The Beauties and the Beast

/ 23 November, 2014

I think it was about eight years ago that, for the first time, I saw a work by Mabel Poblet in a tribute exhibition to Antonia Eiriz in Galería Servando. (…)

At the time, Mabel had appropriated La anunciación (The Annunciation), a frightful painting, a painting of future, of paranoia, of fear, and had dynamited it in a fragmentary whole. The painting, however, did not escape, as explosions do: the annunciation was all there and, what is most interesting, it looked beautiful.

As a child, I had met Antonia Eiriz, or rather I had known Ñica, as everyone called her. (…)

One day, one of her papier maché students asked why she did not paint again and the answer was forever etched in my memory. I do not remember it exactly, but she said something as why would she go on painting if she only painted monsters. (…)

In Galería Servando, La anunciación was revealed to me in a different way: the beast, in fact, could be beautiful. I might be wrong, but since then I have only seen Mabel Poblet’s oeuvre from that angle. It was very simple: Mabel was talking about terrible things in a very beautiful way.

From the beginning, behind that beauty which seemed to be purely formal, there almost always was, I believe, a pain or, at least, so as not to sound tragic, an existential dissatisfaction, unease for what was lost, a lack of fulfillment.

Her work grew with her, from what was self-referential and family memory to the outer world. From the fragments forming a figure to a figure stuck inside a fragment. Childhood, memory and growth gave way to dilemmas alien to her. (…)

Some days ago I saw a new series that puzzled me, because it was the first time that political reality, history, the country, emigration, appeared in her work. The series is entitled Patria (Fatherland); she had already exhibited some of her first pieces in Galería Odalys in Madrid. (…)

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