Gabriel initiates a dark mode. His sculptures appear as inscrutable presences, illuminated in the dark space. It is the poetic and physical discovery of light in the darkness, of the appearance of light from the blackness, of revelation through mystery, of the memory of origins and transformation, visible in the marks of forces that can no longer be perceived and in the changes caused by the reflection of light on polished or metallic sculptural objects, sparks from an unnamed alchemy.

Gabriel had already announced this mode in his staging at the Centre d'Art Santa Mònica in Barcelona in winter of 2003, but it is now being fully expressed for the first time. Because of the size of the set-up, for the first time the universe and the dark space get all the importance they need, equal to or exceeding that of the works themselves, making this exhibition like a statement of principles of this new way of understanding sculpture.

Darkness, unlit space, is the primary element and the original place in which Gabriel’s works appear and have presence. In this vast, high, empty and dark space, much more open and deep than a conventional venue for art exhibitions, the sculptures could be said to be objects of another world, disperse fragments lost in immediate reality, fallen into our world like unidentified sculptural bodies.

They are, in fact, artefacts that accomplish that for which they have been conceived: to awaken contemplation, poetic reflection and a deeper awareness of reality, necessary in an era subjected to a regime of perhaps suicidal banality (self-genocide, globicide). And this presentation has been produced in a radical way, like a poetic, plastic and philosophic phenomenon that does not need words to achieve intense expression, and that provokes a feeling of strangeness and unreality compared to that which we are in the habit of calling real.

Visitors find themselves in an extraordinary situation; they’ll have to cross distances in the darkness that are more typical of the outdoors than an exhibition hall, they can make out forms from afar and discover, upon approaching, that the full existence of one of Gabriel’s sculptures cannot be anything other than what is done here: his works are bodies of light and opacity, apparitions in the dark, inscrutable like abstract sphinxes, immobile meteors with shiny, abyssal skin. They are anti-definitive, infinitive shapes that remind us of the existence, beyond fixed appearances and orderly illusion, of a temporal energy called chaos, a ferocious force in perpetual transforming expansion. Gabriel also writes, and one of his most recent texts begins, “Chaos is understood as the germinal beginning of renewal, that is, time expressed. Of how Chronos left the print of his transforming breath on the architecture of the visible.”

Some of these works are like snapshots, not photographic, rather sculptural and wordlessly philosophical –aphorisms in which both form and evoked absence matter. I see in Gabriel’s sculpture a poetic, physical and philosophic operation comparable to that undertaken by Hans (or Jean) Arp in the period between wars. His modes are different and Gabriel’s darkness even seems to oppose Arp's clear luminosity. But they coincide in something essential: their radical break, through fusionist poetics, with the notion of identity as something fixed and immutable. Arp was also a verbal poet and in his titles he managed to name the fusions that he created in his sculptures: Woman-Landscape, Flower Hammer, Shell-Cloud. With Gabriel we leave behind, among other antiquities, that persistent and shallow opposition between the order of a Mondrian and the chaos of a Pollock. Gabriel knows that which was called chaos forms a part of the balance of a cosmos whose limits are a mystery that must also be expressed. 

Polutropon, according to Gabriel, refers to the idea of multiple and mutating form: “Form is not an end; rather it is something generative that is in the action of forming itself and in the revelation of things.” One of the sculptures, which provided the name of the exhibition, is in the form of a tunnel. On the inside it has turbulence fixed in bas-relief and outside there are only traces of those movements. It is time stopped, the dark body of a transforming flow. That its diameter is anthropometric means that it makes reference to the human being and not only to the physical, cosmic and metaphysical world. Other works appear as mutated forms, fixations of a movement, material now only conceivable as manifestations of energy and its changes. They are forms like creases, like waves. Or like apparitions of light in the darkness, signs erupting from mystery, elements of mediation between the dark and the light. An example: the two hundred thousand nails in hidden wood that comprise Forma de llum relicta, a splendid mineral Utopia or range of sparkles, with the skin of a deep-sea animal, which delivers a subsequent light, after the blackness, from the darkness of matter. 

Juan Bufill

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Individual exhibitions

· Polutropon. Tinglado 2 del Moll de Costa del Port de Tarragona.

