Crown me with roses,
Crown me really
With roses -
Roses which burn out
On a forehead burning
So soon out!
Crown me with roses
And with fleeting leafage.
That will do.
— Fernando Pessoa
Simchowitz is proud to present Cesc Abad: The Forest of Estrangement, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Cesc Abad developed his artistic practice in secret, a travail which involved constructing a false-wall in his Barcelona office, where he worked after everybody else had gone home. Abad’s colleagues teased him for “the wall,” but for years none knew what lay behind.
Behind the wall, Abad was building a body of work, experimenting in ceramics, photography, painting, and videos, often depicting animals in verdantly forested scenes, hooves and paws wading in bosky little streams. Past a dreary office life, Abad fantasized about a generous nature and forest friends – a mise en scène inspired by the Catalonian Pyrenees.
Forest of Estrangement contains artworks from Abad’s newest series, Suddenly, the Last Summer, which introduces the human character to his compositions. Abad calls his figure cicerone – a guide, there to escort the viewer through the mystical. The artist brings an intense respect and a careful brushstroke to the plant and animal life, leaving his plucky cicerone and his companions partially clothed, diminutive at scale, lost in the woods.
For Abad, like the Brothers Grimm, Dante, and Sondheim, The Woods represents a liminal space – a suspension of belief and scrambling of narrative (if not one’s own coordinates.) Abad’s forest is hallucinatory yet indecisive, situating the events contained within as figments, fables, or parables – not as the Audubon glossary. Things are different in the woods.
Cesc Abad (b. 1973) lives and works in Spain.