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OPS / El Roto / Rábago. Un viatge de mil dimonis (i un parell d'àngels).

Mi siglo, El Roto, 2001, © Andrés Rábago
El Roto, Mi siglo, 2001  © Andrés Rábago





Andrés Rábago (Madrid, 1947). Autodidact. Contributor, signing as OPS or El Roto, in political analysis magazines (Triunfo, Cuadernos para el Diálogo, Ajoblanco, Cambio 16, Tiempo), comics (Tótem, Madriz) satirical publications (Hermano Lobo, El Jueves) and newspapers (Diana 16, El Independiente, El Periódico de Catalunya, and, for many years, El País). Author of more than 20 books (latest book: Viñetas para una crisis. Barcelona: Mondadori, 2011). Illustrator of a number of books, mainly those by his friend Manuel Vicent. Set designer for texts written by Luis Malilla and Grupo Ditirambo. Co-author of the animation short film La edad del silencio by Gabriel Blanco, 1978, awarded a prize at San Sebastian International Film Festival. Almost 90 solo exhibitions of his drawings and paintings (signed as Rábago). This is his latest exhibition, first presented at Centro de Arte Tecla Sala from 26 September 2012 to 24 February 2013.





OPS, Untitled, 1974, © Andrés Rábago


OPS, Ilustración para La carne es yerba de Manuel Vicent, 1985, © Andrés Rábago





In the mid 1960s, as the masses became stronger as being synonymous with the individual though not so intensely as today, Andrés Rábago set out in a personal voyage, getting away from the futility of his time and transforming himself into an attribute-free man. First, he started using a pen name, OPS, finding a space in the most critical publications under the dictatorship which, as can be expected, was not particularly keen on free thinking. His pseudonym was like a shelter that allowed him to make an introspection into the unconscious through self-analysis. His vignettes helped him give vent to his frustration, that same frustration that flattened us all emotionally. The monsters that OPS discovered when looking inside himself were those that had turned our reasoning into a slave until it had became too lazy to embark on the new era that was to come at some point.





El Roto, Halloween, 2006
El Roto, Halloween, 2006, © Andrés Rábago





Every now and then, however, elements from both the social and political domains became patent in his satirical and cruel drawings, out of his own awareness that community bonds had suffered terribly during the long Francoist regime. Almost naturally, in the early 1970s, he started using a heteronym: El Roto. It is a heteronym because this personality was clearly differentiated from that of the author, who rightly placed his creature in the realm of civil conscience, understanding, right from the start, that his purpose was to give a public and social service: to break down the condition as individual-mass, for it to shift away from a perspective as a viewer of a disaggregating and anesthetising reality.





El Roto, El paseíllo, 2001, © Andrés Rábago


El Roto, El demagogo, 2006
El Roto, The demagogue, 2006, © Andrés Rábago





OPS and El Roto travelled part of the way together (some drawings from 1976 are actually signed by both of them). Yet, while the former –already free from excrescence- wandered around more aesthetic fields in drawing and soon in painting, coming close to visual poetry, the latter started to settle –to this day– as one of the most involved Spanish artists in the reconstruction of community cohesion and in the vindication of the concept of person, cornered by the concept of individual brought out and implemented modernity.


OPS, however, would slowly turn silent until the advent of the new century, when he displayed unprecedented graphic intensity and excellence, while painter OPS drifted away, in the late 1980s, this time towards an orthonym: Andrés Rábago, the architect of his own works. His voice is the most similar to the deepest interests of his creator, with whom he shares his name and surname, like Bernardo Soares to Fernando Pessoa.





Andrés Rábago, El gran Timonel, 2007
Andrés Rábago, El Gran Timonel, 2007, © Andrés Rábago