Modesto Roldán Nerva, Huelva 1926-2014.
At that age I was a precocious and astute “voyeur”, always on the look-out for these surprising and marvellous scenes.
My feeling that not all of these visions were pure chance only added spice to the situation, in which I might pass briefly from contemplation to fantasy, taking my delight to new heights. These moments are so gratifying that, happily, they have remained in my memory for a lifetime.
We are made of the stuff of dreams according to a great poet and a specialist in dreams. I am not making it up.
These are the sources of the maker. The other threads of creation are random, depending only on chance and need.
I arrived in Paris from Tangiers having fled Spain without a passport, but only after many adventures including a sojourn in prison in Brazil and incarceration in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a jail I was lucky to leave alive.
France in general, and Paris in particular, were my beloved home, and they remain so to this day. The culture and the people met my desires exactly. As a young man of just over twenty who had read many of the French classics in translation, including Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Zola, Maupassant, Flaubert and more besides, this was the world I had dreamed of in the gloom of the asphyxiating Catholic nationalism then reigning in Spain.
At that time I had no calling as a painter. My dream was to write. I saw literature as the noblest and highest task of man, and indeed I still do. But free will does not exist. It is merely one of many false beliefs. So I tried the world of painting, creating images as a potter shapes clay. Whether I have succeeded is a matter for you to decide. I have only tried to clothe my ghosts with matter.”
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