Artists Magazine

Jordi Gich – Following the traces of the Classics

© Claudi Valentí

We meet Jordi Gich in the space where he creates, a studio in the middle of nature, annexed to a farm next to Banyoles and with a handful of musicians for neighbors, who, like him,  have transformed these old stables into rehearsal studios. He doesn’t need Wi-Fi or any other kind of digital distraction, just his tools, a small kitchen and a radio with good music. He spends the whole day here, working methodically.
My father was a cabinetmaker and had a small  workshop at home. Seeing all those tools and materials always made me curious to try them out. And not being allowed to touch them as a child just made me more eager to have a go. I also have family who works  in ceramics, and when we went to see  my grandmother, in Serra de Daró, my cousins and I always used to play with the clay”.
When Jordi Gich finished his baccalaureate and left Llafranc
to study in the School of Art in Olot, he still didn’t know he  would eventually become a sculptor. He knew he wanted to  guide his studies towards something artistic, and, after a year studying graphic design, the school introduced sculpture as a subject. He’d made his mind up and his childhood memories
came flooding back to him. Now he’s been developing his
distinctive style in sculpture for more than 10 years:  something like the version 2.0 of the classical bust, which he empties out to leave a kind of three-dimensional map of the female body. Fragile and inspiring architectures play with shadows creating sensations of a minimalist lightness and perfection. He says he doesn’t know why he does it and is happy to just carry on investigating and working. His  inspiration,  without doubt, is the female body, specifically the busts of classical sculpture. And just as Renaissance
artists had used the purity of white marble,  e has also made this aesthetic his own, as a kind of idealized legacy.

“If there is a word that helps me to link my work its “traces”, in the sense of remains. Because
my work begins as wood carvings that imitate Greek or Roman sculptures in a contrapposto position. The image of classical sculpture has come to us in an eroded form, with a head missing or broken. For me, my inspiration is not just the female body but rather classical sculpture as we see it today: we have developed a taste for remains and traces. These classical  sculptures were probably polychromatic and, in all likelihood, their original aesthetic wouldn’t be so appealing to us today. We like things that are worn, broken, cracked. It’s about searching for  the classic questions that man has always pondered: what has happened here? Where does it come from? What am I doing? Where am I going to? I look for a very similar position, seeking a  framework in the piece that has an interior-exterior interplay and which enables the viewer to come in and out. You have to be able to lose yourself in that framework to see how volatile life is:  now we’re here, now we’re not. I like the idea of a figure that is coming into being and disappearing. A movement that, like in our bodies or our lives, is constantly taking place, a position of stillness that doesn’t exist.”

While some of his works are made from metal, wood is the material he feels most comfortable with. This means the
piece doesn’t need to leave the studio, he has control over the whole process and he can find it locally, especially walnut, almond or hackberry. He leaves the wood to dry for one or two years before studying its natural cracks and preparing a bust that he transforms with a hammer and chisel. “It’s like a draftsman making the paper he’s going to draw on. Once I have my self-made format, I move to the second phase: to make what I have in front of me disappear and reappear in the mind of the viewer, assuming they are willing to go there. It doesn’t have to be seen as a female body, for me there is also an interplay of architecture and frameworks.
After the success of his two solo exhibitions last year in Sitges and the Valvi Foundation in Girona, this year his work can be seen in an exhibition in the Palol de Revardit Castle, Can Mario in Palafrugell and ArtsFAD in Barcelona.

© Claudi Valentí