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Masterpieces

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Des potirons.

Miquel Barceló

Felanitx, Mallorca, 1957

Des potirons.

Mixed technique on canvas, 200 x 300 cm

1998

Acquired in 2002

The still life genre is one that Barceló has repeatedly explored. In the case of Des potirons, painted in the artist’s Parisian studio, the main interest of the work lies in its matter. The dense mixture of paint and wood pulp is applied all over the surface of the canvas, achieving a texture characterised by centrifugal rhythms and earthy properties. Barceló often introduces elements extraneous to painting in his compositions—such as the pumpkin seeds and cigarette ends in this work—that configure a sort of organic vanitas to evoke the transmutation of matter that alludes to the passage of time. Speaking of this painting in March 1998, Barceló said, "My new picture! — of pumpkins. I remember when I used to paint white pictures (...). It’s the same today with pumpkins, onions and tomatoes. It’s as if they were suddenly the only things one could paint (...). The same anxiety, the familiarity with the mechanisms, nothing changes." Miquel Barceló is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Spanish art. After training at the School of Decorative Arts in Palma and at the Fine Arts School in Barcelona, he soon achieved international acclaim as a result of his participation in the 1981 edition of the São Paulo Biennial and in Documenta 7 in Kassel the following year. His sojourns in various European countries, the United States and Mali have marked a prolific career devoted to painting, sculpture, drawings and prints, set designs, murals and ceramics. [M.G.M.]

Masterpieces