Josep M. Cadena
Alibau paints and sculpts with paper pulp which combines, especially in his mobiles, with the air and light to give new realities to the work and its relationship with the environment.
The support dissolves - reduced to a minimum - to the point where it appears to have disappeared. And, in fact, at times. part of the material is actually lost, in order to gain in transparency and subtlety. There are empty spaces on the surfaces, clear areas, fragmented sections, edges that appear eaten away by the action of time, or by agents of the atmosphere. Or there is a process of decomposition echoing that which affects every living thing.
Alibau works on his pieces with the meticulousness that characterises his main medium of cellulose fibre. The conventional rectangular perimeter of the picture has completely disappeared and it is the materiality of the pigments, spread with an enigmatic geometry, which configures the work.
These days, many, many artists work with paper and manufacture their own. But the works of Alibau have an immateriality. Some artists make paper and get exactly that - paper. Alibau, on the other hand, makes paper and gets a reflection, a colour: without it being obvious what sustains it, nor where it begins and ends; he manufactures paper in order to obtain a suggestion of light and a suggestion of a world that is not to be found anywhere. This is the difference between Alibau and the rest of the artists who make their own paper.
If we can obtain any knowledge at all, we must look for it in nature. Alibau knows that is necessary to look at, to patiently observe, the plant, seize the vibrations of light, or pause before the spectacle of the stars. He knows we must interrogate the cosmos, with both persistence and humility. A curiosity to know why and how, combined with a fascination for beauty: these are the passions that drive Alibau's work. The artist has the soul of an inventor and a poet.
The series Matemàrtica, began towards the end of 1996, constitutes a new direction in Alibau's work. From the beginning, his work had followed a process of depuration and of synthesis, but it is with this series that the process has reached its maximum effect. Conceptually, there is a formal purity and an authentic economy in the means of expression, while the choice of the mathematical theme shapes the bases of his new work.
Perhaps his most exquisite works, those in which the sensibility of the artist is most palpable, are those in which a simple gauze of threads gives artistic cohesion to the whole work. Works where vertical forms dominate, where rectangular surfaces overlap, creating an almost musical rhythm like in the works of Paul Klee. Where lyricism in the colours and geometry in the forms unite, the whole respecting the poetry of fragmentation inherent in collage, while, at the same time, attempting to give a unitary value to each of the pieces.
Salvador Alibau seduces us with, and interests us in, a means of producing art that he himself has created -has conceived, has blended together- as a form of expression, as a way of life. He invites us, you and me, to see a particular reality, as if it were a brand new commentary on, or explanation for, reality.
Alibau gives empty space back its meaning, its immateriality, its art, through a quintessence of nature that all critics and researchers commenting on his work have noted, through the reduction of the chromatic scale to three fundamental colours, white, black and red, and evidently with all of the richness of greys that watercolours allow.
I find in the work of Alibau a humanization of landscape. These are not portraits of landscapes or a gratuitous fascination with the countryside. Here there is a transformation of landscape in colours, in shapes, in incredibly subtle suggestions. There is a human hand, but even more so, a human quality above all of these: synthesis, conceptualization, abstraction in the best and most original sense of the word.