Thursday, 19 January 2023 13:57

Artium Museoa presents the exhibition 'Compositions' by Rafael Lafuente

Artium Museoa presents the exhibition 'Compositions' by Rafael Lafuente [Image: Untitled. Rafael Lafuente, 1997]

The exhibition comprises works that span four decades of his production to trace his rigorous research process from expressionism to geometric abstraction

Many of the works, some never seen before, come from the painter’s studio, a collection of documents and works recovered and conserved by his family

The exhibition portrays Rafael Lafuente’s creative personality in a broad and complex light

The Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country, Artium Museoa, presents the exhibition Rafael Lafuente. Konposaketak | Composiciones | Compositions (A3 Gallery, until 14 May 2023). The show traces the chronology of an artist who subjected his work to a rigorous process of research and refinement until arriving at pure geometric language. The museum has therefore brought together works from both its collection and the studio of Rafael Lafuente (Vitoria, 1936-2005), together encompassing four decades of his work, from the 1960s to his last works dated 2004, shortly before his death. In addition to paintings, the exhibition also presents documents and drawings to help portray the creative personality of this artist, illustrator and teacher. Artium Museoa is producing a publication to mark the exhibition with texts by its curator, Enrique Martínez Goikoetxea, and the artist, curator and teacher Juan Luis Moraza. The museum is also organising a three-way conversation to coincide with the opening of the exhibition, between the curator, the artist’s son, Gorka Lafuente, and the gallery owner and curator Gorka Basterretxea.

Konposaketak | Composiciones | Compositions brings together an extensive selection of Rafael Lafuente's paintings, thereby allowing us to trace his career from his first surrealist figurative works of the 1960s to the last pieces he produced shortly before his death in 2005. Throughout this time, Lafuente developed a constant and intense process of research and experimentation with techniques, media, means and formats, eliminating iconic references and formal purification until he developed a rigorous geometric language by producing sequences of works. This language resulted from a dialogue with colour as protagonist, together with line, plane and composition.

In an attempt to demonstrate these processes of formal purification, the exhibition is presenting a series of paintings organised chronologically and, alongside these, a set of drawings and archival materials relating to different projects and experimental practices. Many of these materials are being exhibited for the first time and together they help to portray Rafael Lafuente’s creative personality in a broad and complex light, including his facet as an illustrator and designer.

This overview of his work ranges from the pictorial existentialism of his early works, his incursion into graphic art, organic figuration and pop art, until arriving at constructive logic and geometric abstraction, and it is intersected by the production of drawings, optical games of painting on mirrors, compositions on mobile panels, watercolours, gouaches, sculpture projects and public murals. Alongside emblematic works from the Artium Museoa Collection, the bulk of these objects come from the artist’s studio, a collection of documents and works that has been recovered and carefully conserved and catalogued by the painter’s family.

From his earliest works, Rafael Lafuente pursued independent research, far removed from the tastes and narratives of the time in a discourse that challenged painting carried out in his own context and time. His works were the result of a self-taught process of enquiry and discovery, a process that translates into a constantly evolving body of work, collected in countless notes on his colour tests, spatial organisations, series of shapes, sizes and finishes. Some of his most notable exhibitions were held at the Eder-Arte gallery and Espacio 40 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, at the Mikeldi and Windsor Galleries in Bilbao, at the Arteder competition in Bilbao (in 1981 and 1983), and at the Felisa Navarro gallery in Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2004, in what was to be his last exhibition during his lifetime. Particularly noteworthy were the retrospective exhibition devoted to him by the Fine Arts Museum in Alava in 1986 and an exhibition at Sala Amárica in 1988.


Exhibitions in Artium Museoa
Jutta Koether. Black Place. Until 16 April 2023
The Rapture of Iván Zulueta. Until 5 March 2023
Rafael Lafuente. Konposaketak | Composiciones | Compositions. Until 14 May 2023
Zeru bat, hamaika bide. Artistic Practices in the Basque Country in the Period 1977-2002. Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country Collection. Until 12 February 2023

Coming soon
Alejandro Cesarco. Other Recent Examples. Opening: 24 March 2023
Irati Gorostidi-Mirari Echávarri. San Simón 62. Z Gallery. Opening: 24 March 2023
Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country Collection. New Chronology. Opening: 31 March 2023
Contexts from a Collection: Sahatsa Jauregi. Opening: 31 March 2023

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