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Xavier Jansana - Sculptures -

According to Michelangelo, a good sculpture was one that could roll down a steep slope and still be a sculpture when it reached the bottom.

There are two assumptions in this assertion, one being that sculpture is only to be conceived of in stone; the other that between the sculpture and the stone (whether as material or form) there is an absolute and constant proximity. Never ceasing to be stone or sculpture, the stone successively becomes sculpture and the sculpture stone, subject now to the artist's hand, now to the blows of nature.

When Xavier Jansana invited me to look at his sculptures in his Barcelona workshop and I asked him to describe his work, he told me that they were pieces in stone and added: "they are stones that were content as stones and in which I have found a form". I could not help remembering Michelangelo. Indeed, Xavier Jansana's work, intrinsic to which is the symbiosis of stone and sculpture, focuses on discovering the forms that the stone conceals or suggests.

Consequently, a highly exciting aspect of his work is quite simply finding the stones themselves: marbles, sandstones, granites, basalts, limestones, alabasters... stones lying in peaceful wait for the meeting, sometimes in quarries, but as often on a ledge, a river bank, or a beach. When these meetings take place, Xavier Jansana, as I say, finds the stone, runs his hands over it, stows it in his rucksack and carries it off.

The work that follows is that of a sculptor in the most noble sense of the term: he who confronts the stone (form and material, I repeat) in his workshop with the hands and tools of an artist, hammer and chisel, to undertake this task of physical contact which will, in the end, allow the sought for forms to emerge: emptiness, matter, surface, which Xavier Jansana ultimately prefers not to finish, allowing it to reveal the traces of its fashioning, that is to say of time, and experience.

In the end the stone is flesh in which the veins are pulsing arteries, stone unparadoxically soft and palpitating, sometimes rising like an anthropomorphic form (for example that of the hand that shapes it) some times directed at that form, ( as when the outcome is a head). Hand and tool, matter and form, stone and sculpture: with what else could Xavier Jansana set out to return, as he does with resounding success, to what he himself calls "the stone age", that is to say the best age of modern sculpture?

If we rolled these stones down a steep slope, they would still be sculptures.

Written by Juan José Lahuerta