“Painting is so human and so primitive that it cannot be replaced” – Agustí Puig
“Painting is like playing. Kids don’t analyze themselves, don’t fear judgment, and so don’t censor their art. It is through having the ‘innocent eye’ that an artist can produce an ‘authentic’ voice,” says artist, Agustí Puig, when talking about not only his work but how he views art in general. Agustí Puig is a Spanish artist well known for his paintings in Spain, across the rest of Europe as well as having work in the United States and Asia.
Puig is known for having large-scale works highlighting the use of his materials. His work is recognized, along with Joan Miro and Antoni Tapies, as part of the ‘Art Informal Movement’ that came out of post-war Spain. The general style of this movement is called ‘pintera matèrica’ – meaning the painting incorporates and focuses on non-traditional materials. Puig has stated that he uses a polymer made specifically for him in Germany for his work. He is more than a painter, however as a bronze monument in honor of former mayor Antoni Farres in Sabadell, Spain. He has also worked with printmaking, graphic design, and sculpture.
Franklin Bowles Gallery located in New York City currently has an exhibition featuring Puig’s work. The exhibit is titled “Episodes in Paint” and is described by the gallery’s senior art consultant Duane Bousfield, “In our human drama between yesterday and forever, we live in the Eternal Now as episodes.” He goes on to say about Puig’s exhibit, “Like notes in a song while the melody continues, each moment makes a footprint that resonates the universal tune rhyming through human history. Through the elevated perspective of art, we can mythologize these moments as non-linear recurrences of the elemental experiences of being human.
Harvesting a lifetime of image-making, Puig’s shorthand abstracts an image into distinct paint events. Thick sultry pours to gruff tortured scrawls, texture is a visceral language of qualities that makes us feel as much as think.
In this collection, Puig reveals an examined life thoughtfully portrayed. Heads are often a single, voyeuristic eye. Portraits are icons. Lust is a muse. Numbers and grids lament our symbiotic relationship with technology. Allusions to music, both written and played, resound ecstatically as a concert. These episodes invite us to reflect on our place in the world through our relationship with others and ultimately ourselves.”
Although many have gone on to describe Puig’s work and find meaning in it Puig himself likes to leave the mystery alive behind his inspirations for his pieces. “If you explain too much, the mystery disappears,” said Puig to Duane Bousfield.
In an article for the LA Times, Puig is described as, “an internationally prominent Spanish painter, sculptor and printmaker known for his abstract, figurative style.” The journalist got to photograph and tour Puig’s three story Barcelona studio and he created a painting for the reporter which was notedly a special opportunity as Puig works alone in his studio with no company and no music. Puig is not shy about showing outsiders his artistic process however. When his work was featured in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” actor Penelope Cruz studied with Puig before filming to learn more about painting and his painting style. Cruz won an Oscar for her supporting actress role in the film as a painter where she emulated his style, and Puig’s own work was used in the film as Cruz’s character’s work. The LA Times reporter after watching Puig work and being surprised at the speed he was able to create a work of art Puig said to her, “‘When I start a painting, I never know how it will turn out’, Puig said, smiling at my surprise. ‘The worst enemy of a painter is to be bored with his work.’”
“Puig is a lyrical expressionist,” describes Albert Mercadé, Director artístic Fundació Arranz-Bravo. “He employs his open, proactive use of painterly techniques to lighten the tragic tone that reigns in the undergrowth of his art. On the surface, his work is fluid, almost aquatic; the bodies that predominate in these paintings seem to bubble forth from a mercury source. The material that becomes cracked on his painterly surfaces is nearly always presented as congealed liquid frozen in a state of transformation. This is a transformation that has the gift of condensing, at the same time, gravity and lightness. It is as if, during his painterly journey, the artist took as his own the Nietzschean principle according to which tragic art should include play and entertainment in order to express what the German philosopher calls ‘the innocence of becoming.’”
Puig’s work has been and still is revered and admired by so many artists, audiences and galleries all over the world. With his current exhibit, Episodes in Paint, in New York Puig also has work in numerous museums in Barcelona, Spain in general, other galleries in the United States, as well as in Taiwan. He was commissioned to make a sculpture for the Barca Fair Play Award for the FC Barcelona soccer team. The bronze and silver sculpture is given annually by the Barça Players. It has been presented to soccer superstars such as Sergi Roberto, Xavi Hernández. In February 2018, the Puig sculpture was given to soccer legend, Leo Messi. Puig also had the honor of creating a stamp for the 1992 Barcelona olympics.
For anyone curious about Puig’s latest artistic ventures, he has just completed a solo exhibition at the Castell de Vila Seca in Tarragona, Spain, which featured a complete survey of his work, including monumental painting, works on paper and bronze sculpture alongside a collection of ceramic objects from the artist’s personal collection. He currently has exhibitions in Andorra, and Shanghai and New York City.
Puig’s work is featured in many collectors, celebrities and curators own homes who admire his work so much they want a piece of it in their own life.
“Paintings are a mirror to see ourselves.” – Puig