a feeling of if (textos)

William James

“We ought to say a feeling of and, a feeling of if, a feeling of but, and a feeling of by, quite as readily as we say a feeling of blue or a feeling of cold. We ought to, but we don’t—or at least, we don’t quite as readily. But the more you do, the more quickly you can recognize the feeling when it comes around again, and hopefully you won’t need to stare as long.”

― Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

A feeling of if
Arniches 26
Calle Carlos Arniches 26

Feb 6 – 14


Bailar Pintar es, en definitiva,
dejarse caer, es la combinación
de estas dos ideas («dejarse» y «caer»).
En medio de la caída está la danza pintura

– Lucas Condró y Pablo Messiez

Alberto Ruiz Villar and I met at my bookshop, Desperate Literature, talking about books, the city and, if at all of painting, a feeling of if – the William James line I’d encountered in Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. It was the title given to a recently finished painting, coming about after having sat there looking at the thing somewhat despondent, maybe even shamefacedly. Everything about it was wrong. It was too heavy, unbalanced, bulky. Until, after about ten minutes with it, at some uncertain point a shift occurred and with a new certainty I began removing paint with a cloth, blurring edges and pulling it all back. For that brief moment, I felt what I later learned could only be described as a feeling of if. Hardwired into something beyond myself, which faltered and left almost as quickly as it had come.

I’d been a fan of Alberto’s paintings and collages for a while and collaborating with artists that have a more formal, maybe architectural, line about their work interests me a great deal. It brings a balance, it challenges me to think differently and so it was pretty clear to me that the show should be with the two of us, together, combining our need for literature, the feeling of if, and, finally, music.

As the painting from which this show takes its name was taking shape I had been listening to a few different things – some Slow Meadow, Nigel Kennedy, CHINAH – the music you’ll find if you use the Spotify code on the desk or click the following link, so it felt important to include a shared playlist. Not just because when I was making these pieces I was listening to this music nor even because I want the viewer of our show in Arniches 26 to ‘step into’ our studio spaces, if just for a second, but because the word moving through painting and painting moving through the body, that feeling of connection and possibility, is for me what is captured by this simple phrase: a feeling of if.

Terry Craven, 2021
IG: @terryacraven

El término catalán para pereza es mandra, es una palabra que me gusta mucho. Para algunos artistas es habitual sentir pereza cuando se trata de hablar de pintura (quina mandra!) y uno siempre acaba hablando de Franz Kline, de cuando dijo aquello de: ‘Si pudiera explicarlo no lo pintaría’. Pero si tenemos que hablar de pintura, yo les diría que escuchen poco, es mejor experimentarla, no se dejen intimidar: mirénla, mejor: véanla. Con Terry no hemos hablado casi nunca de pintura. Hemos hablado de libros, de Leeds, de Madrid… en cuanto a las formas y colores, nos hemos limitado a compartirlos sin palabras. Con esta exposición A feeling of if pretendemos confrontarla, la pintura, poner las piezas unas delante de las otras para que se ayuden. Toda la pintura tiene el mismo origen, eso es seguro, el problema es que es un origen desconocido. A veces surge en formas orgánicas, como en el trabajo de Terry, en colores posibles. Esa desconexión entre nuestros trabajos me ayuda a confrontar la pintura. No hay estilos ni etiquetas, hay verdad o impostura. Espero que los disfruten. ¡Muchas gracias!

Alberto Ruiz Villar, 2021
IG: @a.ruizvillar