A foundation, an artist is a collection of original engravings by Concha Ibáñez, created on the occasion of the different activities of the Esteve Foundation during its first 25 years.
INTERVIEW TO CONCHA IBÁÑEZ (19 December 2007)
Born in Canet de Mar (Barcelona), this engraving artist studied at La Lonja and at Barcelona’s Academy of Fine Arts. Back in the sixties, she bought her first rolling press for the price of a small car.
Would you consider yourself a landscape artist?
I always wanted to paint landscapes. Those of my generation were into abstract and figurative art, and I would get disapproving looks for painting landscapes. To me, landscapes govern people’s lives. One can’t help being moved by a lonesome tree standing in the midst of the Castilian plain, or by a small house in Andalusia, or by Moroccan or Catalan landscapes, particularly Cap de Creus, Cadaqués and sea places in general. Yes, landscapes are what I like most.
What prompts you to paint a particular landscape?
It must make an impact on me. It’s like with people, some you get along with right away and some you don’t. The same happens to me with landscapes. Man-dominated ones do not interest me. I like harsh landscapes, like the Tarragona countryside or the slate verges in Cadaqués.
Then the colors. How do you choose them?
I think every land has its color. Every city has its light and I’m very interested in landscape lights. There are very bright cities, each with its own atmosphere. Vienna’s light, for example, is hazy and a little mysterious. Colorful as it may be, I would paint it in grey tones to preserve its special atmosphere.
Has engraving been ‘the great forgotten’ in contemporary art?
Surely it has. It’s hard to believe that Barcelona, a city with fine engravers, does not have one single exhibition or gallery specializing in engraving. It may be because it’s cheaper. Today’s world of art is immersed in business and money. No matter how valuable something is, it’s worthless if there’s no money involved. In contrast, when you exhibit abroad they always ask you if you do engraving; if you don’t you won’t be considered as a thorough painter. Engraving is a very important art. Goya and Picasso, for example, were excellent engravers.
What does the engraving technique consist in?
Engraving requires a lot of patience, in these times when people want everything done at once. It is a painstaking, time-consuming technique. You take a plate, apply a varnish layer, draw on it, immerse it into acid, take it out, check it, apply a resin layer… Each nuance requires a new acid immersion, a new observation, acid immersion again and so forth. Some engravings are a constant struggle. I’ve always said that painting and engraving are fights you must win, because materials will always resist you.
Who are your artistic influences?
I think Velázquez is the thoroughest painter ever. He mastered everything. Take a close look at his painting ‘The Spinners’ at the Prado Museum, and see how he painted air. Painting air is very difficult. Then Piero della Francesca. These are my favorite two because they mastered composition, air, atmosphere. Unique artists indeed.
Do science and art have anything in common?
Yes, they do. A lot. The essence of things, to start with. Many poets, for instance, are very much interested in science, but there’s no way they can transmit that. This is also true from the scientist’s view. Art and science really interest those who have a special sensitivity, those who not only look at what can be seen, but also at what’s behind.