In recent times, especially during the pandemic, Maru Quiñonero, far from her group compositions of combined colors, began to draw solitary and monochrome figures. An aesthetic and reflective exercise that serves as an allegory of a society that, without precedent, was able to unite as a whole moved by loneliness and uneasiness. Maru takes good intentions as iconography and translates them into an arsenal of colors in what may be her most symbolically charged exhibition to date.
During the summer of 2021, she collects and summarizes her ideas around human behavior and the parallelism with her work in 4 simple keys.
We are the product of everything we see and hear, ultimately everything that touches us. And I like to think that, far from being a passive subject, the human being tends to strive to have a voice of his own, a human being who takes care of his critical capacity. Who knows how to interpret information and articulate a thought. I interpret through abstraction and articulate a reasoning from my work. Abandoning my earlier figurative style to embrace abstract art was a somersault with which I was able to express myself better and with greater clarity than with traditional forms.
The exercises of repetition in the pictorial work have always seemed to me a very eloquent resource to refer to the individuality of the human being. The individual in front of society. The individual in society. The reiteration of elements and forms as a simile of people forming a homogeneous whole (community), similar but not exact. I speak of similarity in diversity, of affinity in plurality. Of the individual in the universal.
We are all ‘Well’ refers, precisely, to the feeling of loneliness within the collectivity. A feeling that we have all had at some time as a living being that feels. And that we were able to recognize during the worst months that humanity lived in 2020.
Despite the overwhelming numbers of victims and those affected by Covid-19, I have had the immense luck to pass almost tiptoe by them. But we all have a thousand more or less close stories full of pain and families that have been broken.
The social conscience and the feeling of unity and solidarity that we could all feel for a few weeks between March and June, (in my case, I confess, with a certain innocence because I thought it would be a turning point in this humanity of ours) was based on the interest and concern for our nearest and dearest and the people around us.
And in these fierce times we lived in, we did it in the best way we knew how; in dozens of video calls we had never made before, in long phone calls we never imagined making (or enjoying), mails and WhatsApp messages to our people and even to those with whom we had not crossed a word for ages. And unlike usual, the hackneyed questions “how are you? how are you?”, were uttered with total sincerity. With real interest. They were not empty. Because the threat was the same for everyone. Because fear and uncertainty united us. That’s why the most important thing at the beginning of each of those conversations was to know that we were all WELL. Well in the strictest health sense, being in good health. Well in a broader sense that included impressions of all kinds, emotional, personal, work-related, spiritual.
That unmoderated sense of planetary unity was exciting and made each and every one of us feel part of something. We involuntarily created a community. Imaginary. But a community nonetheless. Even the most skeptical, though perhaps only for a thousandth of a second, inevitably felt part of that worldwide torrent of camaraderie that gradually faded away. Like the applause on the balconies, like our attention to the news and the appearances full of data that began to become redundant.
For a few weeks, each of us, from our individuality, felt part of a whole. And as if it were a kaleidoscope, we were all fundamental. Every piece counted, every color. And as I see it, we managed to draw a prism full of colors. Of all our colors. Of lived stories and shared emotions. An irregular polyhedron in which each one was important in itself. In which each one complemented the other.
Bien’ is an exhibition of 78 drawings where the unique and monocolored form is the protagonist.
But a unique form accompanied. A repertoire of organic forms that are repeated to emphasize the collectivity that defines us. Pure alliteration staged, universal and individual. Because we are all much more alike than we imagine and like to think.
There is not so much genius, individualism or originality when we go beyond mere appearance. All of us, and I am talking about humanity, beyond races, creeds, genders and conditions, are united by a series of basic and intrinsic, primary values,
which appear when we dismantle that rough crust that we insist on inhabiting. We are all so similar that it scares us.
It sometimes happens to me that, as my work speaks so much about me (as I do about it), I feel that it may be biased, that it may be short-sighted. And although it is comforting to look inside oneself, it can also be exhausting and tedious. That is why this exhibition is about others. And I feel that I have grown.
This project is born from the anthropocentric idea that we are not alone although we believe ourselves to be the center of everything. It aims to be a kind of mirror, a positive allegory of society and of the human being. Of the generous human being. It is a dedication to our generosity and nobility.
That is the meaning of ‘Bien’, a great prism in memory of when we were our best version.
Find more in Maru Quiñonero’s new book.
Top left image: Maru Quiñonero gazes over her exhibition layout hours before the presentation. Madrid, 2022. Bottom right image: The artist poses with her book: Maru Quiñonero. Madrid, 2022.