2 Balbino Giner – Painter of Words 2
3 by Ellen Hall 3
First you are struck by the day-glo pinks, limes and yellows of his
canvases. The words emerge from the black background only on closer
inspection. The highly structured compositions of Balbino Giner
organize themselves around messages, slogans and pleas in
Catalan,Spanish and French. With the playfulness and simplicity of a
cartoon, Giner’s works invite your attention.
In Giner’s studio in Collioure every book and pen and pot of paint
has its place. The artist is a small, neat, modest man who speaks in a
breathless monotone. I found listening to him was like the title of
one of his works, “Escolti el vent” (Listen to the wind).
“El cami”(the road) is one of his favorite themes. With it he
expresses the movement and restlessness of his life and work. The child
of Spanish refugees from Franco’s Spain, he studied in Paris and
taught art in Toulouse before settling in Collioure in 1999.
The sense of depth in Giner’s painting is derived from his threefold
method which he calls “Couvrir, Recouvrir and Découvrir”: covering his
canvas in bright colors, painting over them in black and finally
removing some of the black to reveal the colors beneath.
Where does he get his ideas? Looking out his window at a citrus tree,
watching people passing in the street and imagining their
conversations. Giner loves everything that moves: wind, trees, kites.
Even Collioure’s iconic bell tower, in Giner’s hands, flies above
rolling waves or wheels along a railway.
His current project is a triptych for the celebration for the
Declaration of the Rights of Man. “Llibertat per tot hom” (Liberty for
all) is the central message. His conversation is full of references to
the importance of experimentation, having confidence in yourself and
fearing nothing. Creation, he said, is being true to oneself.
As the son of a famous painter (1910-1976) of the same name, Balbino
Giner has not always found it easy to forge his own identity as an
artist. He explains that he has three fathers: his real father;his
symbolic fathers, Picasso and Matisse; and his imaginative fathers,
Picabia and Dubuffet. Giner’s exploded forms, rounded cut-outs,
collages and clowns may be reflections of his many fathers, but his
remains a distinctive style and body of work. To see them, go to:
[www.balbinoginer.fr->www.balbinoginer.fr ] or visit Galerie Castan , 3 Place Gambetta in