To place Jesús Galdón in a certain generational or geographic context is an impossible task. He has always been a solitary in permanent dialogue with the great pictorial tradition. On the other hand, he conceives his exhibitions as installations, and we almost would say that he prefers to spread his work in archaeological environments instead of in contemporary art galleries.

What is more, his subterranean currents, what we could call using a musical simile the “basso continuo” of his work, refer to cultural memory and to the peculiar way in which man has woven what we could agree to call tradition.

Galdón is an artisan-artist, in the most generous sense of the word artisan, because being able to be classified as a post-conceptual, the well finished perfection on every material (wood, paper, fabric, marble, steel, etc.) and every detail is due to his own virtuosity. At an intellectual level, we could try to find referents into the rich baroque’s ideological programs, as his installations -his works are not series, but are conceived or are recycled just to be part of ephemeral installations- represent “per se” a real ideological and aesthetic treatise on the creative act itself.

Galdón imagines the Roman temple columns as umbilical cords disconnected from the sky, from an invisible other world still present around us. The ability in order to read the invisible time and space turns him into the archdeacon of his own eclecticism.

In 1999 he carried out an action entitled The toy of Gods, where his four-year-old son pedalled a tricycle which front wheel was an ink rolling pad with Durer’s images of Adam and Eve. The result, the itinerant caprice of a ludic child, was a multicoloured constellation over the artistic tradition, but it was too a brilliant demonstration of the divine chance on creativity and tradition.

And for his first solo exhibition, at the René Metras Gallery in Barcelona, he conceived an installation with white pieces, among which Magritte’s Communion suit stands out. Around it, tondi such as Al mig no hi ha ombra (2000) (There is no shadow in the middle) remind a huge sacred host where faith in art does not leave any room for doubts or dogmatisms.

And as a post-Council equivalent, in 2002, Jacinto Verdaguer’s death anniversary, Galdón was commissioned to create an installation at the Church of Sant Felipe Neri in Barcelona, a space connected with Gaudi too, where he used to confess daily before going to work at La Sagrada Familia Church. To that purpose, he pressed a series of papers against the stones of the quarries frequented by both genius; and he used them to cover an inverted Gaudi’s way structure along the Church corridor. As a result: a corridor of time built with the memory of man and the stones used by the man himself. A masterly work, which title How to deconstruct the landscape in order to read it give us the hermeneutics key.

In July 2004, he exhibited in Cadaqués 2 Gallery –heir to the mythical Cadaqués of Lanfranco Bombelli- an exhibition entitled De cómo dibujar la linea del horizonte (How to draw the line of horizon). There were no framed works hanging on the wall. On the contrary, a huge canvas stretcher turned its back on the observer just to lead him to three doors into a big frame. After this stretcher we could glimpse an inner cage where hangs a small retrospective on the subject of the limit or horizon –in every sense of the word- of appearances and artistic language.

A huge cloud, made with the same material of these painting stretchers, floated like a submarine from beyond the sea. A model vehicle, an alternative to other less famous attempts that wanted to go beyond the line of horizon, such as the Cyrano de Bergerac one –represented in this exhibition-, who tried to reach the moon by binding himself with a lot of bottles filled with dew: at dawn, the bottles should come back home, rising upwards; or the one of the pre-pubescent Lewis Carroll’s Alice, a desire-dealer between one side and the other side of the horizon-mirror.

If Duchamp discovered the false bottom of the cupboard, where his Mariée was hidden, Galdón brings conceptualism onto the Baroque of Alciati, Piranesi and the sacred Conversations of the Counter-Reformation. He plays with geographic, gender and physical borders.

And there is no better place such as an archaeological Museum crammed with clay or marble strangers, and remains of anonymous objects, to display his aesthetic corpus. After The memory of Gods (2000) at the Tarragona’s archaeological Museum, in summer 2006 he presented in the Catalunya’s Archaeological Museum a demonstration devoted to Antinous or the circular history. Based on 36 photographs of sculptures from six archaeological Museums around the Mediterranean Sea, Galdón had the intention of establishing the unity of the human spirit, far away from secret ways and affinities between time and place.

Finally, we have Galdón recycling his own work to shelter new realities. He restructured the triple entrance of the Cadaqués Dos Gallery into a single, ajar door, a canvas-door to be more precise, under the following epigraph La Rivoluzione siamo noi –a title stolen from Beuys 1972-, just to cross it the other way around towards las Meninas de Velázquez.

The language borders that Galdón uses do not involve the dissolution of the syntagm as Hugo von Hoffmanstal wrongly interpreted in his famous letter to Lord Chandos, neither the sterility of the misunderstood nominalism, just like two confronted mirrors without any referent. Galdón resumes his work as a door that represents a door which is a door. And as a theoretical basis he uses the wonderful treaty 175 carpentry models by Anselmo Rodríguez Hernández (CEAC 1966) where we could infer that each wood door countains one or more frames. By the way, one of these 175 models is the opened door at the end of the painting Las Meninas

Ricard Mas, Historian, art critic, exhibition curator.
Pintura española. Nuevas tendencias
Ed. Carroggio