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Rafael Canogar

Toledo (Spain), 1935

Initially mentored by the painter Daniel Vázquez Díaz, he quickly developed a profound interest in the early avant-gardes. It was through these avant-gardes, especially the realm of informalism, that his works began to reflect not only emotions but also a socio-political consciousness. Following the current of the avant-garde and coinciding with the loosening grip of the Franco regime, he co-founded the EL PASO group (1957-1960) alongside fellow artists like Saura, Feito, and Millares.

From the 1960s, his socio-political concerns drove him to embed strong social critiques within his art, notably evident in his “Personajes” series. Nevertheless, informalism eventually proved inadequate as a sole artistic language for him, prompting a gradual shift towards figuration during the seventies. Throughout his realist phase, Canogar employed a three-dimensional canvas employing sculptural and collage techniques. However, by the mid-1970s, he began to explore abstraction as well.

Following this liberation of line and color, in 1983 he made the deliberate choice to reintroduce representation, thereby surpassing his own boundaries and allowing his unique iconography to flourish, often revolving around masks and human heads. This revisitation of themes appeared as a nostalgic nod to his initial fascination with the historical avant-garde.

From the 1990s onward, Canogar introduced the notion of painting as a fragment, causing representations to once again fade away, giving rise to the idea of freeing painting from within painting itself. Once more, by pushing his own limitations and engaging in contemplation and artistic theory, he broke away from presenting artwork through the traditional concept of a pictorial window. Instead, he presented his pieces as fragments of a larger whole that the confines of conventional painting formats could not restrict within their frames

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