On Tuesday 20th November 2012 I went along to see the Antonio López exhibition at the Fundació Sorigué with my friend Oscar. The Sorigué Foundation has been building up a collection of artwork from around the world for about a decade but this is the first exhibition that they have ever held. The first part of the exhibition, which also included works by other artists from the Sorigué collection, held López’s large paintings of the famous street Gran Vía in Madrid. Each work is 130 x 124 cm and each one represents a different view of the street mainly from above, that is to say, from the roofs of the buildings. The colour palette is quite vivid but could be considered naturalistic, López is considered by some to be the world’s greatest living realist painter, and certainly the attention to detail and accuracy of perspective of drawing is really impressive. What I really like about the work, however is that it is unfinished giving it an expressive quality. The artist will only work on the pieces at a certain time of the year and at a certain time of day. So a whole year passes before he can work on them again. This unhurried manner of working is common throughout his work, which in general transmits calm and timelessness, stillness and an attention to the absolutely ordinary everydayness of life.
He is considered a genius, legendary. There is something absolutely monolithic yet graceful and quiet about his work, he’s like an old master living in our times. But he is such a humble and simple person. His work gave me a lot of cause to stop and re-evaluate my hurried existence. If I want to produce great work and eventually, I don’t know, get some sort of recognition for what I do maybe the best way to do it is to slow down and contemplate. I think I must be the most impatient and impulsive person alive sometimes, but other times I am too cautious and scared to do anything, I am looking for the balance and Zen quality that this Spanish abuelo has achieved. This has made me think of Karate Kid for some reason. Maybe my new mantra should be “wax on, wax off”.