The first thing we have to understand when we look at the works by Xavier Escribà and Teo Soriano is the importance of the medium; the second is that the medium is precisely the only thing that counts in their works. We could say that their oeuvre is the visual embodiment of the famous maxim that the Canadian Marshall McLuhan immortalised exactly 50 years ago: “The medium is the message”. Some might think that this declaration is still irreverent today.
We really don’t have to look for much more. When we stand before the works by these two artists, what we see, what the artist’s intention is, is to draw us into the basic inherent materiality that shapes and makes up the work itself. Somehow, it is a return to a kind of primitive gesture stripped of any civilising veneer. It is that simple and yet that complex. And even that irreverent.
Though common in art, the materials they use, the true protagonists of their works, end up taking the spectator by surprise because of both the alterations they have undergone and the total denial of the traditional hierarchy in the way they are used. Elements which might traditionally be considered superfluous, like a piece of packaging or a fabric remnant, a worthless scrap of wood or layers of excess pigment, suddenly take on a personality of their own. What was previously inert or invisible now comes to life and becomes visible. Some people might find that irreverent.
It is true that the viewer might feel disconcerted by what they experience visually, but what brings them to submission and captivates them is a veritable exercise in revelation. The narrative logics that people sometimes expect to find in art are surprisingly transcended here and transformed into a struggle between contrasting dynamics: reason and order versus instinct and rapture. The spectator is encouraged to let themselves be carried away by the energy and impetus that emerges from this astonishing, balanced struggle. Which is surely too irreverent for some people.
The result of this collision brings us bold assemblages of wood, metal and paper in the case of Teo Soriano, along with paintings that resemble uniform colour fields from a distance but which up close look like an ambiguous and enigmatic universe of irregularities and violations, deliberate perforations and flaws which bring texture to the work and smooth out the tragedy inherent in the act of being irreverent. This annihilation is, in fact, the creative process that lays at the root of Xavier Escribà’s works. His initial method is to arrange and calibrate since he works in layers of paint following a specific numerical order – an order that ends up giving way to alteration. In its final phase, the work becomes creased, perforated, harmed, injured. This intimate, private process of destruction is nothing other than a reordering, an edification of a streamlined, renewed presence that will evoke what it bears inside.
Creating and re-creating, inside and outside, calm and violence, the Apollonian and the Dionysian, all of these amalgamated make up the universe of these artists, their medium, their message… an irreverent message.
Marc Domènech Tomàs