PAINTING: THE LEADING DISCIPLINE

Painting has been present since the origin of the plastic expression as one of the most natural, most intuitive and stable manifestations throughout the history of art. However, its two-dimensionality has questioned its communicative capacity in the last century and has given rise to new creative trends focused on overcoming the limitations of the canvas through the search for movement, the decomposition of objects or multiple perspectives. At the same time, painting has been associated with classicism and testimonial representations of history as a technique that served the dictates of the sociopolitical pulse of the moment, so many contemporary authors have neglected it and opted for other disciplines more versatile.

Georg Baselitz, "Motiv kaputt", 1991. "La Caixa" Contemporary Art Collection

However, painting has always made its way again and has demonstrated its ability to reinvent itself and host countless messages according to the new times. For this reason, this discipline always resurfaces, accommodates new concerns and allows a more critical approach that expands the limits of art and the plasticity of the canvas itself. When it seemed that everything was said, we see that the painting can overcome its apparent limitations and host new speeches in the hands of today's creators.

Ángela de la Cruz, "Clutter VII (Yellow)", 2004. "La Caixa" Contemporary Art Collection

With this intention of revaluing oil on canvas, CaixaForum Madrid opens to the public the exhibition "The painting, a permanent challenge" where you can visit more than forty works from the La Caixa Foundation collection, started in 1985. When there were hardly any centres dedicated to contemporary creation in Spain, this institution opened the doors of its venues in Barcelona and Madrid in 1980 to become a reference to the latest art in our country. Since then, the collection has continued to grow and incorporate new names to its list.

Sean Scully, “Gabriel”, 1993. "La Caixa" Contemporary Art Collection

Nimfa Bisbe, head of the "la Caixa" collections, has curated the exhibition by making a selection of works that deal with the abstraction and plasticity of painting from an open conception, not limited to classical standards or traditional representation. With artworks by Robert Ryman, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Wolfgang Tillmans, Robert Mangold, Ángela de la Cruz, Ruben Guerrero, Günther Förg, Jessica Stockholder, Juan Uslé and Richard Tuttle, among others, the tour proposes a material approach to the painting and the use of the elements that exceed their expected dimension and reach some extent of corporeality.

 

One of the purposes of the “Art Madrid-Proyector’20” program was to offer the opportunity to get to know the work of some invited creators, and, through an interactive talk, allow the public to open a direct dialogue with them. For this reason, from February 12th to 14th, were organised three masterclasses at Medialab Prado with Patxi Araújo, Olga Diego and Lois Patiño, all authors who work with the moving image, but who approach their projects from a diametrically opposite perspective. With this agenda, we were able to discuss three essential lines of current video-creation: the fusion with technology and artificial intelligence, the shaping of performances for documentary purposes and video art with film overtones. We already had the opportunity to remember the session with Patxi Araújo and his site-specific work "Sherezade" created for the Medialab Prado façade. Today we will talk about the meeting we had with Olga Diego and Lois Patiño.

Olga diego, photo by Javier Adiego

Olga Diego’s masterclass has as title: “The flight as a creative matter”. Olga is a multidisciplinary artist who in recent years has focused her work on sculpture and performance or action art, which she later documents with photography and video. This last aspect is one of the most interesting for her when she reflects on how the transformation of the piece from an experiential format to a recorded one takes place, and how individuals have become used to consuming this class of less invasive final products, from a space of comfort that our private devices offer.

One of Olga's main lines of research is related to autonomous flight systems and the creation of artefacts capable of rising with little energy. Can one create a material lighter than air itself? This idea has led her to experiment with numerous scientific forms and concepts, as well as taking a historical journey through the beginnings of flight and the progress of humanity to invent devices capable of flying. It is not just about recovering the history of aviation, something that has a much more technological and commercial side, but to investigate the ideas, experiments and tests that analysed the behaviour of air, the dynamics of flows and the design of individual aerodynamic structures, a concern that the human being showed since the Renaissance, with Leonardo Da Vinci.

Olga Diego, photo by Mario Gutiérrez Cru

Olga recovers many of these concepts and applies them to her recent projects. In her latest proposals, she has also worked with inflatable figures, as an alternative to conducted flight, using plastic materials for its construction. Her last exhibition “The automatic garden”, which could be enjoyed at the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and the Lonja del Pescado Exhibition Hall, also in Alicante, is a gigantic installation made up of almost a hundred inflatable-electronic sculptures inspired by the beautiful, extravagant and suggestive characters from the Garden of Earthly Delights, by El Bosco. This cloud of humanoid and zoomorphic figures, which move and beat thanks to the electronic mechanisms that keep them permanently inflated, also portrays the excesses of man, his lack of concern for the invasion of the environment, the overexposure to plastic and the exploitation of natural resources. A composition that focuses on "sin", as an indirect message that was also conveyed in the work of El Bosco.

Masterclass of Lois Patiño. Photo by Marta Suárez-Mansilla

For his part, Lois Patiño's career is intimately connected to film work. “Time and image” was the title of his masterclass. His video pieces, whether brief or feature-long films contain a concern closely linked to film language, but on a path that leaves conventional narratives aside. Among the main motifs that occupy his work, Lois opts for more contemplative aesthetics, where the expressive power of the image itself is prioritised, without seeking too many added effects in conventional cinema through sound effects, dialogues or other devices.





This is why Lois's work is so poetic and lyrical. His proposals incorporate technological innovations to cause very concrete effects in his works, but all of this helps to delve into the issues that concern this creator and that, since his beginnings, have been present in his work.

Lois Patiño, foto de Mario Gutiérrez Cru

Lois Patiño has always been interested in the relationship of the individual with the landscape and how it can modulate our way of behaving in society and determine our idiosyncrasy. To what extent are we dependent on our environment? How is culture defined by its connection to the landscape? These and other questions plague the author's work in which many contemplative images abound.

In addition, Lois presented us in scoop the trailer for his latest feature-long film "Lúa vermella" that a few days after the masterclass was officially presented at the Berlinale - International Film Festival in Berlin 2020.