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Contemplating the Braids of Dreams

Eugenio Granell Collection
Foundation’s Funds 

The four small oil paintings at the entrante to the large hall, Descanso en las nubes (Resting on the Clouds 1942), Jinete del aire (Air Horseback Rider, 1944), Pesca maravillosa (Marvellous Fishing, 1945), Palabras de Amparo (Amparo’s Words, 1946) belong to the period in which the artist began his life as a painter in the Dominican Republic.
He leaves for Guatemala in 1946 where his work begins to move in a different direction. In 1948, two years later, he paints Ensayo provisional de la concepción del mundo (Provisional Essay on the Conception of the World), one of his most important paintings, specially because of what he himself said: “This painting sums up all of my work. It is a painting I could have sold many times, but I always liked it very much. Now I think I know why. Because it sums up all of my work.
On the upper left a cloud and at the bottom a cloud-stone that reminds me of the times when we used to walk in Guatemala city and, because of the mist, we could not see our feet. The figure on the right is the first one of my figures. It is naked and now I dress them, but this is the original one”. Between this original painting and the other ones we show, Granell went through several stages: those of metamorphoses, fleshy and vegetables at the same time and the Magic Landscapes that he painted in New York City mostly in the sixties, He returns to the human figure in the seventies, when he painted some of his most enigmatic and personal works. Different from the works seen in the other two halls –the drawings and the constructions- in which as the curator says, “This spatial conception is filtered by the construction process of the surrealist plastic image based on the creation of a pure, primitive image taken straight from the brain.” …the oils we show a concept distant from the “pure and primitive” one of the drawings. Although undoubtedly the work was initially spontaneous, when the artist found himself in front of the canvass he could not avoid covering every space available, as if he were afraid of the void. In an interview with Javier Ruiz in 1993, Granell said ”I believe that solemnity and ceremony are two extraordinary inventions. They are elements that help dignify the human being. In ‘primitive’ people, the ceremonies are exaltations of what they do and of that in which they believe. We, the surrealists, have always had in mind those ‘rpimitive’ people… In my case, in particular, anthropology is found in all of my work. It is not that I painted a ceremony, it is that they tthemselves are the elements of their own ceremony. That’s it. The stillness of the figures probably contribuytes to this impressión… In so many places in my paintings the figures are galvanized, as if coined. I believe painting is the only art that petrifies that instant that the painting reflects. Nothing before, nothing after. There are paintings that contain an anecdote, a biblical theme, for example, and we know the stort it represents, but we don’t know it because of the painting, we know it through other means”.