Estona amb sàlvia i mantega

Alba Suau Kaplan Projects
September 2023

Kill time, skin it, grill it with some sage and butter.

Lucía Lijmaer, from her book Cauterio.

It is difficult for us to relax. Our way of life imposes speed, noise, and constant urgency on us. The satisfaction of our desires must be imminent. We are not used to living in what lasts, to choose what can last over time. Our society follows the norms of immediacy, destructively distancing us from introspection, patience and stillness. The artist Alba Suau finds in her long walks the antidote to overstimulation, the escape route from the excess of speed around her.

Often, in a present where we only understand short-term goals and successes, walking without going to a certain place is considered a useless act. However, this apparent uselessness is what allows the artist to isolate herself, to remain anchored to a moment, to dissect it in order to understand and value it. The sensations that she experiences on long walks are translated back into painting, manifesting the same desire for mental isolation during creative development. In the course of these processes, the artist moves away from productivity, seeking contact with the present and with herself. The act of walking involves deep introspection, allowing you to connect with reality, often so inaccessible. This active meditative process aims to achieve, in turn, passivity, mental inactivity for a long period of time.

The artist’s latest creations have been born from the time she has dedicated to walking as a meditative act. The title of the exhibition “Estona amb sàlvia i mantega” has its origins in the quote Kill time, skin it, grill it with some sage and butter by Lucía Lijmaer. The slow and pleasant moments, which often require attention and pampering such as walking, cooking or painting, are for Alba Suau a means of subsistence, the way to find herself, decipher her own passions, her concerns and the present of she.

Within this perspective, Alba Suau presents the series of paintings that make up her latest project. In it, her meditative itineraries make her discover the elements of the Mallorca landscape, entering into conversation with those around her and observing how it influences human lives. In this way, the will to isolate itself from its previous stages is reoriented towards the collective. Thus, she moves away from the loneliness that has often predominated in her most recent practice, to reclaim the care and collaboration that build the strongest communities.

During his walks with her family through the landscape of the island where she was born, Suau discovers the function of the irrigation ditches, seemingly so simple but of great relevance to the environment. Components such as water, cement, earth or moss make up an innate chromatic range of the territory. Thus, these elements are translated into layers of paint that mix and communicate with each other, thanks to the transparencies created in the application of the material and the use of untreated fabric.

The use of shared water, the joint management of this resource that is so scarce in the territory, implies the will to make it last. The island’s ditches highlight the futility of unnecessary improvements and the pursuit of useless development. Thus, they reflect the value of what is durable. Sometimes, things should not be changed, they do not need progress, they should only be protected and cared for so that they persist and can continue to provide life.

The consciousness of the here and now is the result of the meditative creation of Alba Suau. In her works, the artist captures the sensations she acquires from contact with the environment, as consequences of deep and conscious reflection. Thus, she leaves aside the superfluous and becomes aware of her presence, entering into an intimate conversation with herself and the surroundings of her own existence, to later capture it on the canvas.

Belén Martínez