Joaquin Jara’s Sculptures and Paintings Experiment with Process of Decay

by James ScarboroughPosted on

Joaquin Jara is versatile. Born in Barcelona, he studied art at La Llotja, in Barcelona, and the Camberwell College of Arts in London. He finished neither. Why should he? He knew precisely what he was doing.

He works in many disciplines. He’s worked on movies. For the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, he contributed murals. He also worked on The Orphanage, Biutiful, Savage Grace, and Inside Silvia’s City. For these, he contributed portraits that enhance the film’s atmosphere.

He’s worked in dance. Here he’s collaborated with directors Lipi Hernandez and Victor Zambrana. As with the films he’s worked on, his work enhances the piece’s choreography.

He’s also collaborated with other artists, including Rosa Rodriguez.

Then there’s his solo work. He paints, he sculpts, and he intervenes. His work is baroque, moody. It’s not morose as much as it’s inevitable. It’s based on an ashes-to-ashes-dust-to-dust esthetic. Art may be long, as the expression goes, but there’s nothing permanent about the organic process each piece describes. His oils on canvas seem to dissolve before our eyes. Four portraits without germana shows the human body at different stages of decomposition. Nude women from the next down are whole, if not pristine. The head, though, shows the disintegration from time. His Portrait of Teresa shows a woman, un-decomposed, from whose body grass grows, as if she is fertilizer.

His interventions are a cross between sculpture, installation, and public art. A method informs the work. “Select a location in a natural environment, create a human situation relate with the site to leave it in that environment once finished (…) Let the created object become an individual and change. Supposedly, it is always the same, even if grass has sprouted again or if it has a new fissure (…).” The result is, literally, a body of work that blends in with its setting. Its patina is not just the effect of air on paint. It’s the effect of time on the human body.

These interventions, along with his other work, suggests that art is not different from life. That it’s part of the same process. That both have a shelf life measured in mortal time.

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