· Monomachia. Galeria Joan Prats-Artgràfic. Barcelona. A cura de Joan de Muga.

· Anàbasis. Centre d'Art Sta.Mònica. Generalitat de Catalunya. Barcelona. ctlg. Textos de Fernando Castro, Menene Gras Balaguer, Jesús Martínez Clarà i Glòria Cot.
· Galeria Horizon. Colera. Alt Empordà. A cura de Silvy Wittevrongel
· Epilamvanein. (amb Glòria Cot). Galeria Artloft. Reus

· Ursprache.Galeria Antonio de Barnola. Barcelona. A cura d'Antonio de Barnola.

· Aufgabe Gestalt. Museu Empordà. Figueres. ctlg. A cura de Glòria Cot. Text de Glòria Cot.

· (juliol–setembre) Galeria Joan Prats.Barcelona. A cura de Joan de Muga.
· Deambulatori. Ajuntament de Reus. Talp Club. Reus. ctlg. / cartell. A cura de Francesc Vidal.Text de Gabriel.

· Centre d'Art Contemporain. Mairie de St-Cyprien. St. Cebrià. (Rosselló). A cura de Gilles de Montauzon.
· Metempsicosi. Galeria Palma XII.Vilafranca. A cura de Pilar Carbonell.

· Galeria Fernando Alcolea. Barcelona.

· Ucrón. Sant Pere de Galligants. Generalitat de Catalunya. Girona. ctlg. Text de Gillo Dorfles.
· Monestir de Vilabertrán. Joventuts Musicals. Figueres. ctlg. Text de Menene Gras Balaguer.

· Espais. Girona. ctlg.
· Diputación de Huesca. Huesca. ctlg. Text de Kevin Power.
· Monasterio de Veruela. Diputación de Zaragoza. Zaragoza. ctlg. Text de Kevin Power.
· Galeria Fernando Alcolea. Barcelona.

· ARCO. stand Espais. Madrid. ctlg.
· Galeria Jorge Albero. Madrid. ctlg. Text de Luís Francisco Pérez.
· Galeria Fernando Alcolea. New York. ctlg. Text de Dan Cameron.
· Galeria Paral. lel 39. València. A cura de Víctor Segrelles.

Group Exhibitions

· Horizon + 10. Galeria Horizon. Colera. (Girona). ctlg. A cura de Silvy Wittevrongel i Ralph Bernabei.

· Col·lecció Paral·lel 39. Club Diario Levante. València. ctlg.

· Salon “Grands et Jeunes d’Aujourd'hui”. Galerie Am Tunnel & Espace Edward Steichen. Luxembourg. Luxembourg. A cura d'Estela Casas.
· ARCO’2001. Galeria Antonio de Barnola. Madrid. A cura de Antonio de Barnola.
· ARCO'2001. Galeria 44. Madrid. A cura de Mercè Alsina.
· Eskulturen Ibilbidea Áraban. Casa del Cordón. Vital Kutxa Fundazioa. Vitòria. Àlava. ctlg.

·  Emoció escollida. Memòries de bord. Galeria Palma XII. Vilafranca. A cura de Pilar Carbonell.
· ARCO'2000. Galeria Antonio de Barnola. Madrid. A cura de Antonio de Barnola.
· ARCO'2000. Galeria Palma XII. Madrid. A cura de Pilar Carbonell.
· Delicats perfums de tota mena. Memòries de bord. Galeria Palma XII. Vilafranca. A cura de Pilar Carbonell.
· Modulars. Galeria 44. Barcelona. ctlg. A cura de Mercè Alsina.
· L'Age D'Or. Galeria Horizon. Colera. (Alt Empordà). A cura de Silvy Wittevrongel.
· Salon “Grands et Jeunes d'Aujourd'hui”. Espace Eiffel-Branly, Pabelló d'Espanya. Ajuntament de París. París. França. ctlg. A cura d'Estela Casas.

· Dinsjardins. P. dels Til. lers. Parc de la Ciutadella. Institut de Cultura - Parcs i Jardins. Ajunt. de BCN. Barcelona. ctlg. A cura de Tom Maddock.
· Corrent altern - corrent continu. Espais, Centre d'Art Contemporani. Girona. ctlg. A cura de Magdala Perpinyà i Gombau.
· Museu Art 2000. Fundació Vila Casas. Pals. (Girona). ctlg.

