TWO OF A KIND: Fictional letter from Pinochet to Franco.

I am reading up on the influences of the Spanish Inquisition upon painters in Spain. I lived in Franco’s Spain as a young boy — together with my parents, my younger sister, and our live-in maid and nanny Águeda, from Murcia. We lived in an apartment on Calle Orense in Madrid, quite near where the Bernabéu football stadium is today. I remember visits to the Prado museum and to El Escorial, and seeing amazing masterpieces by Goya, El Greco, Velásquez, Murillo and others.

The oftentimes austerity of many of the paintings that I saw seemed normal to me, as everything was under a cloak of austerity, suspicion and darkness in the Franco Era. One wrong comment or movement and the consequences could be swift and furious. I witnessed that myself one day while watching a military parade. One unfortunate man was beaten near Death because he had put his hands into his pants pockets on the cold and windy days. Within seconds the Guardia Civil was upon him.

But the era of Goya was long before that of Franco. And that Era of Darkness produced some iconic artworks, of an intensity not so very unlike that of Picasso’s later masterpiece “Guernica“.

TWO OF A KIND: FICTIONAL LETTER FROM PINOCHET TO FRANCO.

Francisco — mi Mentor querido,

Pienso en usted a menudo … incluso ahora. Usted es, y usted siempre será, mi Mentor. Somos tan parecidos, usted y yo – ambos hombres de conciencia que condujo nuestros países a hacerse sociedades fuertes con economías modernas. No es siempre fácil conducir aquellos que rechazan ser conducidos … que deciden permanecer en la ignorancia. Ellos a veces deben ser eliminados para el bien de muchos. Es para eso que los militares y las fuerzas de seguridad son: mantener ” la verdadera democracia “.

Una de las grandes decepciones de mi vida era también uno de mis momentos más orgullosos. Era triste de ver que yo fui el único jefe de estado extranjero a asistir en su entierro. Al menos Ferdinand Marcos envió a su esposa Imelda en su lugar. Pero esto era un momento orgulloso para mí : estar solo ante el mundo en la conmemoración de uno de los mayores líderes de la historia … mi Mentor.

Somos tanto Católico, como por lo tanto somos concedidos con la gracia de Dios. Pueda la memoria de la historia de usted nunca morir. Un día seremos ambos reconocidos por nuestra grandeza y nuestro amor supremo y compasión por nuestra gente.

Hasta entonces, mi amigo querido, descanse en paz y le uniré sobre “el otro lado del tiempo” bastante pronto.

Pensando en tí,
A. Pinochet

“Burbujas — Fiesta en Málaga”, oil on canvas, 65×90 cm., 2019. This crazy work attempts to unite my passions for colorfield exploration and abstract geometric expressionism. There were many technical challenges involved as well as brush technical acrobatics. I always say that I will never again subject myself to paintings circles but I cannot resist the challenge … or the magic of the Circle.

(Text, painting and photo by Adam Donaldson Powell.)

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