Saturday, May 25, 2013

Don't Miss My Story: Aina Cifre

Pollensa and art are virtually synonymous. Ever since the founders of the Pollensa "school", Camarassa and Cittadini, were so struck by the light that influenced the school's post-impressionism, Pollensa has been firmly associated with canvas and brushwork. The galleries in the town and in Puerto Pollensa are often showcases for artistic talent that is local to the town and the area, one of these galleries being the Galería Dionís Bennàssar, now located over the other side of the Plaça Major from where it used to be; in fact, it is off the square in Antoni Maura, the street named after the one and only Mallorcan to have been a Spanish prime minister.

The gallery is currently showing some 30 odd works by the Pollensa-born Aina Cifre. The title of the exhibition is "Quiero contarte un cuento para que no te pierdas" - I want to tell you a story so that you don't miss it. There is an explanation for the exhibition, one that is quite typical in describing the thinking behind the art. The works are based on personal experiences, on overcoming struggles and so being optimistic. They combine elements of the fantastic with those of nature.

Explanations as to the purpose of pieces of art can seem somewhat odd. That they have to be explained suggests that the observer won't understand them otherwise. And if they can't understand them, without being told, then what is the point of them? Well, this is a cynical view and not one I actually believe. An artist's expression inevitably goes beyond the perceptions of others. It is why it enters the realms of the innovative, the fantasy and the fabulous. Joan Miró's work was rarely obvious. It required information, and once the information was supplied, the observer was able to see what the artist was saying. Miró's style was all but unique. It was also brilliant. No one has questioned that there wasn't sense to those geometric forms, because there was.

Aina Cifre's style is alternatively sparse and childlike. The natural world is evident from sweeps of disguised landscape and allusions to wing movement. She is a clever artist who adheres to the virtues of white space in emphasising the sense of those struggles and that optimism. She has - and she is now in her late 30s - been the recipient of awards, such as having been the winner of the Marratxí painting competition, and the exhibition at the Bennàssar gallery is not her first; in 2009, she showed "Nunca había tenido el corazón tan rojo" (never had the heart been so red, or something like this).

Cifre's work forms part of collections held by the Colonya and Sa Nostra banks (as I mentioned in a previous article, banks are one of the most important art collectors, which can be a constraint on protest art) as well as by the Council of Mallorca. She is, therefore, among the foremost artists of her generation in Mallorca and representative of what is a truly astounding array of contemporary artists who are currently at work here.

The exhibition at the Bennàssar gallery runs until 13 June. Recommended.

(Photo from Galería Dionís Bennàssar)

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