They could be a pair of stevedores on deck, each marooned on their tiny pontoon. But they seem content to stand alone, legs astride, gazing up at the heavens. Placed too far out in the harbour to see many details, one thing visible only from the water is that each figure hides a coloured star behind its back, apparently representing the different cultures that make up Barcelona. The artist has played with this figure in an iconic way over time, reproducing it in different materials and diverse settings. These figures are of polyester and fibre-glass.
The artist, Robert Llimós, is a prolific Barcelona painter and sculptor. The son of an impressionist painter, figurative painting and drawing became his first passion. An artist of the Spanish school known as the New Figurative painters, he explains how during the Spanish dictatorship, ‘figuration’ was a way of eluding the censor:
As if the history of art was a pendulum, my generation returned to the figurative elements in their works as we had things to say and social demands to make. It was a good way to bypass censorship while stating a message contrary to the regime, through recognizable elements opposing the prevailing informality of the fake left wing. This generation is the one that corresponds to German Expressionism, English pop and Italian transavantgarde, which we call New Figuration in Spain.
After experimenting with abstract and conceptual phases, the figurative is the form to which he regularly returns, even as he rejects realism or the strongly representational.
I am interested in figuration, but not realism, to say things in images but not to compete with reality.
While striving for something new and always combining sculpture and painting, he sees his sculptural work as reaching a natural culmination in both the “Stargazer” pieces and his “Lines in Space”, a series expressed sculpturally through Marc (Frame), installed nearby for the ’92 Olympics.
Marc has its twin, Threshold, which was installed in Atlanta, the city that hosted the Games four years after Barcelona, in 1996.
Miraestels (Stargazers) by Robert Llimós. Polyester resin. Rambla de Mar, offshore. Coordinates: 41.375026, 2.180467 / 41.374204, 2.182034