Rafel G. Bianchi:
'La bandera en la cima'

Sat 17 November, 2012 – Sat 26 January, 2013. Madrid

La bandera en la cima

NoguerasBlanchard is pleased to present an exhibition by Rafel G. Bianchi (Olot, Girona, 1967) in the gallery’s new space in Madrid. The artist began to work on the project, titled La bandera en la cima (The flag upon the summit) in 2007 when he decided to paint the world’s fourteen highest mountains, those above eight thousand meters. It has taken him almost five years to complete the fourteen paintings.

In this exhibition, Bianchi develops a critical approach towards traditional art practices and to the history of mountaineering and draws attention to the temporal and processual dimension of the work by focusing on the documents and items surrounding its lengthy process of realization. Taking a book of alpine photographs as his point of departure, Bianchi begins to paint each canvas in sections, first the details in black and white, applying a coloured glaze at the end. Each day the result is photographed and the sum of all the photographs shown here as a series of slides. The slides document the daily task of painting as if they were tracking the progress of climbing a mountain. In addition, Rafel G Bianchi also made small drawings noting the evolution of the paintings and which he later turned into a calendar marking his objectives. A super 8 film showing the artist at work in his studio reflects the role of documentary film in alpine climbing and the documentary tradition of conceptual art.

The use of irony and absurdity and embracing the preoccupations of conceptual practices are two main features that characterize the work of Rafel G. Bianchi. This particular project reviews some of the most important aspects of conceptualism such as the position of the artist as anti-hero, the use of repetition and seriality to undermine the auratic quality of the work, or the self-referentiality of art as a discursive strategy. The documentary components emphasize the work’s temporal dimension in a sequence whose structural rigour follows the precepts of conceptualism, but which also contains the poetry irradiated by any representation of the passage of time.

Throughout his practice Rafel G. Bianchi reflects on the role of the artist, on the artist’s creative output and situates himself at the centre as an individual to be analysed. From a perspective that attempts to explore his own character, he emphasizes his marginal position and portrays himself as a buffoon / clown by means of self-parody. In La bandera en la cima Bianchi takes the absurdity of a self-imposed task to an extreme by expanding the project and unfolding it into the documentary elements that accompany it. La bandera en la cima is not only a work by Rafel G. Bianchi but a collaborative project, re-introducing the figure of the self and the author from a non-expressive perspective – Andrés Hispano (the Super-8 film), Antonio Ortega (the soundtrack and score) or Alex Gifreu and Regina Gimenez (the poster design). The world of mountaineering is a theoretical territory often associated with the concept of the sublime, a quality of greatness; here it would seem that we are facing “a de-sublimation of the creative act, stripping the expectations of the end result as a transcendent climax”. [1]

As David G Torres observes: “La bandera en la cima presents the artist as an anti-heroe embarking on an absurd project. And by exploring or revealing the position of the artist asserting his own uselessness he exposes his political condition. A dissident condition that stems from a tradition of political compromise of art based on its inefficiency: from Marcel Duchamp’s refusal to produce to the Situationist “NO” whose origin can be found in Dadaism. If the artist’s task is absurd or comical, it’s because he stands in opposition to a political and economic regime based on results, utility and pragmatism. Bianchi’s political commitment is present from the start, in the title, as the absurd nature of the whole project begins with the ridiculous action of planting a flag on top of a mountain and in turn questioning or mocking all flags”. [2]


Rafel G. Bianchi lives in Barcelona. Recent exhibitions include: La bandera en la cima, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea CGAC (Santiago de Compostela, 2012); Un exercici d’arrogància/generositat, Centre d’Arts visuals (Amposta, Tarragona, 2011); La cuestión del Paradigma. Genealogías de la emergencia en el arte contemporáneo en Cataluña, Centre d’Art La Panera, curated by Manuel Segade (Lleida, 2011) and Antes que todo, CA2M, curated Aimar Arriola and Manuela Moscoso (Móstoles, Madrid, 2010).
[1] Miguel von Hafe Pérez, “Rafel G. Bianchi, La bandera en la cima”, CGAC, 2012

[2] David G. Torres, “Rafel G. Bianchi, La bandera en la cima”, CGAC, 2012

The gallery would like to thank the collaboration of Fundación Botín, Santander and Colección del Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Gas Natural Fenosa, A Coruña