The Metamorphose of Ovidio tells that Arachne, famous because of her purple dyeing, was a so skilful weaver that even the beautiful Athena could not compete with her. When an embroidery cloth, with Olimpo's love affairs motifs, was presented to her, the Goddess could not find a single defect and she tore out the cloth. The Cretan princess, horrified, hang herself, and Athena was transformed into a spider, the insect she hated the most, and the rope into a spider’s web which the insect-woman used to save herself. This ancient rivalry between the sea rulers and the citizens of Athens has been settled in the memory of humankind
gods and goddesses let their footprints changed into archaeologies that are our Mediterranean inheritance trying to survive a fragmented culture.
As Arachne, Gorky hang himself in his granary at Connecticut, Rothko stuffed himself with barbiturates and cut his veins in the bath, at his New Yorker home; both were victims of the memory of gods. Those were poor deaths; however they spread splendour and purple into their art.
In 1997 Jesús Galdón (Barcelona 1967) received a grant from the State to achieve his project "El oráculo de Aracne” (Arachne's Oracle) which brought him to trail the primary energy of Rom, Istanbul, Delphos and Tarragona looking for the signs that led the Mediterranean cultures to their bright mediocrity. His meditation after this journey has something to do with "arachnophilia" because, as many artists who proved that weaving could be a means to educate women as the "ideal feminine", both as a resistance weapon and as a source of creativity, Galdón thinks that the weave for the creation of a culture is something socially built, unstable, that leads to new lectures and critics because its "edges" provoke discussions.
At the René Métras Gallery, Galdón plays wisely with the lights and shadows of the history of Painting (In his work Durer's Adam and Eve are always present), and he re-explains conceptually with a calligraphy that reminds of Perejaume -and of course of Brossa- with his gold leaves, his painted photographs in the open air, or with his writing of light (of the world, of the origins) and his metonymic games, in a deep and well assimilated Catalan conceptual school -Agut, Colomer, Aballi-; or his Biblical references to the myth of Paradise. A stair that leads to the infinite "how to draw the line of horizon" or Magritte's Communion represented by a white suit made of canvas, with aquarelles in its lapel; frames that sift white paint powder, with the word "Poema" (poem) written with sieves on the wall. Another artwork shows two confronted pieces -the endless inner self- one of them is a mirror, in front of it we look at ourselves; behind our back, the past comes through a reticule made with manipulated photographs of umbilical cords (Athena could lose her mind for it!) At the middle of this immersion into History, we find the man who paved the "Via Apia", because, even into the nature of ruins, we must look for an irregular geometry.
The white as a regenerating principle is the subject matter for this reflexive and optimistic work, because Galdón deals with the promise of a better world. The concept of transmutation suggests that Arachne's "weave" belongs to the future as well as to the past.
ABC, 17th June 2000