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Joseba Sánchez Zabaleta


Out there: Out in the open.


Joseba Sánchez Zabaleta takes us there and leaves us alone, naked, in the open. As is the artist always; as is all deep, true and honest art, born of reflection and emotion, the only one that can touch us.

Far from the noise of fashions and passing trends, JSZ has already shown that he is a master of atmospheric expression and the portrait of the aura of the object, but now he goes one step further towards an austere and refined mystique that rises at expressive heights like a Bach cantata. The works gathered in this open sky take us to that outer place where there is no longer any refuge or excuse, showing with all its rawness the desolate space, covered with dust and mud, where the remains of all the lived lives to unveil without concessions the empty face of modernity.

The open sky forces us to look at what we do not want to see, making the invisible visible in a stark manner: the failure and defeat of several generations of inhabitants in this planet where the paradigm of civilization has become a dystopia in which no longer there is a way to hide the marginality, poverty, destruction and abandonment of an era where everything new is consecrated, turning today more and more rapidly into yesterday, while consumerist and the hunger of innovations is accumulate in huge rubble and dumps, islands of garbage, mountains of remains that tell us about our own mark on a world in black and white, in grey ranges, like the celluloid of times gone by. (The cinema, another art determined to catch time to force us to remember).

The chipped wall of the ruined house razed by a bulldozer or a crisis, the humble everyday object, used and therefore loaded with meaning, shout its abandonment in an uninhabited landscape full of humanity. The objects have ceased to belong, and their solitude has freed them. Exposed to the icy wind of the weather that sneaks through those doors without doors, those windows without windows, finally speak to us of the most important thing: their stories. Chairs and armchairs evicted as the remains of food on a plate, crumbs dropped around, the empty can next to the forgotten fork and the human being in the field, present by default. Fly the imagination: Who sat in those chairs? What did you talk about? Who rested in that armchair? Who ate on that plate? Where are you now? What happened to them? The echo of life, like the flow of air in a house in ruins, has become the voice of a ghost that roams the narrow strip open between the world of the living and the dead, ready to tell us a lived story.

And yet, in this empty and ghostly landscape, without melancholy, without concessions, a path appears to the awareness of the real when reality is placed on the footprint left by others, driving us to the search for a common, shared, compassionate memory, a way to hope. The trip proposed by Joseba Sánchez Zabaleta in the open sky exposes us outdoors, where it is easier to breathe. We just must let go ballast and let that cleaner air run through our skin, eyes and memory, to get up from the debris and ashes. Once again. Without fear of shedding everything to get into this open sky, Joseba Sánchez Zabaleta promises us a future where, with light luggage, we can walk through a beautifier, fairer and freer landscape.


Pilar Ruiz

08 AUG 2020