IN BED WITH EL GRECO AND PICASSO
Toledo, in the heart of Castile La Mancha, is often referred to as “a cultural melting pot” due to its Christian, Jewish and Muslim influences, and boasts several historical places of worship. One of its oldest churches, San Sebastián, originally built as a mosque in the 10th century, provides a Mozarabic setting for a new exhibition of collages by Swiss artist Daniel Garbade entitled “In Bed with El Greco and Picasso”.
Garbade has also been influenced by various cultures. He may hail from Switzerland but has Cuban roots. He has spent many years living and working in Spain and has forged close ties with Castile La Mancha.
Artistically, Daniel Garbade has many strings to his bow. He has worked as an art director in the film world and he is also an illustrator, painter, sculptor and photographer. His work has been shown in galleries and art fairs throughout Europe. He was selected by the Dadaists of the Cabaret Voltaire Zurich to make the plaque of Bakunin’s tomb in Bern.
Daniel Garbade first discovered the works of twentieth-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso when he was a child living in Switzerland. His grandfather, Swiss philanthropist and politician Paul Lachenal was both Picasso’s friend and lawyer and even adopted Picasso’s son Paulo during the Second World War to enable him to escape from Nazi Germany. Lachenal owned a collection of Great Masters including works by Picasso. Therefore, the young Daniel Garbade not only became acquainted with Picasso’s work at an early age but “felt drawn” towards it.
In fact, both Pablo Picasso and Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco had a tremendous influence on Daniel Garbade. Garbade states that both painters would appear in his dreams as if they were overseeing the art he was trying to create – hence the title of his exhibition “In Bed with El Greco and Picasso”. Other artists who have influenced his work are Swiss artist Giacometti and British artists David Hockney, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud.
“In Bed with El Greco and Picasso” features three series of work: ADN, Picasso and El Greco. “ADN” or “DNA” boasts literally hundreds of miniature drawings or photographs of Garbade’s ancestors and also key locations in his life.
However, as Garbade himself says, “A DNA is also composed by influences, in my case by painters like Picasso or Greco. That is why in these portraits I add drawings by Picasso which helped me to understand the art of drawing, or a painting I have made of him. On the other hand, I include pictures of the landscapes of Toledo made by Greco, but also small caricatures of his portraits made by me. It is through El Greco that I learned how to use other forms and colours. In this case it has a double meaning as I chose the province of Toledo 30 years ago to be my second home”.
Some of the paintings have been created with a felt pen. Garbade describes the small drawings of the figures in these paintings as “his soldiers.” He says: “They fight my way through the painting and help me to compose them. They are usually very normal people, as are the objects: a bicycle, a comb, a motorbike…. Only in a few portraits I use the figures I copied from religious paintings, using them to compose a Head: the features of a face tell a lot about life where religion has a place, for good or for bad”.
By contrast, the creation of the collages is perhaps more complicated: “First, I started to cut and disintegrate some of my paintings to assemble them again to give them a certain movement, a bit like Hockney’s collages of Polaroids. From there I decided to move further towards Fontography. By using my drawings like pixels in a photo, assembling and multiplying my drawings in a collage, I found that together they could give another image. We are just a tiny little part in the big puzzle of our lives”.
En Cama con Greco y Picasso
Exhibit of the work of swiss artist Daniel Garbade
at the San Sebastián Church of Toledo,
from 8 – 30 of september 2018
Tuesday and Sunday: 11:00 – 14:00 h
Wednesday till Saturday 11:00 – 14:00 h and 17:00 – 20:00 h
Closed on Monday
In colaboration with:
El Consorcio de Toledo
Tel. 925 284 289 email@example.com
The Swiss Embassy, Madrid,Spain