Benlla Martínez (1979, Valencia, Spain) spent the nineties painting graffiti on Valencia’s streets. Only after years of spraying graffiti, working as a DJ, and painting and sculpturing as a “fallero” artisan (in part because he was born and bred in a “fallas” artists’ family), he started his academic career in Faculty of Fines Arts of La Laguna, in Tenerife (Canary Islands). He ended his degree and master in Faculty of San Carlos, Polytechnic University of Valencia. During his degree and up until now, he has participated in many collective exhibitions and has produced several individual exhibitions mixing painting, installation and video disciplines, but developing specially the first one.
Benlla’s works have always been characterized by an attentive gaze towards pictorial processes. Even during his initial period, when he was focused on reflecting the sounds and luminescence of different cities, urban and suburban spaces, the emphasis was always put –in spite of this representative intention– on techniques and processes. Precisely, the uses Benlla did of transfer technique to capture these urban visibilities and sonorities, are closely linked to collage and décollage. This took him to consider the possibilities to produce painting works forgetting the traditional act of painting. He inserts himself this way in a long tradition of painting that does not have as an intention, to represent or reflect reality or consciousness, but to indeed, question painting itself.
With the passing of years and exhibitions, his paintings have come little by little closer to abstraction, and his compositions are determined by reductionism, which is implied in his intention. The result seems defined by a formula: “composition plus techniques and processes”, as he always says; whatever occurs behind could be seen as “merely anecdotic”. This kind of painting speaks itself, it doesn’t talk about anything more or else.
Works of "Subtraction" series here presented imply this commitment. Through a process based on the double sequence of "adhere and extract" painting substance, and using not brushes but acetate sheets, Benlla looks for the fragmentation and voids in the pictorial space. Acetate sheets work so to extract painting, however once Benlla has strip the acetate off, part of painting substance remains, creating textures that will be incorporated in a further painting. This is why he talks about “painting with incorporated past”.