Inside Antonio Beneyto's studio
Antonio Beneyto, writer and painter at once and therefore part of a long tradition of modern artists -Picasso, Dali, Klee-, is a multifaceted creator, as Jaime D. Parra writes in the cultural magazine Barcarola (Albacete). He is one of the main representatives of literary and plastic Postism, the most important avant-garde movement of the Spanish post-war culture.
Born in the legendary region of La Mancha (Albacete), he promptly embarks on a journey, as a new literary and artistic Don Quixote, which takes him to Palma de Mallorca, where an important creative environment establishes itself in the sixties. It is the time of the author group Papeles de Son Armadans, with Camilo José Cela, Antonio F. Molina, Christopher Serra among others, part of the original founders of ‘filopostism’, with whom the artist collaborates. It is also the time of the novelist Robert Graves, the singer Jorge Sepulveda and the intellectual Juan Bonet, whom he becomes acquainted to. Beneyto is also involved in other publications such as La Estafeta Literaria, Ínsula e Índice, in Madrid, or the New Yorker publication Escandalar, among many others.
Later in 1967 he moves to Barcelona and settles in the Gothic Quarter, the place where becomes acquainted with the most influential Catalan writers, artists and intellectuals of the time until today: Joan Brossa , Juan Eduardo Cirlot , Joan Perucho, Ginovart, Guillem Viladot, Pere Gimferrer. In this period, the artist experiments with different lines of creation and expressive arts in various forms such as painting, sculpture, ceramics and writing, especially narrative writings such as poetry and travel diaries. Particularly his tales and short stories make him one of the leading figures within this genre of his time.
His extensive plastic work, has developed within a dream-like and surreal atmosphere marked by Postism and Surrealism, but also influenced by his everyday reality, which surrounds him in his neighbourhood, Barrio Gótico, one of the busiest, most varied and most colourful of Barcelona. From there, he steers towards an international projection of his work by planning exhibitions with international galleries, not only in Spain, but in countries all over the world, including Italy, France, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Nicaragua, Chile, USA -New York.
The artists’ plastic work can be divided in two great moments: his blue phase and his black phase. Part of the latter, his "Black Paintings" are probably his most consolidated works. In this series he portrays impossible characters in a simple way, torn between Dadaism and Surrealism, despite of his basic paint strokes reminding of children’s drawings, show strong conceptual connotations concerning the human body and its nature.
The blue phase on the other hand, created through negative images, shows undefined dancing objects in light blue shades as protagonists of these compositions. Subsequently he expanded the series and the artist evolved by creating a set of semi-human characters with recognizably drawn limbs, which is now known as Beneyto’s most popular style. With his varied approach to artistic work, from paintings and illustration to the drawing on wooden fans, the artist has developed his style, innovating in terms of format, media and materials in order to convert them into a surreal expression of life how Beneyto understands it. At first, for example, he was afraid of working with large formats, but over time, they turned out to be his favourite formats, he even decided to create the world's largest drawing: a thirty meter long paper roll, a musical score, containing ink and watercolours drawings.
Oil, acrylic, pastels, charcoal, pencil, pen - different inks, different procedures- are the tools Beneyto uses to create his playful and eccentric characters; characters who also live in his literary work. Regarding this work, his friend and translator, American author Carlota Caulfield, says: " His art is an amazing universe of zoomorphic beings, hermaphrodites, Siamese twins, unfolded characters and a whole fantastic fauna. This playful style, which bears the essential surrealist-postist stamp, also marks his original literary work. The artist’s diaries, novels, stories, poems and prose exhibit a vital frenzy and a very peculiar aesthetic code."
His studio, located in the heart of Barcelona, in the centre of the Gothic Quarter, is a surrealistic sanctuary filled with peculiar and eccentric objects, typical of his artwork. A wooden door, showing a drawing of one of his characteristic figures, guards the entrance to the building. The inside of the studio is a cult space, with an extensive library, including especially poetic texts, with many of the books showing original drawings of the artist inside; a number of chairs which hang from the ceiling and various photographs, self-portraits, works and memories fill the walls of the room. Photographs with relevant poets and artists, such as Allen Ginsberg, Pere Gimferrer or Patty Smith stand out, together with a portrait of the artist titled “Beneyto the Cardinal Alfons of Catalonia”, a Nicole Kidman poster, whom he says he admires for her beauty and intelligence and a picture of Alejandra Pizarnik, as well as the musical score of his 'world's longest drawing'.
The artist tells how the Postism movement (described as the last 'ism', or the synthesis of all previous vanguard movements), was created by Ory and Chicharro, especially by the latter, Beneyto’s great friend, with whom he shared the main points of his aesthetics: the approach, the playfulness, the magic, the interest for dreamlike situations, the evocation to childhood, the defence of the imagination. He also shares how he developed his art, fell in love with Postism and became interested in other artists: through learning from A.F. Molina, his admiration for Goya’s black paintings, his passion for the poems created by his friend Alejandra Pizarnik and his great respect for the painter Antonio López.
For the second edition of Artig Gallery Capsule Collections, we are pleased to present an exclusive selection of Antonio Beneyto’s unique drawings. During a limited time only, collectors can purchase original illustrations by this legendary surrealist and postist, created in 2013 with pen and pastels on illustration cardboard.
Shop Now CAPSULE COLECCTION X ANTONIO BENEYTO