“Cosmoarte is a cosmic trembling of things”
Posterity undeniably sifts the work of every artist that, having been contemplated and understood in life under the conditions and circumstances of the everyday, following their death, will begin to be appreciated through the lens of increasingly removed criteria, tastes, fashions, or concerns. Over the next few years, friends and lovers of art throughout the Canary Islands and particularly in Tenerife should feel moved to review, reconstruct, rethink, and re-evaluate in all its dimensions the life and work of painter Pedro González (San Cristóbal de la Laguna, 1927 – 2016), who would have been 100 in five years’ time. And not only in the face of a foreseeable celebration of this centennial; we should be motivated, above all, because the work that González created in his tremendous dedication to painting for more than half a century is no longer the responsibility of anyone in particular but of the society that received it, which recognised and acquired it, incorporating it into domestic life, exalting it disproportionately within institutional life: a cultural artefact and heritage of the art collecting world in the Canary Islands that does not deserve to be abandoned to inertia.
No one doubts the importance of Pedro González in the evolution of contemporary painting in the Canary Islands: alongside Millas, Manrique, and De Vera, he is one of the most important figures in the second half of the 20th Century. However, the posterity of his work does not bode well, afflicted with insular weaknesses that a systematic approach should be able to reverse.
Six years have passed since the painter’s death, and his active presence in the artistic and cultural life of the Canary Islands for more than half a century, whose lights and shadows still reach us today, together with his “incombustible productivity” (Ángel Sánchez dixit) glimpsed through a staggering body of work between the mid-20th Century and the year 2011, remain significant obstacles to be able to gauge his contribution and transcendence in the development of Spanish art in the second half of the 20th century. Overcoming these obstacles will undoubtedly be a matter of time, but as far as knowledge of his work is concerned, the relative immediacy of his centenary offers an ideal opportunity to revisit his work right to its very core, which should, after all, be the basis of his well-deserved ensuing posterity. The unexpected coincidence in 2022 of two exhibitions dedicated to the work of Pedro González, promoted by private cultural spaces open to the public in his hometown – one presented by Arte LM Colección exploring Icerse and the preambles of Cosmoarte and the other one presented now by Galería Artizar – would suggest that such an endeavour is tacitly underway.
Contributing to the recovery of Pedro Gonzalez’s catalogue and knowledge of his work is one of the aims of this exhibition, composed of works created in pastels, monotypes, paintings, gouaches, and lithographs made between 1954 and 1985, exploring his early work (Icerse ) and the extensive subsequent cycle with which he firmed up his own diction (Cosmoarte), since both are justified by two deterministic and unique aspects of his creative intention: the search for a style, in other words for a pictorial identity; and the elusive, disturbing, and drawn-out process of giving human form, female form to be precise, to the smear on the canvas. Just between the two origins, the official start of his oeuvre and the origin of the pictorial world that came from it, we find Estremecimiento (Trembling) at Galería Artízar, an encounter with the early work of painter Pedro González.
Carlos E. Pinto