of formal issues of representation, indicates a desire to constantly transgress or even negate the physical and psychological affirmation of the genre. Like stage make-up, organized in bursts, the colors usurp the verisimilitude of the skin of the figures that make up “Cabezas de Rorschach III” (Rorschach Heads III). It may be precisely the pronounced tonal distortion, in addition to the absence of any specific setting and the unmovable frontal position of the figures, which constitute the only ways to ensure the permanence of the I in a period of ephemeral events and fast paced transformation.


Ultimately, “Cabezas de Rorschach III” (Rorschach Heads III) must be seen as a series held up by extremes. Firstly, there are risky and dissonant chromatic extremes with harsh combinations of color. Secondly, there are formal extremes that drive him to impetuously vary the descriptiveness of some faces (for example, Crossed out liar or Grunda). And, there are also paintings where the caricatured deformation shifts the picture into the terrain of the grotesque (like his imposing Self-portrait). But, in particular, “Cabezas de Rorschach III” (Rorschach Heads III) is a series that thrusts us from the Now into its extreme temporal opposite: the beginning. The human figure was one of the essential elements of Ciria’s early work and in paintings like Atormentado (Tormented) from 1987, La espera (Waiting) (1988), Nadador (Swimmer) from 1989 or Rostro (Face) from 1989, where the structure of the composition is already derived solely from the face, color has lost its figurative quality, the physical deformations are a clear index of expressiveness and any measurable spatial reference has disappeared. Perhaps unconsciously, Ciria has constructed a part of his New York work through cyclically revisiting his previous series, which we already saw with “Post-Supremática” (Post-Suprematist) and “Autómatas” (Automatons), “La Guardia Place” and “Hombres, manos, formas orgánicas y signos” (Men, hands, organic forms and signs) or with “Mascaras de la mirada” (Masks of the gaze) and “Memoria Abstracta” (Abstract Memory). With “Cabezas de Rorschach III” (Rorschach Heads III) a circular cycle, whose only outlet is a seepage that breaks its edges, seems to have come to a close. And, because of Ciria’s seriousness in regards to re-thinking the elements of his painting, we can only expect his forthcoming work to be as distinctive and intriguing as the work that has come before it.


1.But without, however, ever losing awareness of the impossibility of translating without altering meaning. That heterogeneity is evident in Des tours de Babel (1985) by Jacques Derrida, where Derrida claims that the translation has no original, and thus there is no translation that does not leave some untranslatable fragment, and consequently, all translation implies both a gain and loss.


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


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


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


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


6.The notion of an «I» endowed with a finite and stable form has gradually been eroded echoing influential developments of the twentieth century in the fields of psychoanalysis, philosophy, anthropology, medicine and science. It is artists who 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.


7.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.


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


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


10.The name of the Swiss psychologist whose research was oriented towards the diagnosis of his patient’s neuroses based on their personal interpretations of specific «abstract» stains.


11.Statement by the artist published in TOWERDAWN, Joseph: Plástica y semántica (Conversaciones con José Manuel Ciria), in Quis custodiet pisos custodes. Galería Salvador Díaz, Madrid, 2000, p. 43.


12.CIRIA, J.M.: “Espacio y luz (Analítica estructural a nivel medio)” in José Manuel Ciria. Espace et lumiére. Artim Galería, Strasbourg, 2000, p. 56.


13.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.


14.In 1996, Ciria put his own definition of the concept of the mask in writing; «The concept of the ‘Mask’ becomes a triangle that multiplies itself into a polyhedron, insofar as intentionality, the objective result and later personal interpretations. But not just in regards to the creative act itself, but to the triple referentiality we all hold inside ourselves, in the artist, in his work and also in the viewer. We are what we are -and also what we’re not- what we think we are and what everyone else thinks about us. Because whenever a painter leaves the result of staining on a canvas, he can never say or foresee what the personal, emotional, or aesthetic associations that gesture may be able create in any given viewer might be. Disguises, concealment, confusing masking with unmasking, pain… all create a continuous game where, without being able to help it, we see how the mask is concealing or revealing and, through that, we see the structure that tightens and loosens creating its own language. It’s a position from which each language legitimizes itself, where ultimately the viewer is implicated. 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


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


  1. KUSPIT, Donald. El fin del arte, Akal, Madrid, 2006, p. 147


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


Mark8. “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


Mark9. “The notion of purity was no longer a critical imperative”. DANTO, C. Arthur “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.


  1. 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.


  1. CIRIA, José Manuel. “La mano ausente”, in Box of Mental States. Art Rouge Gallery, Miami, 2008.


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


23.Quotidian is used in the sense of that «which turns the body into a dormant being in submission to a homogenizing discourse that instrumentalizes it until it becomes a medium that has no function apart from being an outlet through which the dominant value system is spread”. CRUZ SÁNCHEZ, Pedro A. y HERNÁNDEZ-NAVARRO, Miguel A. “Cartografías del cuerpo (propuestas para una sistematizacion)”. SÁNZHEZ, Pedro A., and HERNÁNDEZ-NAVARRO, Miguel Á., (ed.) Op. cit, p. 19.


  1. Ibidem


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




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


28.REPLINGER, Mercedes. “El pintor en Nueva York”. Op. cit, p. 23


29.GARCÍA-BERRIO, A., and REPLINGER, M. Op. cit., p. 23.


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


31.Ibidem, p. 19.


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


33.GARCÍA-BERRIO, A., and REPLINGER, M. Op. cit., p. 63.


34.MARTÍNEZ-ARTERO, Rosa. El retrato. Del sujeto en el retrato. Montesinos, Barcelona, 2004, p.261.


35.G. CORTÉS, J. M. El cuerpo mutilado (La Angustia de Muerte en el Arte), Valencia, Generalitat Valenciana, 1996.