OVERVIEWNOV 26 to DEC 23Solo Exhibition
- Solo Exhibition
Dates and Opening hoursNOV 26 to DEC 23, 2015
I remember a few years ago, it must have been 1997, I went into a bar one afternoon and looking around was astonished by everyone that I saw. Everyone was doing their own thing without caring about what for me was very special and in that moment felt like a kind of miracle; the people there, acquaintances or strangers, had all coincided in that space and time, part of a long story that included thousands of millions of people in other places at the same time. I really wanted to shout out “We are here, now!”
This happy coincidence happens to everyone all the time. I don’t always feel it with the same intensity as I did that afternoon but sometimes I recuperate the feeling and play with it by wondering what people that I admire and who live at the same time as me are doing right now. What does Philippe Pettit do now, what is Chan Marshall doing, what’s my friend Fermín Jiménez Landa up to…It’s emotional to share life with them, even without knowing them personally which doesn’t matter. I know they’re there.
Each portrait I start is a historical first. I am very lucky to be able to paint people that I want to paint. Meet up with them, take photos of them and then paint them. I don’t know why some paintings turn out better than others, but it’s not important, because the desire to start a new portrait never runs dry. I would love to be able to paint effortlessly like when you watch people in the street, but its comforting to see how the paint is determined to be something different to what the eye sees. Eluding what I felt was the truth at that moment to be transformed into a different truth. This is the best thing about painting with no preconceived ideas. Marlene Dumas was right when talking about the portraits of Alice Neel she said that they gave off energy. The energy was brought to the painting by the chemistry she had with her models. As we know, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Painting is the same.
Happy coincidences is Juan Fernández Álava’s second individual exhibition in La New Gallery. They are small and medium sized, oil on canvas paintings that reflect his fascination for portraits and the captured moment in paint.
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