Exposición en Manuel Baeza- Alicante Septiembre-Octubre 1995

Felisa Martínez Andrés


The Municipal Gallery of Exhibitions in Alicante presents to us now the works by the Valencia artist Francisca Mompó. I sincerely think that her works are worth special attention.

Francisca Mompó's commitment to art is utterly personal, nothing to do with conventionality. For her, the work of art does not mean anything and simply is. It tries to be a part of history and a seed for the future. With this clear objective and her renowned tenacity, she runs the gauntlet of the art's difficult ways.

A constant string of exhibitions have forged a distinct style, from her first group exhibition in 1980 up to the present time. The personality of this artist is interesting because of her role as continuator of the Spanish matteric informalism of the 50s and 60s. When informalism had long fallen into disgrace and research into it was forgotten by most artists, Francisca Mompó bravely stood up for a style seemingly exhausted. But precisely the research into the old technical resources and the aesthetical criteria are the main intention and a consequence of its progress. As she herself stated in 1992 on her exhibition in Espais Centre d'Art Contemporani: "I don't want to invent, I want to carry out research that defies time". Like other painters of the 80s, apart from looking for models based on the outside with which to do research, she feels the nostalgic weight of the Spanish Baroque, in the same way as Barceló endured it in his still-lifes or Valdés and Soledad Sevilla did in the Meninas.

With a clear inclination towards matteric expressivity, she invites the audience to the simple, but nonetheless full, epidermic appreciation. She rediscovers the wax and the coaltars. Francisca Mompó's pictures, in Michele Dalmace Rognon's words, "show a bipolarity of time and space. Francisca Mompó's works raises the problem of today's art, not only by means of the cultural memory of the analysis of a tradition capable of renovation. It is bases upon dualities, poetical ups and downs, from the constructived action to chaos, from violence to mystery, in defiance of inertia and banalization".

Her dark paintings exorcize and keep locked between the asphaltic masses, in paintings like "Ferragano", the anonymity of their most intimate secrets. Surrounding materials, suggestive, mysterious, rotund canvasses, so forceful as to be evocative of the crudes Spanish tenebrism and expresionism.

In these pictures where the dense colour and the velvety brightness of the matter seep, there is a much bigger emotional force which has transformed itself into emblem and symbol of Francisca Mompó's symbol.

These black and white matteric pictures possess the mark of the matter that Francisca Mompó has developed since one of her best exhibitions, held in the art gallery Fandos, now unfortunately gone. Francis¬ca Mompó has shown since her origins the fervour she feels for sobriety, for undecorated painting and for deeply tragic expressive matter. It is difficult painting one can only get to grips with by means of a slow and meditated aesthetical contemplation.

Figuration in this artist's works is reduced to the simple and spontaneous presence of hermetic footprints that slyly blur their way all over the surface of some of her pictures that tear the cold staticity of her most geometrical compositions, widely chromatic at the same time. The pictorial gesture, the composition have ended up being something commonly recognizable and therefore are the artist's visiting card.

When an artist works for years on the same idea, it looks as if time carne to a standstill, but this is something that does not affect this artist. She does research and goes on working in spide of having attained precisely with her black and white series a style that marks her. Working with ancient techniques, such as encaustic painting —a technique that originated in ancient Greece and that had fallen into disuse in the Renaissance, until some American artists of this century rediscovered it— has led the artist to a reunion with the spirit of primitive cultures, culminating lately with the creation of African inspired coat-of-arms and of canvasses fraught with primitivism.

As L. Freud said: "What is it that I ask from a picture? I ask it to amaze, disturb, seduce and convince". (Lucían Freud (1987) to mark the exhibition "The Artist's Eye" in the National Gallery, in London).