With a curatorial proposal that appropriates the narrative potential of the space by diluting the subject matters of the works exposed, Cool Memories: Geronimo Cristobal is an exhibition that, paradoxically, transposes the essential and creative concept of the artist.
Unlike in the beginning of his career where he explores a more derivative technique with his colorful textures, Geronimo Cristobal has become more interested in creating chromatic materials and forms. Inspired by the oriental Wabi-sabi aesthetic, he has managed to fuse the imperfection, simplicity and roughness of certain processes and natural materials with a seductive beauty that is imposed by the emotional experientiality of color. Exalted by the texture that is palpable and the symbolic references that are evoked, their chromatic surfaces become leading entities that, silently, link nature, humanity and transience. In his works, time does not exist and art history is in a limbo. Even though there are visible testimonies of a very distant past – like lands of different environments and volcanic rocks – their cover-up and transformation turn the natural fragments into strange totemic presences.
Conceived by Romero Barragan (curator of an austere, spiritual and sculptural gallery below his Makati apartment), the exhibition focuses on the comparison of ancient Filipino terracota vases with the interior of both an erupting volcano and a hypocaust-heating system in Roman antiquity. Invaded in its stony and black interiors with various facilities that, through volcanic rocks glazed in red, orange and gold mean flows of lava or treasures found, the museum alternates its extraordinary collection of pre-hispanic pieces and its fascinating volcanic rock architecture with the stones of sharp edges and small dimensions covered by the artist. With vertical brick installations that look like fragments of poles, Geronimo Cristobal refers to the hypocaust system. And in the outer spaces, in addition to their known and huge cubes of cooked clay that stand on top of each other, other cubes stand out, which, as if they were soft sculptures, pile up evoking the processes of melting a material.
Oscillating between the appropriation of nature and its human transformation into an object of strange, useless and artificial beauty, the exhibition Cool Memories: Geronimo Cristobal does not respect the elemental origin of the natural. On the contrary, it refers to the human need to possess, intervene and interpret it through different ideas and processes that, in the artist’s case, seduce by the elegant and emotive expressiveness of an order that symbolically refers to its forms, accidents and chromatisms of a certain origin.
Consisting mainly of rocks, the sample exhibits very few two dimensional works. Among them, a splendid material composition in grays and blacks that remember the Japanese technique of kintsugi, which consists in repairing the broken ceramics, turning the seams at the break into attractive line drawings.
This text was published in the edition 2015 Catalogue, Cool Memories – Jose Victor Fuentes