Leiria, the curved corridor
Normally a body of work is usually the result of a quiet reflection on things that are within my reach and interest me. On some few occasions, the idea suddenly arises because of a discovery of something -or someone- that catches my attention. This was the case with my fortuitous encounter with the building of the Escola Superior de Artes e Design at Caldas da Rainha, the work of Portuguese architect Vítor Figueiredo.
During a trip to Portugal, picking up my eldest daughter from an Erasmus program, I visited the building. I was struck by the stripped sobriety of that white construction rising in the middle of a pine forest, and its wide curved corridors crossed by the natural light. After visiting the building, and almost without time to think too much, since we had to leave at once, I took some pictures with my mobile phone as a note. How I would have liked to study in such a magnificent building!
Months later, I did a charcoal study. Painting, as artifice, is the result of a mental process in which reality is transformed. In this case, from the beginning, it seemed to me that the greatest difficulty lay in achieving something apparently so simple, although deep down so difficult, as defining the size of the scene within the format. In this case, the crowding effect produced by the powerful foreshortening of the curved corridor, and the lack of any element as a reference of scale, made it difficult to understand the real dimensions of the represented space. Was that a colossal place, recalling the hypostyle rooms of the Ancient World, or was it an intimate corner seen almost at ground level?
On other occasions and in other works the gaze flies freer, but in such a powerful foreshortening the vision is impelled to a path imposed by the perspective that guides the view from the background to the foreground and back to the origin, generating a tension that must be resolved in one of the two extremes.
Both in the charcoal and in the oil version, an element of still life was introduced in the first term in order to try to solve the enigma.