Theorist and painter, Jordi Isern has given his life to art. For him, painting is a way to celebrate human nature as part of a whole. His sensual explorations of touch and sound invite us into a silent, serene contemplation of the real.
A dialogue between fragments of experience, his most recent exhibition ‘Origin’ is a trilogy that encourages an opening of our singular bodies to a wider landscape, catapulting us into undreamed-of worlds.
Where does the human need for artistic creation originate?
I believe that we are born with a great feeling of lack that makes us forget the most important thing: that we are part of a whole. We spend our lives trying to solve the mystery of existence. Art works as a medium through which these eternal questions can be posited.
Your approach is more from an Eastern Buddhist perspective, according to which art is a vehicle to emptiness and a way to connect with a more intuitive knowledge.
For me painting is an excuse to experiment with the Void. I use art to touch reality and I see the creative process as an open door to experience communion with the Whole.
What can you tell us about the creative experience?
In the past I used to feel like a hunter in my studio, stalking the work like prey, I waited for the piece to arise out of the many possibilities. But lately I don’t feel an active part of the work as much as a witness to it.
My body has changed, thus my approach to my work has changed too. Whereas in the past my body used to take an active part in the creative process, these days creation is for me a much more contemplative practice.
You talk about Nature as another way to experience reality. What do you mean by “getting close to the elements”?
Nature brings so many inputs that it’s easy to come out of yourself and follow the sensorial rhythm that surrounds you. The mind stops and you let your body celebrate contemplation and feel the thrill of communion with all things.
The human body always appears in your work, even fragmented: a head without a face, a bust, a hand…
Even though I’ve always felt more at ease working with abstraction, I definitely need the body as a starting point. I want to talk about human beings, make my personal homage to human resistance and the will to live.
How do you go from the idea you want to communicate to the plastic work?
I’m interested in the viewer’s approach to the work. From far away, there’s a certain perception of the volume that changes as you get closer to an ambiguous space (created by superimposing formal elements), until you finally face the very skin of the paint.
The exhibition ‘Remember where you go’ — in your own words — “depends on chance, on the circumstances and possibilities of the room”. Music and low diffused lighting superimpose onto the senses. What does this space suggest?
I investigate new ways to look at painting. In this case the viewers wander amongst the works laying on the floor, in the shadows. I invite them to dive with their own body into a more active presence. I try to change their view by letting go of formal elements while flowing into more global sensations. I want to create an atmosphere that drives a certain mental state towards a more ritual, spiritual dimension.