Magazin - Carlos Albert. June 2020

THE SILENCE OF EMPTINESS AND THE POWER OF FORM

I knew the sculptures of Carlos Albert even before I met the artist himself. His work interested me from the beginning because it is powerful and with a great clarity of resolution. In 2013 we were finally able to realize Albert's first solo exhibition at the Galerie 100 Kubik. Since then we have presented a solo exhibition every year and have also shown his work at various art fairs in Germany and Switzerland. His career has been further enriched internationally and has reached important moments in recent years, which leads us to continue working in this direction with all our energy. The path ahead of us is undoubtedly safe and accessible. The exhibition Space and Colour is the sixth solo exhibition of the artist in the gallery.

Personally, I am very motivated to work with Carlos Albert, because he is an artist who expresses himself with great sincerity and authenticity in his work and this is - in these times - rare. You have to be very brave to create such a work and also to exhibit one. Moreover, sculpture has always had a smaller audience than painting, because it involves more problems of logistics, weight, space, etc., which makes it less understandable to most people. I like plastic art and work with good sculptors. I think the character of the lover of sculpture is different: it is people who are able to grasp the world in three dimensions, who are not distracted by colors, who understand the beauty of a form or material, who like to perceive sensations with their hands and who understand the work of art as a presence in their life.

I like to understand the followers of sculpture, but also these artists. I like to imagine what this one moment is like, just before the creation of a sculpture. How it is created in the sculptor's mind, what factors influence it and what suggestions come into play. It's true that in sculpture the material is something that defines it strongly, and that the difference to the world of painting is very big, because it is defined by other parameters. The sculpture struggles with the space surrounding it, tries to position itself in it and asserts itself with its volume.  Moreover, it is created in a slow way. The intellectual process is slower than painting, because the latter can change with the speed of thought, if necessary. This speed does not exist in sculpture, and even less in a material like wrought iron. For Carlos Albert this is his main material. In him he has found the means to develop his plastic vocabulary and to tell his experiences.

Carlos Albert possesses his own language based on the fusion of geometry and feeling. His path has progressed in this combination, and he has no prejudices when it comes to combining two geometric elements. What he does is the constant examination of the forms that are born from a certain profile, which the artist takes up as a line in space and with which he begins to move and define the boundaries that are to become his sculpture. "There are drawings in the air..." I once wrote about his work. Instead of graphite and paper, the artist takes his iron profile, heats it and fogged it up, tames it, transforms it, takes it to the limits of its physical possibilities, welds it, grinds it, patinates it, and all this to transform it into that spatial drawing, that presence that will occupy the space (not the paper) and that will uplift it with all its strength.

Carlos Albert's creative process becomes a dialogue with the material in which both have something to say and listen to. There is no rigidity in this process. It is a creative coming and going that arises when the artist listens to the conditions that the material transfers to him and can transform them into an impulse to create new forms. And not only the material itself, but also the instruments he uses have their own voice. The way a tool can be bent, the degree of angle at which the iron is bent, the profile that best suits each instrument, which thickness is most docile, all these are used in the creative process.

A very personal characteristic of Albert's work is to show the biography of each work on its surfaces. On these you can see the whole process that made them possible from the beginning. And this is important because there is no masking or disguising, no hidden elements. The artwork shows itself in an open way, without shame, with all traces of the creative process and the feelings of the artist, his decisions and thoughtful moments. The result is a three-dimensional reality, his way of understanding the aesthetics of the material that defines his work. 

Carlos Albert's abstract language allows him to convey emotions. It is precisely the sincerity with which he handles the material, and the respect and admiration for tradition, for what others have created before him, that allows wrought iron to advance in its history. The artist does not try to imitate anyone, nor does he try to get lost in paths already taken. It is a great joy that Carlos Albert, together with other great artists, is already represented in important collections in this country and that collectors are following his career closely and are always acquiring his works. These very personal results are the result of his creative spirit and inquisitive nature, which have led him to constantly examine the qualities of the materials and make the most of them. The form is of course the main element, but the surfaces of these forms are also the subject of a constant search for new results, for different colours, patina and surfaces, which his works always display with new nuances and new abilities to touch the viewer.

The current exhibition Space and Colour, in which Albert dares to integrate bright colours into his forms, is in harmony with these new results. Colour now transforms the equation, as the works take on a new character, adding to the previous elements. Whether applied monochromatically, or by combining two colours to emphasise the edges of the piece, or even by creating more painterly surfaces, Albert shows that the path of his sculpture has the capacity to transform without losing any of the elements that have characterised him until now.

I would also like to highlight the importance of Carlos Albert's large scale works for public spaces and outdoor areas, in which Corten-steel plays a leading role. With a completely different treatment than the solid iron that is struck in the forge, steel is allowed to be used in his works according to a carefully worked out plan. Here the artist must act with even greater deliberation, becoming the architect of form and transferring the designs and sketches he has made in smaller dimensions to the material, also using other methods more suited to its temperament. The sketches are made on paper, through collages or sculptures in very small formats, where he can study the problems of realization that are faced with steel and large dimensions. In the works with Corten-steel the thoroughness is multiplied and the slowness of the process becomes an essential part of the result. The character of the final work is different, showing a different facet of the artist, a different vision of the artistic concept, but closely related to the works in wrought iron.

Another very special material he has worked with is stainless steel, both as sheet metal and in its solid form. In this case the work is particularly difficult and laborious, as it is usually completely polished and has a spectacular finish. Wood is also a material he likes to work with. It interests him as a contrast of form and as a counterpoint to colour in his works. Carlos Albert is very careful in the choice of wood, which is supposed to add an additional compositional element to the complex of his final sculpture. He does not use any kind of carving.  In contrast to iron, wood is understood as a geometric block that assigns a different role to the materials than the one expected. The artist succeeds in creating a space for imagination and meditation through the silence of emptiness in contrast to the power of form.

I do not want to forget to mention his works on paper, which I cannot call two-dimensional, because the sense of the three dimensions is present in all of them. Through collage, the artist has found a way to draw, to shape his ideas, which might be part of a future sculpture. But they are the drawings of a sculptor, of someone who moves in a tangible world, not in an imaginary one. Using the different tones that have grown in his career, Albert constructs these collages that escape into three-dimensionality and deliver his spatial visions. The papers represent a very important part of his production, with which the artist completes his work.

Carlos Albert's sculptures are spaces of encounter with oneself, they have enough ethical elements to transcend us and help us to find the meaning of things. In my opinion, this is the function of the artist.

Carmen González-Borràs

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