The sculptures of Alhambra Towers are artistic creations by the Spanish artist Cristobal Gabarron as his interpretation and tribute to the towers monument heritage of humanity located in Granada, Spain. Lively greens, blues, reds and oranges present the multicultural expression of this internationally renowned artist. The work is made to pay a humble homage to the monument and cultural coexistence for many centuries between Muslims and Christians. Now staging at the campus of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University are 10 out of the total 16 sculptures weaving a colourful scene in the university’s red-brick building cluster surprisingly associated with the Alhambra, red palace.
In the words of art philosopher Alfredo Mateos Paramio: “Cristobal Gabarron has erected sixteen sculptures to the Alhambra, Al Hambra, la Roja (‘the red palace’), sixteen towers in homage that surround an invisible palace, like that shaded ring the Turkish turtle doves wear in our parks. Splendid watchtowers in which a Mediterranean palette burns and whose surfaces do not cease to be imbued with living memory: the Alhambra of our shared memory, the Alhambra of the artist’s youthful wanderings."
Curated by thinker Sami Naïr: “The Alhambra sculpture group that he now presents us is evidence that every artist who is aware of the mysteries of artistic creation knows what he must do: that is to say, the imperative necessity of not copying or loyally reproducing, but completely and wholly recreating the work chosen as a pretext. That is because the real artist knows only innovation, innovation that breaks what is away from what was, knowing that it will be overcome in the future by what will be created. André Malraux said that there was only one main difference between Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci: If Picasso were to see one of Da Vinci’s works, he would understand it; however, it is not likely –in fact it is quite improbable- that Da Vinci would be able to understand one of Picasso’s works. Times have changed, the conceptual tools are no longer the same and representations have undergone a metamorphosis.”
The Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, is a castle and a fortress, a royal palace and a town, amazing gardens and a summer retreat. It was built between the XIII and the XIV centuries and was the crown jewel of the Emirate of Granada, whose territories stretched from part of Córdoba, Sevilla, Jaén, Murcia and Cádiz, to the whole of Almería, Málaga and Granada.
Cristobal Gabarron’s beginnings as a painter, as is the case of Pol Bury and Donald Judd, grant him a different perspective as a sculptor. Matisse’s claim that color is the constituent element of pictorial space, this expressionism applied abundantly in his canvases, is developed in three dimensions in these sculptures. The stains of color spread over the edges of the sculpture, contaminating its angles, blurring its openings, and in short, deforming from within the planes on which it is established. Architects like Luis Barragán and Antonio Gaudí had applied the Mediterranean brightness to their works earlier, but without subverting the boundaries between planes. Just like that red blouse that the poet Ibn Hazm saw, here it is color that finally constitutes the volumes of these sculptures. The blue shadows of Granada’s noon hour, the greens of its fruited gardens, the earthy yellows and those pinks and reds that provide depth- Kandinsky dixit- as well as the most flayed of surfaces.”