Electric Poet – Pep Llambias
Prior to the feverish jostling and politicking that accompanied the birth of Suprematism and the wild acts of Dada’s chief iconoclast Marcel Duchamp, Kasmir Malevich, under the radically less recognised “ism” – Fevralism, was making “word and verse images” that shared something of Dada’s conceptual insurrection. Prior to the 0’10 exhibition, “the Russian avant-gardist went from being a painter to being an ontologically oriented artist….” (Black Square, Malevich and the Origin of Suprematism, Aleksandra Shatskikh, 2012) In search of a “party-line” freed from the representational covenants of 19thcentury painting, Malevich’s Fevralist works moved him further away from the object and via language towards an “objectlessness”.
The “word & verse” sculptures of Pep Llambias, fashioned from steel, wood, stone and light share strands of Malevich’s metaphysical enquiries though they are very much of our material world. Llambias’s materials might form both a support structure for text or indeed the letters themselves. As objects they might sit out from the wall at jaunty angles or sit flat to the wall, but always their arrangement, scale and disposition transforms them into artworks that speak to languages’ visual and phonic possibilities. There is little of Malevich’s resistance in his phrases, none of the cutting wit of Christopher Wool nor the shrewd slogans of Barbara Kruger, nor the loaded political commentary of Jenny Holzer for that matter. In Llambias’s hands, words aren’t hounded by narrative and ambition, rather they are set free to float on a gentle updrafts of poetry and vision
It is as if one absorbs the shape or composition moments before comprehending the text and just seconds before detecting its phonic echo. As a poem has form and rhythm, cadence and shape so to do the sculptures of Pep Llambias. We are free to see them, hear them, discern them, feel them, all in a wonderfully sensate melee.
There is an undeniably romantic nature to the words Llambias assembles. This quixotic character becomes a trigger for the viewer that sets our minds free in pursuit of an idea, a feeling, an illusion, a dream. That such a range of metaphorical journeys are encouraged by a familiar font, crafted in plywood and steel or shaped in neon speaks to the mysteries of language, the seduction of sound and the joy found in colour and light.
COLLECTIONS AND MUSEUMS
“La Caixa” Foundation. Barcelona, Spain.
Col-lecció. Testimoni “The Caixa”. Spain.
Palma de Mallorca Town Hall, Mallorca, Spain.
Ministry of Culture of the Balearic Government. Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Ajuntament d’Es Migjorn Gran Menorca, Spain.
Fons. of the Museu D’art contemporani de Mallorca. Sa Pobla, Spain.
EFM of Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Sant Joan de Labritja Town Hall. Ibiza, Spain
Ministry of Environment, Spain.
Ajuntament d’Inca. Mallorca, Spain.
MAPFRE. Balearic headquarters. Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
ES BALUART. Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
JUMEX Collection. Mexico.
ARTWENTY Collection. Madrid, Spain.
Andreas Ernst Collection. Switzerland.
Caja Murcia Collection. Murcia, Spain.
BASMA AL SULAIMAN. Museum of Contemporary Art. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Fox Jensen would like to thank Xavier Fiol whose warm and generous introduction to the work of Pep Llambias has occasioned this project. Xavier’s enthusiasm and assistance are greatly appreciated.
Of course, we would like to thank Pep for his openness and spirit. We welcome Pep and Xavier to Sydney in early February.