I was ten or eleven years old when I first saw a Corrida. It was in gray, rainy Galicia, in the northwest of Spain, a region culturally foreign to this spectacle of light and color from sunny southern Andalucia. Later, in my adolescence, I saw a few more but only in luminous black and white films.
The butcher cuts meat; the bullfighter tries to kill a dangerous bull with style. The butcher is a link in a chain of labor; the bullfighter performs a ritual with a personal touch. The difference obscured by the common perception of the Corrida as a cruel spectacle.
The Corrida is perceived by highbrow art faithfuls as one of the lowest practices in "cultural tourism". The impossibility of redeeming its kitch connotations with the magic wand of irony, makes the Corrida a risky subject matter for a painter. A subject only approachable from the pre-established artist´s worth in the market place. If the bullfighter risks his life, the artist jeopardizes his livelihood. In my Corrida the bull kills the bullfighter. His face is never visible. He is anonymous and only exists as a form.
Both figures, bull and bullfighter, one black and the other gray and beautifully embroidered, simultaneous serve as abstract elements and as actors in a short film narrative that runs through thirty images. Each one of these paintings is one more step towards the moment of truth: the bullfighter's ultimate defeat.
When the brush hits the canvas the painter feels the bristle give way. Through years of painting my brushes were so worn down that they had become sticks. Using these, the "brushstrokes" are many and rapid, and acquire a tempo paradoxically both frenetic and monotonous. This results in atomization of the image.
Without the cushioning of the bristle, the fingers loose sensibility. I stop and look at the painting while my fingers recover.
The "Corrida" consists of thirty oil paintings of various sizes. Two paintings are78 by 68 inches, four consists of two panels measuring 140 by 70 inches, one consists of two panels measuring 106 by 53, and one painting is four panels measuring 45 by 180 inches. The other twenty-two in the series are each 70 by 70 inches.
This series was painted in New York, 1990-91 and never exhibited.