LINO LAGO INTERVIEW, AN IRONIC AND CRITICAL ARTIST WITH A COMPLETE TECHNICAL DOMAIN

“Everything that reduces art to a subjective, subconscious and spiritual discourse is a total adulation that discredits the art world”

Lino Lago looking forward inspiration in daily life to create a painting with a great conceptual load. In his most recent series entitled Fake Abstract, which he will exhibit at Art Madrid with the Moret Art Gallery, he plays with the characteristic elements of abstract painting: line and colour, where under a painting of flat colours they are guessed, through lines, famous classic portraits.

 

His work has been exhibited in renowned national and international spaces such as the Flint Institute of Michigan and the outstanding George Adams Gallery in New York and has participated in important fairs such as Arco, Art Miami or Art Fair “SH Contemporary 09″ from Shanghai.

 

Moret Art brings your production back to the Fair. How do you feel your work fits in Art Madrid?

Works of art today reflect the individualism of their authors; works of art are mobile, they travel and fit anywhere. Needless to say that this individualism is a generalized feature. There is another more academic art which is institutionalized art, less free. Art in Institutions and Government museums is the only one that has reliable regulated guidelines when it comes to “fit” in such places. In this case I normally refer to propaganda art. Art Fairs are generally perfect places to find free art (if that were possible, or made sense to some extent, or if we understand art as a social phenomenon based on liberty.)

 

In your work we can perceive the questioning of the glance as an abstract concept. How do you think contemporary art is viewed today?

There is a social stream that views art with some criticism and skepticism. I think this is healthy and it has a foundation that we do not want to analyze in depth. If we compared it to some other areas we would understand why. For example, in sports we can clearly see a more normal “justice.” He who is objectively faster or stronger wins. Talent in the sports world is something evident and because of that sports are disdained by the world of art. I believe anyone can reach their own conclusions. By all means Art is (in theory) an intellectual phenomenon, which does not mean that art turns intelligent anyone who approaches it, just as anyone who touches a soccer ball is not a Maradona. As an intellectual phenomenon it is impossible for art not to have lots of misguided argumentations, false judgments, sophistry, and hot air.

Your work has been recognized internationally on many occasions… Do you believe that artistic recognition is a dynamic facet?

More than dynamic. The results an artist needs are the sequel of the relationship between the artist and his work and society. This is something that is not learnt in any university.

 

As an artist, what do you feel committed to?

With liberty. This word has almost been shunned from the paraphernalia of today’s art. I am very critical with official art which is nothing but academe. In my work I introduce 19th-century academe as an ironic way of pointing out this problem: I believe that postmodern education and philosophy have been, and still are, a hoax that has diminished the intellectual capability of the humanities.

 

Criticism through irony over a great technical mastery is your hallmark. Although you have a diverse production… do you feel a unity in your work as a whole? Is that generated consciously or is it a natural artistic trait?

In my case I am aware of it. Besides, it is the process of hard work. To speak of naturalness, and above all to speak of unconsciousness is an aberration. Whatever reduces art to a subjective subconscious or spiritual discourse is an all-out sham that discredits the world of art.

 

Do you believe that artistic originality is getting to be difficult to find? Is it there where the value of your work rests?

I believe so. Although the difficulty here is to decide what to be original means. In times where the cultural predominance is in the hands of the passing anecdote, the emptiness, and the all goes… perhaps originality might be something else, right?

 

The gallery Moret Art will present the recent art works of the artists: Daniel Sueiras, Xurxo Gómez-Chao, Miguel Piñeiro, Pilar Diez

 

 

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.