Marcar (Francesc Ruiz)


“If paintings could talk” focuses today on Marcar, by Francesc Ruiz.

According to the art historian Beatriz Herráez, the artist is interested in corporate image and identity symbols. Francesc Ruiz delves into the work of José María Cruz Novillo, the renowned designer, image-maker and creator of other iconic elements for some of Spain’s leading companies and institutions, including the Banco de España, which commissioned him with the design of the 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 peseta banknotes put into circulation between 1982 and 1987 (the penultimate series before the euro was introduced).

In Marcar, Francesc Ruiz reuses this obsolete paper money to achieve a an ironic change of perspective which creates a subtle and strange effect in the faces of the public figures chosen to illustrate each banknote. Juan Ramón Jiménez, Benito Pérez Galdós, Clarín, Rosalía de Castro, Juan Carlos I and the then Prince Felipe. Each square in this skillfully manipulated and surprising banknote pattern serves to build an expression which, through repetition, reveals the potential appeal of the printed portrait (that of Galdós, for example, is based on a painting by Joaquín Sorolla on view at the Casa-Museo Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), while acting like a microscope to capture all shades of facial expression.

The face sequences seem to be questioning their place on printed banknotes and the way they impress themselves forever on the collective imagination, tinged with the non-negotiable value of money or condemned to ostracism, perhaps because there is no better way to forget an image —and its profound meaning— than by reproducing it in myriad forms and using it daily in commercial exchanges.

  • Francesc Ruiz

    Marcar, 2016

    Digital copy on photographic paper.

    92 x 62 cm

    Colección Banco de España

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