Bernat Daviu at Bombon Projects / Barcelona

Bernat Daviu / Waiting Room

text by Enric Farrés Duran

February 13 – April 3, 2021

Bombon Projects

Carrer de Trafalgar, 45

08010 Barcelona

Photography by Roberto Ruiz

Waiting room by Bernat Daviu at Bombon projects 
“Who’s last?
This text is for entertainment. It is written for you to interrupt its reading at any time. In fact, while you read, if you are paying attention to what is happening around, you will find very interesting interruptions -a fly, the Porsche of a gallery owner, a vine or an iconoclastic cat- and since we are in the Waiting Room of Bernat Daviu we will try to entertain ourselves while we wait for our turn. As we all know, paintings cannot be touched. In theory the paintings exist to be admired without intermediaries, without interference. You can reproduce the paintings, you can make them smaller or larger, you can make postcards or notebooks, you can use them to make a catalogue raisonné with minimal black and white reproductions, or you can look at them on the screen. You can photograph and share them, but can’t touch. Never. If you touch them is by accident, as you could damage them and in fact, paintings want to be immutable.”
(…) Maybe in this waiting room it is them that are waiting?
Paintings are eternal. And even more Monochrome paintings, like the ones in front of us, which within the family of abstract paintings are the serious, the high ones. Non-narrative, out of space-time, synthetic, pure transcendence. If we start from the beginning -the wait promises to be long, we have time- Bernat Daviu’s old acquaintance, Aleksandr Rodchenko, made the first non-figurative monochromes exactly a century ago –Pure Red, Pure Blue and Pure Yellow, 1921 -to show that making a painting was like making anything else, demystifying the very act of painting. This was based on Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square -this one yes, Suprematist at its most- of 1915, but it turns out that it was based on an 1897 racist joke by Alphonse Allais -a black rectangle with the following subtitle: Combat des Negres dans une cave, pendant la nuit -. The zero degree of painting, a whole tradition of serious, scholarly and academic paintings, based on a joke. “Ha ha, what does this represent?” a gentleman asked us with a laugh as he pointed to an abstract painting in the comic strip made by the monochrome painter Ad Reinhardt in 1947. And against all odds the painting reacted to what was happening in front of it and answered with an energetic: “What do you represent?!” pointing him out.
(…) Do they wait, still, to be admired?
In fact, if we look at Bernat’s paintings from the side -I read somewhere that it is precisely at this place where all the artist’s intention is at stake, as it is the inside-out of the field of painting, and moreover, it is what allows us to understand that a painting has volume, that it is an object, and that we are not dealing with a 2D hallucination that only exists in our head full of conventions -we see how color doesn’t finish, and continues behind the painting and ah! unfathomable mysteries, it disappears behind the canvas. In front of us we have a single unalterable color formed by many and visible layers of paint. But Bernat has told us that these paintings are shadows. Shadows of what, of whom? Painted shadows that refer to everything that may have happened in front of the painting. Occasional interferences that permanently modify it. There is something between the painting and us, something special, a ficus for example.
(…) The painting reacts ¿?
I thought that paintings led you inwards, not outwards. A window that offers us to go beyond, a three-dimensional space or a well in which to dig. But these paintings have shadows projected on their surface. And these shadows are caused by an object that is not inside the painting, it is outside. They are paintings that vindicate the things that happen in front of it, monochrome-mirrors that say: “Everything that happens in front of me, affects me. I’m not alone.”. The painting points at us. And it tells us about things that happen in front of it- a fly, the Porsche of a gallery owner, an indoor plant or an iconoclastic cat-. Performative as they invite you to take into account the changing environment around you at all times. Paintings that have coexisted with the fly (Bernat says the same one, every day at the same time), with the cat that wanted to destroy it or with the gallery owner’s Porsche. Referring to the elements that have moved and are currently moving in front of it, they become mutable paintings. They affect and are affected and show us that we can modify the work with our presence, adding new interruptions to those that already exist. Here the permanent memory of the interruption is the content of the picture, because as we can see the fly left, the king is no longer there, the cat fled and we are only left here waiting for our turn.
– Enric Farrés Duran