Lives and works in Barcelona
Josep Riera i Aragó can be described as a visual poet, a sculptor who is equally at ease in the painting studio or in the printmakers workshop. Very early in his artistic development he established a deceivingly simple iconography to surprisingly universal and inescapable results. During the 1980s Riera i Aragó discovers his interest in the deep-sea environment, submarines, airplanes and machines operated by engines. This trace of the machine has since then been a clear thread through his oeuvre. Never repetitive, each “machine” he creates, regardless of the medium, evokes without pathos or condescension, a clear and sympathetic view of humanity. They machines are not only blurring the traditional frontiers between sculpture and painting, finally overlapping the two artforms, it also blurs the space between functional machines with a direct purpose and the life of the objects as art pieces. Riera i Aragó’s work highlights the machines, seen in its own dysfunction, in what is has been created for but never manage to do. His zeppelins, airplanes, ships and submarines must assume their inability to sail or fly.
Besides from Riera i Aragó’s sculptures made in bronze and at times recovered iron, his oeuvre also holds great paintings and works on paper utilizing the same iconography as the sculptures; propellers, engines and machines. Especially his later painting seems to almost mimic or portray his sculptures, creating a close narrative between the two. Riera i Aragó’s pieces are essential to the understanding of some of the most characteristic emblems of our time, the world of machines and artifacts in general. His works speaks paradoxically about the machine, its transience, its capacity for suggestion, on a journey back and forth from real to imaginary space.