Jordi Ribes

Quiet mystery in a fictional world

Jordi Ribes (he/him) was born in Barcelona in 1972, where he continues to live and work.

Education

Ribes' earliest inspiration came from video games, and he studied Graphic Design before making the transition to painting at the University of Barcelona.

Collections

His paintings are part of permanent collections across Spain. Some of these include Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Fundación Altadis, Fundación Vila Casas and Fundación Guasch Coranty.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

The imagined world of Jordi Ribes is as eerie as it is seductive. He paints with oil, applying rich pigments in very fine layers. The result is highly polished, almost computerised. Inspired by science fiction and comics, he depicts solitary figures on an adventure. They are often borrowed, but with their faces obscured – like Princess Leia, Pluto and the Michelin Man. Both film and classical art are referenced. His use of chiaroscuro – contrasting light and dark – harks back to the so-called ‘Dutch Golden Age.’ Similarly, The Unknown (2021) reinterprets the famed painting Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665) by Johannes Vermeer. Photographer Jeff Wall is also an influence on Ribe’s detailed, cinematic images. The artist cites Neo Rauch and David Hockney as having an impact on his graphic style.

Ribes’ painted realm is timeless. One way he communicates this is by mixing digital imagery into the natural landscape – which, of course, has always been there. His figures sport headphones and head torches, set amidst trees, lakes and long grass. Another way he merges time is by alluding to Cyberpunk – a subgenre of science fiction that combines archaic and futuristic visuals. It rejects a singular, linear narrative, just as Ribes does. "I love the ambiguity, the multiplicity of readings”, he states. As such, each painting becomes a fragment of a larger, infinite narrative – yet retains its own air of mystery.

“My raw materials are de-contextualised images – I construct and create narratives from them.”Jordi Ribes