In November of last year, Julio Blancas (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1967), at the behest of the Centro de Arte La Regenta, completed a residency in New Orleans at A Studio in the Woods, a place of work and lodging succinctly described in the name itself, where he lived for six weeks, developing the creative project that led to this exhibition.
During this time, Blancas focused on developing art that was ostensibly tangential to his visual oeuvre, but which has been progressively maturing over the past fifteen years, since his first attempt to design and execute a basic item of furniture: a chair.
The small stool he built then was an object of extreme simplicity and functionality, made out of planks of plywood arranged edgewise to create a solid yet lightweight piece. In reality, he sought only to create a useful household object, and if anything it was reminiscent of Gerrit Rietveld’s designs in the second decade of the twentieth century.
In A Studio in the Wood in Louisiana, the object-chair was approached differently and, as in all Blancas’ work, it would be the result of a process of idea enrichment: how to endow the chair with sound and turn it into an instrument.
Walnuts on the roof is the title Julio Blancas has given to his American experience, and the resulting work was generated not only during his residency but immediately afterwards, upon his return, nourished by reminiscence and his characteristic drive for exactitude. Julio lived in his studio in the wood for six weeks, enveloped by a nature referenced in the title of his work, living alongside the inhabitants of that woodland, like the armadillo that built its nest next to the house, and truly living and breathing this space.
The sound chair created by Julio Blancas during his residency and its rocking chair variation follow the neoplasticist orientation mentioned previously, something that can also be appreciated in his recent sculptures, incorporating sound utility into the backrest of both pieces, which he has turned into a soundbox with a keyboard. He has also filled the rockers of the rocking chair with walnuts that purr when the chair rocks. These pieces have lost that functionality and domestic simplicity and have gained in dimension and sculptural meaning. They incorporate a vital perhaps unrepeatable life experience that they now recount from memory, as we hear the armadillo dragging leaves to its nest.