Modesto Roldán would be delighted to answer any questions you may have about his art his life. Some of questions and their answers.

Click here to ask your questionmailto:german@gmatt.net?subject=Question%20a%20Rold%C3%A1n

What are your strongest memories of childhood and adolescence?


My mother was a seamstress, which meant it was she who made the elegant dresses worn by the ladies of the town. Our house was a workshop where the young lasses came to work, singing and laughing. I remember it as a kind of oriental harem, or like Ingres’ beautiful round painting, The Turkish Bath. Of course, memory, when it is pleasant, magnifies the emotions of the 10-year-old boy. Shafts of light as the curtains shift in the breeze materialise bodies in a blinding scene in which a round shoulder briefly appears, the swelling of a breast, a white thigh, only to disappear again, suspended in the gloom but indelibly engraved in the brain. At that age I was a precocious and astute “voyeur”, always on the look-out for these surprising and marvellous scenes. My feeling that not all of these visions were pure chance only added spice to the situation, leading me on from contemplation to fantasy. These moments are so gratifying that, happily, they have remained in my memory for a lifetime. We are made of the stuff of dreams  according to a great man who was a specialist in dreams. I am not making it up.

Even today, I seek through my painting to clothe my ghosts with matter.


How would you define or place your art?


Within the broad spectrum of the symbolic. Obviously, one cannot escape the real, but I see it through an oneiric filter, which the critics have always insisted on calling my personality.

I have never been able to work to commission or under directions that are not my own. Broadly speaking, and though I sometimes make exceptions, I paint according to my own whim, sometimes (in fact ever more often) brought on by the presence of a recalcitrant spirit.


How do others define your art?


Mostly in the way that I have just described it. A different, unmistakable personality. This is what the critics and other connoisseurs of my works have said in general.


What artists have influenced you and why?


Gustav Klimt, Odilon Redon, Max Ernst, Rafael, Leonardo da Vinci, Anglada Camarasa and many others. My favourite artists at the moment are Barceló, Quetglas, Veliakovic, Botero...


How were you influenced by the countries you lived in?


French painting, especially Fragonard, Boucher Renoir, Delacroix. France is the country I love best because it suits my taste for life and liberty in every way. It is where I have lived the best part of my life.


How has your work evolved?


It has only evolved in terms of visual formalisation. My aesthetic, and even ethical, loadstone has always been my mother’s dress-making workshop.

It is likely enough that the persistent movements of the vanguard influenced my way of painting and of thinking about art in the early years, and Mondrian’s “Neo-Plasticism” certainly made its mark on me for a few brief years. Nothing remained of this but a particular care in balancing compositional masses. The international critic, Edouard Roditi, very astutely noted that this would be the target of criticism by the purists, who would see my project as a kind of blasphemy because it introduced a dense eroticism in the framework of geometric postulates, while the uninhibited followers of Eros saw it as a veiled censorship. I believe both sides were right.  The Spanish art critic Aguilera Cerni later corroborated these views in his work Panorama del Nuevo Arte Moderno.

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