Luis Claramunt: The Vertical Journey
The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) presents a retrospective of Luis Claramunt.
The Vertical Journey traces Claramunt's development across several different media, including paintings, photographs, drawings and self-published books. A self-taught artist, the quality of Claramunt's work is inconsistent. At one end, Claramunt's paintings - for which he is best known - reveal a deft use of colour which has the greatest impact when he fills the whole canvas. On the other end, the photographs of his walks through his native Barcelona are pretty bland; there are plenty of other artists who do exactly this kind of thing and with better results.
Somewhere between his paintings and his photographs are Claramunt's drawings and books. MACBA has chosen to display these pages in several large groups which suggests that the artist didn't spend too much time on these, and neither should you. However, if you consider that David Shrigley has largely made his whole career out of little doodles, it would be a shame do dismiss them so quickly. Shrigley's success is attributable to the fact that (in addition to his humour) he destroys ninety percent of his drawings. Perhaps if the curators at MACBA had whittled Claramunt's sketches down by a similar proportion it would be easier to see the value of this facet of his work. This would also remain true to the stated goal of the exhibition to explore Claramunt's output beyond his celebrated paintings, which otherwise steal the show.