Both the title of the exhibition and the quotation preceding these lines have been taken from the text that the French poet Francis Ponge (1898-1988) wrote during his creative experience in a pine wood that he visited for a year. Le carnet du bois de pins (Pine WoodNotebook) is the poem/diary that emerged from that poetic inquiry. Dated from 7 March 1940 to 22 July 1941, it encompasses all the disquisitions and materials that flow together and attest to his experience: lists of words to check in the dictionary, botanical, agrarian, social or philosophical concepts to clarify, correspondence on the subject, and the numerous versions of the resulting “poetic abscess” with its potential variants. Ponge had set out to “earn” the trust of the forest, “taking it out of the silent world, of death, of irrelevance, to enter(it) into the world ofthe word”. And so, a few days before the preceding note, he had appealed to it in terms of containment and respect: “-I will not develop within you any thought thatis alien to you”, underscoring the nature of his purpose, “I will meditate upon you”. Eight decades after they were written, and about four decades after I first read them, the words of Francis Ponge have returned to me in the pine forests of Julio Blancas, echoing through the nature of all his work.
Julio Blancas is a serious artist, and his work is one of the most serious creative endeavours of our cultural field so far this century. It is a seriousness that has more to do with his attitude towards his work – almost understood as life – than with his own character or that of each particular work, which more often than not elicit reactions of joy and laughter, through admiration, surprise, or pleasure. A seriousness confirmed by three decades of persistent and tireless work to bring to light, without any thought that is alien to it, an essential and transcendent nature that identifies us. And finally, a composed seriousness, through his visceral devotion to graphite and the continuous learning and perfection of all aspects of his craft, which after all shape a science of drawing – “my craft is more scientific than poetic” stated Ponge in one of the letters in the notebook – that has made him a deeply respected artist.