STANDARD COLORS / COLORS STANDARD—
18.12.2021 – 26.02.2022
adn galería, Barcelona
STANDARD COLORS / COLORS STANDARD presents a selection of unpublished works, photographs, and videos, made by Jordi Colomer over the last three years. The walls of Mexico City, a secondary road in Chile, windmills in La Mancha, and an industrial zone in Barcelona are the scattered settings for these modest individual actions where spaces are transformed temporarily by the use of color as a mediating element.
Jordi Colomer aims to outwit the authority of codes and representations by using simple pieces of paper; classrooms move to the street, traffic distorts, and through concrete actions, myths find their alternatives defying standard models.
•Regarding the origin of these works, Colomer pinpoints a visit to the house-studio of the architect Barragán in Mexico City –a paradigmatic example of the use of color in architecture– and the encounter with the geometric paintings of Josef Albers hanging on its walls. The abstractions by Albers present at the house, belong to the series Homage to the Square and it was the German artist himself who, on one of the many trips that Josef and Annie Albers made to Mexico, fascinated by pre-Columbian art, offered them as a gift to his friend Barragán. The Mexican architect made reproductions of the paintings through mechanical impressions, perhaps to resize them and scale the images to the room accordingly. Even though the copies are displayed in the house, the original paintings remain hidden in the archive. As a pedagogue and theorist, this use of printed paper was also familiar to Albers who proposes its use instead of the mixture of paint in "Interaction of Color" (1963), one of the most important books on the study of color and a classic of art education. The book provides exercises around the principles of color such as relativity, intensity, temperature, or optical illusions; exercises that Colomer himself had practiced as a student.
After visiting Barragán's house-studio, Colomer proposes to reinterpret the "Interaction of Color" exercises freely, this time outside the classrooms, in the context of the street. For this, he stocked with colored construction paper found in the store closest to his house, with a unique chromatic repertoire popularly used in Mexico for signs, advertisements, or decoration. The new exercises were improvised during walks in which pieces of paper were placed against colored walls. In the photographs, captured by auto-timer, the presence of the artist participating in the process records the will to silently integrate into the city, fantasizing about an occupation, an unavoidable task, a work syndrome. These images, which make up the Standard MEX (2019) series, show a chain of random encounters that contaminate the abstract, purely optical exercises, with doses of urban reality. It is also a proposal for a color chart that investigates a certain stereotype of "the Mexican".
This questioning about the construction of imagery taking the city as the territory to invent solitary occupations, also appears in the series El Dorado (2019). Made during the same period in Mexico City, this work also responds to a dynamic of exploration of the citýs susceptibility for diverse interpretations: "a foreigner" –the artist himself– begins the search for El Dorado, or Lo Dorado (the golden), this time with tools of our day. There is nothing heroic about the expedition that consists simply of locating the places that bear that same name on a digital map of the city, continuing on the indicated route, and photographing them in full light: making them visible. In this case, El Dorado is not a single place, it is plural and eccentric, concrete, humble. The richness that its name evokes in the various settings seen in the photos –party rooms, picnic areas, restaurants– lies in its virtues of convening, gathering, and celebrating.