José Val del Omar. Elementary Triptych of Spain

11 december, 1996 - 21 december, 1996
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
Gordon Matta-Clark.  Splitting, 1974
Gordon Matta-Clark. Splitting, 1974

Elementary Triptych of Spain is the last film project by José Val del Omar (Granada, 1904 - Madrid, 1982). The idea arose in the last stages of his life and was aimed at creating a trilogy using his three ‘elemental pieces’: Aguaespejo granadino [Water-Mirror of Granada] (1955), Fuego en Castilla [Fire in Castille] (1960) and Acariño galaico [Galician Caress] (1961). The connecting link in the trilogy, which was filmed in different times and places, is spelled out in a prologue entitled Ojalá [If Only] (1980), which establishes the key points with which to read the whole. Beyond all motivation, a constant approach can be found in Val del Omar’s work: circling round, returning again and again to constant features. And this work must be seen as a whole, where technical trials, formal experimentation and the creative process merge. The Triptych, therefore, must be seen as one step more in the trajectory of an oeuvre that, while unfinished and open, always turns on itself and, at the same time, is a response to the prevailing audiovisual forms.

Val del Omar worked on the conception of the Triptych from 1981 until his death in 1982, particularly on finishing Acariño galaico and preparing Ojalá. Throughout this process, he decisively influenced the presentation of his work by the curators of the Anthology of Avant-Garde Film in Spain, Manuel Palacio and Eugeni Bonet. Val del Omar was committed to presenting his Triptych with Acariño galaico and Ojalá, but in the end, he was not able to finish these works and only Aguaespejo granadino and Fuego en Castilla were screened. The Triptych, then, remains unfinished, but its three pieces, the unedited images and the loose notes conserved today make it possible to establish a unique relationship in Val del Omar’s work: beyond spectacle, in a dimension where the artistic experience creates its own conditions of appreciation, before it reaches the screen, but projecting its light onto our gaze. The time has come to our eyes.

(Extracted from the text by Rafael R. Tranche Ojalá. El vórtice de una trilogía sin fin for the catalogue José Val del Omar. Elementary Triptych of Spain.)