Cristóbal Gabarrón, transforming pain into art

A contained emotion made the creators and personalities who attended the the new edition of ‘Ámbito’, the project of improvised artistic interventions with which the Murcian Cristóbal Gabarrón (Mule1945) He has set out to go around the world. This fourth appointment of the program took place in the heart of New York City and on a day as significant as 9/11, in memory of the victims of the attacks against the Twin Towers. Thus, Gabarrón sought to generate a profound reflection on a date that represented “a turning point in the history of the entire planet”, and which crystallized in a day full of “hope, vindication of the triumph of life, fraternity , resurrection and humanism”, they point out from the foundation of the muleño.

The commemoration began with the tolling of the bells at the precise time that the attacks took place, in memory of the pain and shock suffered. Next, the names of all the victims were heard. Imbued with that gigantic and overwhelming solemnity, at 3:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in Spain) the artistic action, also carried out in a unique location: a few blocks from ground zero, on the main campus of the City University of New York, the only educational institution in US history to lose a building to a terrorist attack. The rain, which was already announced the day before, forced the audience and the participants to take shelter under an overhang.

There, Gabarron brought together around thirty artists from different disciplines related to the American city, as well as personalities of international stature, also with the intention of “promoting the exchange of ideas regarding today’s society”. They were, by the way, the ones in charge of baptizing this edition of ‘Ámbito’ as ‘The voices of silence’, as well as those who inspired Gabarrón when painting a large three by nine meter canvas. “The work narrates from left to right a day, contained in time, at ground zero”explains the artist, that First, it reflects the two fallen towers with a halo of blue light.which honors the victims of the brutal attack with colored specks and represents the city of New York as a great heart-apple charged with blood and purplish matter. But, in addition, he includes a nod to love that is central to his work: “They are two ellipses, one green and the other blue, which symbolize a couple who met in that epic misfortune and who after 21 years are still united,” explains the artist.

Meanwhile, around him, also arising from the freest improvisation, the interventions of the invited artists were developed, composed of the performance of a choir, music and poetry. The confluence of happening, performance and action painting is a distinctive mark of ‘Ámbito’, which thus achieves “a natural and fluid dialogue between various artistic disciplines and different authors”.

On this occasion, the curators of this edition, Maureen Keenan and Andrew Levy, together with the center’s coordinator, Karen Wilson-Stevenson, devised an artistic program with outstanding students and professors from this university. Thus, a choir led by the teacher Eugenia Oi Yan Yau took part, in addition to the poet and dancer Justin Cabrillos and the also writer and researcher of environmental justice Cheryl Fish. Margaret and Syreeta McFadden also read some of his verses, and the intervention in Spanish by the pedagogue Teonilda Madera was especially moving. Among the attendees, the critic Donald Kuspit; Jay Levenson, director of MoMA’s Department of International Programs, and Harvard Professor Eric Maskin, 2007 Nobel Laureate in Economics, among others.

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Cristóbal Gabarrón, transforming pain into art