carratala ESB11 brExhibition by Ernesto Carratalá
06.10 to 12.11.2022

Opening, 6th October 7 p.m.

At ACVIC Centre d'Arts Contemporànies (Sant Francesc, 1 Vic)


Illustration: Ernesto Carratalá Rey

Ernesto Carratalà: journeys of sensuality

While certain people debate in clichés about interculturality, the worst of whom are secretly perturbed by how our societies have evolved in recent decades with the arrival of people from all over the world, Ernesto Carratalà celebrates, as a pioneer, the new beauty, the charm, the joy of skin colours, features, clothing, ornaments, in short: all aesthetic universes.

Like the flâneur defined by Baudelaire, Carratalà looks around, at the same time distracted and attentive to detail. He is a walker. Not a voyeur, but an admirer, between surprised and skeptical, of the human spectacle of the streets. He observes, allowing himself to be transfixed by the design he sees on bodies and dresses. Carratalà has its own style. We can clearly detect some references; primarily, traditional Hindu art, but also simple and precise drawing, creating the characteristic finished shapes of the European comic book’s so-called "ligne claire". The result, however, does not respond to a synthesis, which already assumes a difficult balance between these two registers, but has its own characteristics. It highlights a very particular dialogue between fluidity and geometry, sinuosity and angularity. Each drawing looks like a detail, a note, an anecdote, but because of its dynamism and its movement, we think it is interesting to appreciate it as a whole, as if each drawing were the detail, the moment, of a longer story which has a meaning unknown to us, a meaning which escapes us, which runs away like the lives of others we cross paths with every day.

A photograph of Carratalà appeared in an early article in Tele-Exprés in 1968 which uncovered a new phenomenon: "Beatniks and Hippies in the Plaza Real". Hippie? Maybe. Avant-garde artist, also friend, for example of Alicia Fingerhut, from the Catalan collective Grup de Treball, Later, he would find a place in the underground movement, which was expressed in popular vehicles such as the comic, tebeos of angry and rebellious youth. (Tebeos, children’s weekly comic magazines in Spain, named for the most famous example, TBO.) In El Víbora, Carratalà stood out immediately. Between the aggressive and unkempt manner of the so-called "dirty line", and the more sophisticated exercises in defining a comic inspired by the classics, Carratalà's work stood out for its difference, a kind of adaptation of centuries-old artistic forms to the narrative structure (almost architectural) of the vignettes. Sometimes his stories were tragic and violent, at others, mysterious or comical. They offered an alternative escape to psychedelia, rage or science fiction. A very strange artist, Carratalà.

Carratalà's career is therefore long, coming from afar. He is a traveller, but not at all aggressive, a humble lover devotee fascinated by the societies which have struck him. He lives in India. He draws abundantly, avidly, meticulously. He sends the drawings to his sponsor at the time, Rafael Tous, renowned collector of conceptual art. He returns. Draws more and constantly, installed in Barcelona’s La Ribera neighbourhood. He works like a craftsman, for a core of admirers. The end of counterculture, and its marginal approach to the rigidities of the contemporary art circuit, have consigned it to a certain oblivion. Its surprising, splendid emergence in Vic must be recognised. The journeys continue, the drawing never stops. Carratalà is capable of drawing on a wide range of support media and formats, from the miniature to the large: long scrolls like parchment, or small vignettes that remind us of the museum of Tintin covers from the seventies. His cartoonist’s drive overspills in quantity and diversity, capturing and communicating the sensuality, the voluptuousness in every body he draws. He is immediate and ornamental, a chronicler of the deep beauty of superficiality, of the detail of a dress, of a print, of bodies that evoke the erotic joy of living.

At no time have we mentioned exoticism. Nothing is exotic, external, alien, in this world. Everything calls us to sympathy and celebration, sensual and besotted, if we know how to see it.

Àlex Mitrani

Ernesto Carratalá Rey (Barcelona, 1949). Cartoonist, illustrator, painter and traveller. He trained at the La Llotja School of Arts and Crafts, and at the Fine Arts at the university of Barcelona, specialising in painting and engraving techniques. He immediately began to receive commissions as an illustrator for magazines and advertising posters. Curious and hungry for knowledge, he made travelling and drawing his way of life. He works and exhibits between Manila, Amsterdam, Calcutta and Barcelona. From the eighties, attracted by the underground culture, he spent longer periods in Barcelona, working for publications such as the magazines el Víbora and Makoki (La Cúpula publishing house 1980-1990) or Playboy magazine (published by Planeta 1979). He participates in numerous collective and individual exhibitions in spaces such as the Sala Metrònom, Bugatti 3-33, the Hospital de l'Art and clubs such as Margarita Blue or Danzatoria. A few years ago, he exchanged his travels for walks around the town of Vic, where he lives and draws tirelessly.


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