Things of today and now

Jaume Vidal · El País · 22 June 2000

Modest Almirall, in the Segovia Isaacs gallery presents a group of works that at first sight seem to contain no human representation. Yet coming closer we discover some tiny characters that speak to us of life and how we live it. Their disproportionate size on the canvas is in no way an impediment to their speaking to us of those things we live in the here and now.  Modest Almirall, (Ca N’Aguilera, Barcelona, 1959) produces paintings that speak of the person. To do so, he uses large colour surfaces that represent not only physical spaces, but also moods, states of mind. In these landscapes, Almirall draws tiny figures. So tiny that he paints them with a needle and with the help of a magnifying glass. This most highly detailed work is reminiscent of his career as a enameller.” The detail with which I paint these characters is my tribute to that which is human in the face of the immensity of the great questions of life” says the artist. The sensation of solitude, with which the protagonists appear to be imbued in his pictures, is seen though in a slightly different way by the painter. “Rather than solitude, it is the growing individualism of modern-day society.” The small scale of the figures also works as a resource for the artist in enabling him to lead us towards a double reading of his paintings, which at a distance appear to be abstract and geometric works. The artist sets his tiny figures within constructions that deny any orthodox perspective, giving them a great symbolic value. Thus the figures within the roofless construction speak to us of immigration. Those moving round a large cylindrical piece speak of the way in which misunderstandings tend to repeat themselves in relationships. Almirall also presents a series that focuses on open spaces inspired by the Plaça dels Angels, in front of MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona). “Plazas have always attracted me; those places where diverse people cross and meet”.