Taking its name from Franz Kafka’s famous story published in 1915, Metamorphosis presents almost 100 works produced by Miquel Barceló between 2015 and 2020. The selection at Museo Picasso Málaga will include paintings, works on paper, ceramics, notebooks and bronzes.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a selection of more than 30 ceramics whose main feature is their colourfulness and constantly transforming shapes – lacerated, fragmented and pierced – in which we can see figurative elements that hint at plants and aquatic creatures and suggest tongues, petals, fins and leaves, and which, at times, have anthropomorphic features. Amongst these works are the Totems, a new series of large-format ceramics made from superimposed blocks that are reminiscent of classical architecture and characters from mythology. Metamorphosis also includes a small selection of large-format paintings from several recent series, including previously unshown landscapes of almond trees in flower, nocturnal and marine paintings, a burnt-looking self-portrait, and pictures with relief forms of animals that hark back to cave paintings.
Metamorphosis also contains a selection of travel notebooks used in Thailand and India, countries that Barceló has visited frequently over the past few years, along with two series of watercolours painted in both these Asian countries and which feature heightened colour and an idealized world, evocative of myths and legends.
For the Majorcan artist, ceramics, painting and drawing are variations or experiments on a whole: “Each work is experimental: each work is a trial run for another one which will probably never exist. I think this is as true of my painting as my ceramics – or any other thing I make”. The exhibition, curated by Enrique Juncosa, focuses on the one hand on the wandering, cultural condition of the artist and, on the other, on a critical understanding of modernity as a project whose progress is boundless.