Edu Carrillo’s solo exhibition at the JPS gallery proposes an X-ray of the painter’s craft. It could even be said that it is an analysis of painting. However, caution is called for: painting is always a problem.
The canvases that Carrillo brings together in this project are precise and direct snapshots of the act of painting in a period of great intensity and almost feverish production. The artist wants to investigate in depth the anatomy of painting, what is inside and underneath its surface. But he does not want to discover it, much less demonstrate it from a theoretical or discursive point of view, but from practice. His research goes through painting, canvas after canvas, spending countless hours in the studio waiting for a short-circuit, lingering for the arrival of a wound in the painting. Something uncertain, a kind of opening that the painter himself cannot foresee but which sometimes, rarely, happens and raises other fundamental questions: Will he recognise and accept the novelty of it? Is he ready for it? Is it the right moment to change lanes? More problems…
In some of the canvases in this exhibition, aptly titled Painting is such a big problem for painters, Carrillo presents his well-known character, with a full head of hair and elongated eyes, while he thinks, rests and observes. His head rests on his right hand for greater comfort. A melancholic iconography, typical of someone who is engaged in his reflections. The hand that supports the head that doubts, what am I doing here? How can I go on without conforming to what I know, without continuing on the same path? Carrillo pauses, shuffling resources and possibilities with a view to the next exhibition where he proposes, once again, to derail from the known solid ground.
Before embarking on new directions, he records what he sees in his studio and observes what he is doing. He takes a breath, searches for the key to the mystery of the definitive painting which is never reached. His attitude to this titanic task is that of a forensic anatomopathologist. His eagerness to surpass himself, to experiment and vary the composition again and again, tirelessly, leads him to observe his painting obsessively and diligently. He searches for the wound that represents an unforeseen break, capable of opening up a new path. It is difficult for him to remain still, but it is necessary from time to time. His profession demands doing and more doing, because between two ideas there is nothing, because colours float and you have to catch them on the fly, because works are loves and not good reasons. That is why the figures in these canvases, with their differences and repetitions, all look at us from the front with their eyes wide open. They look away from the voluminous books they are studying to direct their gaze at the spectator.
This exhibition is Carrillo’s invitation to visit his studio without an appointment. There he lets himself be surprised by the surrounding tools of his trade: a tube of paint, a paintbrush-knife, a canvas... Or, while he takes a certain distance from what he is doing, before starting again; while he looks and thinks on a chair. Thinking and looking can become synonymous.
Colours arranged on a glass surface, waiting to be chosen, to be mixed. Remember the film in which Hans Namuth records Pollock from below, while he stages how he pours the colours on a glass table? As Leonardo said, painting is a cosa mentale.
This exhibition project proposes a collection of samples, a personal encyclopaedia, about painting. A 360-degree panoramic view from the centre of the studio that freezes, like an X-ray of Edu Carrillo’s current practice. The point where he is in his obsessive research. His dedication, bare-chested, to painting. His absolute dedication to the painter’s craft.
— Francesco Giaveri