Activities, exhibitions and projects

Berta Cáccamo. El polvo del que surgen todas las formas Pantin, Paris, 1989-1991

Berta Cáccamo. The Dust from Which All the Forms Emerge Pantin, Paris, 1989-1991


Image: Berta Cáccamo, Sin título, 1990, acrílico sobre tela, 20x20 cm.

Berta Cáccamo’s (Vigo, 1963 - Coruxo, Vigo, 2018) practice represents one of the most complete and independent artistic trajectories exploring the discourse and the transformation of the painting in Spain in the late 80’s. Over more than 30 years of career, her work is inscribed in a field where reflexive speculations conform the starting point for the creation of powerful plastic formulations in a sophisticated visual scarcity.

This exhibition features a concrete period of her practice: her stay in Paris between 1989 and 1991. Her arrival in France is preceded by her college years at the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Barcelona (1981-1986) followed by a little transition back to Galicia. At this moment, she was already making a painting connected with the possibilities of the material and the sign, inspired by the Spanish Informalismo as well as by the french group Supports/Surfaces.

In Paris, settled in a studio in Pantin, a suburb located in the banlieue rouge (red suburbs) of the city, Berta Cáccamo explores the American and European painting of the 20th century which she sees in Paris as well as in some trips she did to Germany. Besides this, she is also interested in the Arte Povera movement and admires the analytical italian painting developed by painters like Giorgio Griffa. Since the beginning of her practice, Berta incorporates the notions of memory and intelligence of the material in her work, she will never leave these precepts. Her devotion to Blinky Palermo, whose work she discovers in a trip to Düsseldorf, will be fundamental in her practice. The necessity of expanding the limits of the painting appears at the same time as she rejects the banal and noisy painting that was dominating the art market at that time. Moreover, during her stay in Paris, she will meet some Spanish artists like Miguel Ángel Campano or Broto, who were part of the french scene. Cáccamo comes to identify her work with their analytical way of seeing traditional painting within an ethical responsibility.

The paintings and drawings presented were created in a moment of intensive work in medium and large-scale paintings. At this time, the artist works tirelessly on the execution of some drawings or rather little paintings on paper. In these pieces, the testing, the accident and the possibility of mistake as well as the rejection for the composition rules and style propers of traditional drawing, are constant. The artist is perfectly aware of her connection with a highly masculine tradition of painting. Cáccamo presents her artwork from a non-heroic position of emphasize the fragment and the personal.

The Dust from Which All the Forms Emerge is actually a quote founded in a Berta’s notebook from the Paris period. This quote comes from Kwaidan, a collection of Japanese folk tales written by Lafcadio Hearn in 1904. Her attraction for cultural and literary fetish from the past, specially from the Japanese culture but also for Ancient art -which she contemplates and study acutely visiting the ancient Musée de l’Homme in Paris- are so important in her thought and in her artistic practice.

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