· ARCO'97. Stand Galeria Palma XII. Madrid. A cura de Pilar Carbonell.

· Essències / Col·lecció Ernesto Ventós Omedes. La Virreina. ctlg. A cura de Montserrat Nomen.

· Entre parentesis. Galeria Paral. lel 39. València. A cura de Víctor Segrelles.
  • · ARCO. stand Galeria Fernando Alcolea. Madrid.

· Montrouge-Barcelone. Centre Culturel et Artistique de Montrouge. Montrouge. França. ctlg.
· A Kaleidoscopic Pilgrimage. Orchard Gallery. City Council Arts Derry. Derry. Irlanda. ctlg. A cura de Bernard Loughlin.
· A Kaleidoscopic Pilgrimage. Hug Lane Municipal Gallery. The Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Dublin. Irlanda. ctlg. A cura de Bernard Loughlin.
· Col. lecció d'Art de l'Avui. Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Barcelona. ctlg. A cura de Pilar Parcerisas.
· Ciència a prop, de l'anís del mono a les autopistes de la informació. Edifici de Sta. Madrona. KRTÚ, Generalitat de Catalunya. Barcelona. ctlg. A cura de Vicenç Altaió.

· Artistes Espagnols Contemporains. Villa du Parc. Annemasse. França. ctlg.
· Rhodos Art Site Project I. Art and Cultural Center Rostand. Atenes. Grècia.
· Reflex Modern Art Gallery. Amsterdam. Holanda.
· Artcake. Galerie Maurer. Zürich. Suïssa. A cura de Silva Preiss.

· ARCO. stand Galeria Fernando Alcolea. Madrid.
· Izoztea. Arteleku. Donostia. ctlg.
· Constants de l'Art Català Actual. Centre d'Art Sta. Mònica. Departament d'Art, Generalitat de Catalunya. Barcelona. ctlg. A cura de Josep Miquel García.
· De les col·leccions del Museu-Escultures. Museu de Granollers. Granollers. A cura de Manel Clot.
· Art Espanyol Contemporani-Testimoni. Esglèsia del Convent. Pollença. Mallorca. ctlg.

· Galerie de la Tour. Groningen. Holanda.
· X Escultors al Jardí. Galeria Avinyó. Perelada. ctlg. A cura d'Enric Serraplanas.
· Todo al Seis. Galeria Paral. lel 39. València. ctlg. A cura de Víctor Segrelles.
· Onze Escultures. Museu de Granollers. Granollers. ctlg. A cura de Manel Clot.
· Chicago International Art Exposition. stand Galeria Fernando Alcolea. Chicago. USA.
· Les Quatre Cent Clous. Galeria Àngels de la Mota. Barcelona.
· Art i Territori. Consell Comarcal del Pallars Jussà. Tremp. ctlg.
· Mostra d'Escultura Actual. Capella de St. Joan. Galeria Palma XII. Vilafranca. ctlg. A cura de Pilar Carbonell.
· Artistes Catalans du Fonds d'Art de la Generalitat de Catalunya. Espace Sophonisbe. Tunis. Tunis. ctlg.
· Col. lecció Testimoni 1990-91. Sala St. Jaume. Fundació La Caixa. Barcelona.

· Sextine. Maison de la Culture. Amiens. França. ctlg. A cura de Glòria Picazo.
· Punts d'Aigua. Dia de la Terra. Parc Pegaso. Ajuntament de Barcelona. Barcelona. ctlg. A cura de Carles H. Mor.
· L'Avantguarda de l'Escultura Catalana. Sa Llonja. Palma de Mallorca. ctlg. A cura de Glòria Picazo.
· L'H. Art 90. Tecla Sala. Hospitalet de Llobregat.
· Liquens. Galeria Àngels de la Mota. Barcelona.
· Artistas Catalaes do Fundo de Arte da Generalitat de Catalunya. Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian. Lisboa. Portugal. ctlg.
· Jardí d'Escultures. Fundació Miró. Barcelona. ctlg. A cura de Rosa Mª Malet.

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