ART AND SHOW BUSINESS: JAIME LORENTE AT EGAM
Posted on January 9, 2013 by Emilia Garcia Romeu
Quite often the art world behaves like show business, falling for the star of the moment while condemning yesterday’s promises to obsolescence, even if their work is not obsolete. And it seems at least paradoxical that just when artists have reached their maturity and developed a language of their own, they hardly ever get solo shows and are usually excluded from group exhibitions; they literally disappear from the public eye. Despite their ostracism, many of these artists, now in their forties and fifties, are not only alive but also kicking and making very interesting work, probably the best in their career. This is the case of Jaime Lorente, on view at Egam (Madrid) this Fall. His first works, from the 1980s, were dark, thick paintings echoing artists such as Enzo Cucchi and Anselm Kiefer. Along the way, however, his palette got brighter and his brushstroke lighter, and although painting remained at the center of his practice, he started incorporating new techniques (photography, silkscreen, collage, photo-shop) and materials (mirrors, cork, glass).
Especially talented for color and composing suggesting images, Lorente has been, since the 1990s, interested in shapes projecting or superimposing onto surfaces of diverse nature. He is particularly keen of composing diagrams and systems, conventional or imagined, possibly revealing an aspect of reality and definitely stirring up our imagination. Contour lines; the expanding waves generated by blow; imaginary constellations; the shadows cast on a disarrayed table after lunch are some of the elements of Lorentes’ heterogeneous universe. They may imprint themselves onto other diagrams, or mirrors, or photographs, or areas of color. During these years, he has never stopped experimenting in order to recreate what he calls “a sense of being in the world.” This “being in the world” involves not only reconstructing memories from his childhood, but also the myriad stimuli and images that constitute contemporary experiences, from sensory, domestic impressions to abstract representations. Often, these images (and the times and places they evoke) collide with one another by coinciding, literally, on the same plane. Layer upon layer, silhouettes, photographs, and painted surfaces play one another to achieve a vivid sense of simultaneity and immediacy.
In his exhibition at Egam, Lorente seems to be synthesizing some of his earlier images and compositions with new ones. These huge layered silk-screens on light green, gold, blue or deep reed, show images, collages, decollages, and diagrams used in former pieces intermingling with new motifs, each of them bringing its own color to the whole. In most pieces, like Beijing, Tokyo or Green Moon, there is a superimposing pattern to which photographs and collages adapt, so that they look like pieces in a puzzle or a map. These images mostly come from advertising and the news (wars, sports, nature…); the patterns have their origin in earlier pieces inspired by the (dis)arrangement of objects on a table after a meal, which, in time, have become abstract diagrams. As Baroque as they may sound, with few exceptions, Lorente’s works at Egam are balanced and often even airy. In fact, he has always been an elegant artist and a gifted draughtsman with a great sense of space, so though dynamic and profuse, his works are seldom overcrowded.
Jaime Lorente comes back, in 2012, to Egam, where he started his career. His work, now, is solid, as contemporary as you can get, beautiful, and exciting. I hope he attracts, again, public attention, not only because he deserves it but also because it will help us construct full accounts and complete genealogies of our own recent art history.
Egam Gallery – Calle Villanueva, 29, 28001, Madrid