Antón LAMAZARES, NICOLAI -
Galerie Richard is pleased to introduce, for the first time in the USA, the works by Antón Lamazares and Nicolai from September 3 to September 30, 2017.
Antón Lamazares was born in 1954 in Maceira, in the village of Lalín in Pontevedra, Spain. There, he studied in the Franciscan convent of San Antonio de Herbón, an experience that left an indelible impression upon the mystical and poetic process of his work. Self-taught, the Spanish artist has created an autonomous universe that evolves from expressionism and abstraction to the essentialism of his latest series, wherein there is always a dialogue of soul and memory, of sensuality and spirituality, and of dreams and poetry
Nicolai, who works under the mononym derived from his last name, was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1964, where his artistic stylings were formed in the studio of the painter Oddur Stenthórsson. Nicolai’s works are equally conceptual and mystical, as well as poetic and provocative in his seeking to represent the intimacy of human nature. Perhaps most profound is Nicolai’s ability to excel in capturing obscure light, allowing him to seamlessly transition between what he wants to show and what he wishes to simply suggest. Currently, Nicolai lives and works between Beijing, Paris, Madrid and Reykjavik.
Lamazares’s Alfabeto Delfín consists of twenty-seven letters, an encrypted language that plays with the name of his father – Delfin – and with the idea that end contains the germ of a new beginning. They make up various poems and messages on monochrome backgrounds in large format cardboard. Lamazares creates these symbols as an arcane and mystical language, whose eventual decoding does not corrupt the mystery they carry. He goes back in time to the primordial sense of the poetic; he is inventive, but recalls the very origin of language. Lamazares not only creates a vocabulary of his own, but cleaves it onto humble cardboard, thus transforming it into a winged script: a pictograph. Lamazares falls within a Celtic imagination, evoking imagery as fertile as its endearing Galician homes, credited by Rosalía de Castro, Castro Viejo, and the great Alvaro Cunqueiro. Unlike them, Lamazares leaves a gap for the recollection of cordial intimacy, which transforms screams into the whispers of the Franciscan pleading, that humble prayer for nature that transcends our superb delusions of grandeur. Painting is an act of unveiling, creating an empty space where the words of the heart are being heard again in the world. That is what we see in these paintings, a prayer.
Nicolai questions the world without prejudice and without restraint. Courbet was the instigator of this foreground with his work “The Origin of the World”. Art and rhetoric are joined: Venus looks at the viewer but it is unnoticed in the darkness. The faces are hidden, the intimate parts unveiled. The work and life of Nicolai are imbued with the tradition in which Rubens and Dalí are reborn and can touch the reminiscences of the historical eye of Bataille, Sartre or Apollinaire.
Nicolai excels in chiaroscuro, the arrangement of lights that allows him to juggle between what he wants to show and what he wants to suggest. All wrapped up in black leather, his paintings are themselves plunged into darkness. The artistic conception of Nicolai could be assimilated by what he denominates “the darkness of Eden”. In fact, his work represents his personal paradise. As he says, “we can see a relationship between the cosmos, sex and religion.” This means an elevation from the superfluous to the sacred, a quest he pursues throughout his career as an artist. Presenting himself in his paintings and his video as a sex symbol, he connects painting to performance art.
Nicolai regularly exhibits his works from the late 80s to the present day in renowned galleries in Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Madrid, Barcelona, Beijing, Tokyo, Valencia, as well as in art fairs such as Art Basel, Arco, Art Cologne, Art LA, Art Madrid, etc. He exhibits regularly in the biggest museums in China and his works are in the collections of many museums in China.