The exhibition ‘El enigma Pertierra’ results from a project created by the illustrator Javier Olivares and the writer Fernando Marías, who passed away in February 2022. After fourteen years of preparation, their work has just been turned into a book that, beautifully published by Astiberri, works as the catalogue of an exhibition its authors dreamt of from the beginning. It was only much later that we heard about Pertierra: coinciding with the first death anniversary of our beloved Fernando Marías. We understood that it was a literary joke, something Fernando was so fond of, that somehow he was suggesting to us to continue, so we accepted the game: the exhibition would become a reality. Produced and designed by the festival together with Olivares for the 14th edition of the festival, it will be available for touring at a later date.

Who was Joaquín Pertierra? Magic and enigma come together in a journey that, as in life, the imaginary and reality walk hand in hand. The exhibition delves into a creative process dominated by the power of the imagination. It does so by tracing the mystery of Joaquín Pertierra, the enigmatic illustrator that Javier Olivares embodies through a dedicated creative endeavour that has multiplied, or at least endowed with a dual nature, his artistic personality.

This graphic and literary mystery story includes an important part of Pertierra’s work: iconic book covers, record covers, magazine covers, and comic pages, as well as various objects and original material… It is also the story of an intimate friendship between two people, turned into a trio with an “evanescent real being”, and a double homage: to the forgotten illustrators of the forties, fifties and sixties and to the outstanding writer who was the restless and enthusiastic Fernando Marías.

With free admission, ‘El enigma Pertierra’ will be exhibited in the Axular hall and annexes of the Bizkaia Aretoa UPV/EHU from 20 September to 22 October. Likewise, ten illustrations selected from the exhibition will be displayed in large-format reproductions in the lobbies of Metro Bilbao stations from 15 September to 31 October.