In the early eighties, Xavier Grau definitively abandoned reductive formalism in favour of gestural, colourist painting. Using an Expressionist brushstroke, he obtained an increasingly hermetic and complex density. The colour—architectural in nature—seeks its own time and renounces any possible symbolic overtones. Drawing is used in a dialectical relationship to articulate the space of a tense conversation. In La primera paraula IV, the line is not subordinate to colour; both act as genuine structural elements in a rich interplay of superimposing planes. During the latter half of the eighties, Xavier Grau's work went from absolute abstraction—from the almost exclusive use of colour—to hinting at certain figurative elements, which he would sometimes emphasise with his titles. These were fragmented, ambiguous beings that evoked the iconography of the comic and seemed to disintegrate in the chaos of form and colour. In this piece from 1987, one perceives the occasional outline of an image, caricatural in appearance and springing from chance impulses, gesture, the movement of the pictorial material. The figures are only hinted at, fleeting in origin, the traces of presences related to the real world that are drawn in fragmented processes. The images weave ironies with the fluid, dynamic structure from which the density of the canvas emanates, and we are reminded of Philip Guston’s later work or Picasso’s final paintings. Grau's work bears the imprint of a certain corrosive, biting humour tending towards sarcasm, through which he makes a critical and occasionally galvanic reading of the situation of the characters and their environment.