Geologic form un-earthed: "Seeing through" the art of Pablo Palazuelo
"Science and art are two 'di-fferent' ways of getting to know the world,
ways which-from a shared origin-evolved separately. [...] The two
'di-fferent' conceptions as well as the corresponding attitudes and
activities reveal their reciprocal 'in/cidence' (the result of their common
origin) when they are studied in depth and 'without pre/judice.'"
--Pablo Palazuelo, (Vision-Time essay, Reina Sofía, 259)
Today science and art reflect two different ways of knowing the world. As a scientist, the geologist gets to know the world empirically, through the visual perception of nature's explicit geologic forms. The artist, on the other hand, gets to know the world through intuition, a prescient feeling that reveals the implicit nature of form itself. The art of contemporary Spanish painter Pablo Palazuelo provides a vehicle through which the geologist can know natural form by experiencing its misterium conjunctionis of complementary "desires", where arbitrary distinctions between science and art disappear.
Seeing through Palazuelo's art gives the geologist an insight into the way in which nature constitutes itself, an insight that completely reorients and clarifies the geologist's way of thinking. This fresh new perspective opens the window of conscious perception by awakening the scientist's dormant sensibilities. Geologic form was unearthed before me in this manner several years ago during a visit to the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca, Spain. The Lunariae series of Pablo Palazuelo caught my eye. At first glance I saw a brittle fracture system, not unlike ones I had mapped in a surface outcropping of rock or in an underground mine exposure. However, I soon realized that the series of images was revealing much more than the static equilibrium resulting from the resolution of tectonic forces. The vibrant, graphic interactions of a minimal number of carefully configured angular forms evoked the experience of an actively evolving, dynamic deformation sequence of some particular, yet universal tectonic terrain. As a trained geologist, I was mystified by the realization that I had just seen previously unknown geologic relationships revealing themselves within an abstract painting-an unexpected coincidence of science and art.
The uninterrupted procession of Pablo Palazuelo's paintings embodies, what he terms the "unlimited horizon of possibilities" of nature's way of formation. His desire to know the secrets of matter, as opposed to its mere representation, lured him into the profound mysteries of alchemy and inspired his life-long investigation of form. In 1953, he discovered his "idea," to translate the rhythms of nature into plastic art. He called his idea Trans-geometría. The discovery entirely changed his way of looking at the world.
Trans-geometría embraces the irresistible desire or tendency of one form to transform into...