Luis Gordillo XXL/XXI

From: Wednesday, 09 April 2014

To: Sunday, 24 August 2014

Place: North Gallery

One of the most outstanding figures in Spanish contemporary painting shows 25 big size recent works

Director of the project: Enrique Martínez Goikoetxea

List of works Brochure Texts in the gallery Dossier (Library) (in Spanish)

The Luis Gordillo XXL/XXI exhibition on display in Artium shows the prolific creative output of this artist from Seville. The exhibition began a year and a half before its opening during a visit to Gordillo's studio. It was here that the artist suggested the basic structure of the project and the selection of works to be included, the main aim being, in broad brush terms, to transpose the kaleidoscopic image of Gordillo's studio to the exhibition space, in other words, to present Gordillo's work less mediatised or influenced by interests other than those of the aesthetic experience, his creative reality at the present time. By and large, the exhibits were selected from among his recent artworks, with a particular emphasis on large-format pieces and series he has begun in which he is pursuing research today, two types of work prominent in his working process.

The image of the artist's studio is a close approximation of the subject matter that Gordillo explores in his work and which is generated in it: a vast collage of evolving images filled with dynamism, energy waiting to attain an active, stable balance; works in progress, fragmented images, photographs, reproductions and paintings that make up the macro-cosmos in which archives of documents, notebooks, sketchpads and small objects all co-exist, side by side, carefully ordered into sub-worlds selected on the basis of all kinds of associations and ideas. This space, flooded with natural light, acts as a crucible in which the electrical and particular world of the artist's subconscious is melded with a profound awareness of the world we share.

It is possible to read in the title of the exhibition, XXL/XXI, a translation of the code used to describe clothing sizes, extra extra large/21. As such, it places the emphasis on the dimension of the works, which measure up to 5 metres long, and on the chronological period in which they were produced, the last ten years. The show includes 26 titles, among them several series, between them totalling 60 exhibits. Together they reveal a multitude of nuances in the artist's main thematic interests and the source of the energy transmitted by his work. Through these works, it is possible to discern the various ways the artist approaches his work. In one of them, which Gordillo refers to as vertical, the artist uses his inner evocations and his palette as he pits himself against the blank canvas. It is a process that implies a challenging confrontation: the artist facing his work and his own interior. Through a horizontal process, however, some works derive from those that have gone before, a continuum that could eventually become eternal. Thus, a dual approach to the artist's reality is generated: one that is incisive, profound and driven by impulse; and one that stems from the control of that impulse by means of processes that rationalise, specify and develop a matrix through which the artist can explore and experiment with modes that renew codes, languages and ways of doing and being in the world. Concepts such as evolution, derivation and even deviation have given rise to the core series of the project. In this particular group of works, a number of the titles—a tool that the artist regards as crucial in the construction of the image—refer us to Darwin, to an evolutionary development of the work, in which one piece contains the seed of the next by means of processes such as splitting, cutting, folding and repetition, transferred to a large extent by chance. These works feature photomechanical and digital media, any kind of tool that will increase the possibilities for analysing the image and which will facilitate the union of the visceral and the norm in a single body of work.

Luis Gordillo was born in Seville in 1934. He came to painting late on after graduating in Law and it was not until he came across French and Spanish informalist painting towards the close of the 1950s that he embarked on his highly individual work. He subsequently discovered Pop and in 1963 started psychoanalysis, an experience that was to profoundly affect his work. In 1967 he joined the Nueva Generación group launched by the painter and critic Juan Antonio Aguirre, shortly afterwards becoming the leading influence for a generation of young painters such as Carlos Alcolea, Guillermo Pérez- Villalta, Carlos Franco and Rafael Pérez-Mínguez. In 1974, the M-11 art centre in Seville organised the first survey exhibition of his work, which was followed by countless other exhibitions at home and abroad through to the present day. In 1981, he was awarded the National Plastic Arts Prize and in 1996 the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts. In 2007, the year of his great retrospective at the Reina Sofía in Madrid, he was awarded the Velázquez Prize for the Plastic Arts.

To accompany the exhibition, Artium will be publishing a catalogue designed by Carlos Serrano and featuring essays by Juan Francisco Rueda and Daniel Castillejo.

    Paraleloan / En paralelo / In Parallel is the name of the project that encompasses two new exhibitions produced by Artium: Juan Mieg. Xuxurlaka and Luis Gordillo XXL/XXI, which will be open to the public from 9 April to 24 August 2014.

    This programme and the works on display stem from a desire to bring together in the same time and place artists engaged in the ‘paradise lost' of painting, producing works that have provided art criticism with grounds for discussion, making a notable contribution to the renewal of artistic languages, and continuing to employ the same creative energy in their endeavours. Among its various aims, the project is intended to recontextualise and to raise the appreciation of a technique that seems, within the context of contemporary creation, to have lost the aesthetic status it once had over the course of history. A technique which, though traditional, bears no relation to the academic and which has retained intact its ability to suggest a natural, intimate (perhaps even erotic) relationship between the artist and the creative act and between the work and the public. In addition, the intention is to encourage reflection on the artistic context itself, in which discourse frequently supplants the object, to call attention to the sensory experience of the physical reality of painting.

    These two artists were born in the 1930s and belong to a generation that felt the same need to overcome the academic languages of the time. Their careers have run in parallel and, while they may have opted for different aesthetics, they continue to share the same urge to create in a dialogue, face to face, with contemporaneity.

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