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Di., 13. Dez.



colors at the end of the tunnel, Undanced, Signapura

Pre-View exhibition of Luis Casanova Sorolla

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colors at the end of the tunnel, Undanced, Signapura
colors at the end of the tunnel, Undanced, Signapura

Time & Location

13. Dez. 2022, 18:00

DONAUHOF , Engerthstr. 141, 1020 Wien, Österreich

About Luis Casanova Sorolla

presentation and critical text by Robert C.Phillips and Matilde Nuzzo


The abstraction, the lack of a clear and recognizable figurativeness, the form of instinct, emotions and feelings of Luis Casanova have roots in the traction and contraction of that "core", that performative movement with which he paints his papers. Due act, which does not start from a conscious thought, rational mind or heart: it starts from his abstract center located in that ideal space that is created between the artist and the act of creating. Luis interrupts all forms of mediation, he becomes one between body and paper, between the giver and the elsewhere, the breath of life begins viscerally, in his core, and is spent on the paper.

Z. Bauman has coined the phrase "liquid world" to refer to the quick and elusive society in which we are living, a definition that gives, in my opinion, an interesting description of the artist: "To be an artist means to give form and structure to what would otherwise be unshapeable and undefined. It means manipulating probabilities. It means imposing order on what would otherwise be chaos [...]." I took the quote from Bauman to talk about the works of Luis Casanova, who represents, in this new series of works, a colorful, articulate, and constantly moving nonplacer. However, inside, at its inner lifeway, Luis's painting speaks to us about the language of the human body, understood as an existential process of self-knowledge in the world. A workflow in which the spasms, torments, and movements of the body that create the image are clearly evidenced. The life, in his works, seems to be forced inside harnessed bodies, by their own physically powerful representation, trying to break free from the restrictive grids of the everyday or the dark bodies of the unconscious.

A summary of the artist's previous research, Luis Casanova abstracts his lived experience: dance takes on new forms, it is the movements of Capoeira, instinctive, combative, and incredibly harmonious and elegant that sets the course of his hands on the canvas, in a control-following of his own body in every tense muscle. His hands, then, are tinged with the hues of the purest and most pristine nature of South America, emerging in all their brilliance from the blackness of the support, setting up a tension between animate and inanimate bodies and completing the naturalistic panorama being represented.

The impetuous line the artist uses is typically expressionist: it undulates, makes circles, intersects until it breaks free and expands over the full surface. It is surely this idealized line that gives movement to all his images, tracing the continuity of movement, which in turn expresses the fluidity of life. It turns into a metaphor for the artist's own condition, who continually seeks it, vibrant with desire and pathos, inserting into an idealized song the muted sound of the flamboyant colors that make up his works.

Luis Casanova makes up his elaborations by articulating objects hit by the force of his desire and giving life to whispering colors, which are returned to the viewer's perception as in a pictorial snapshot, embodying the visionary universe of a magical, almost shamanic realism. Luis has a secret: the epiphany of the body at the moment when desire meets reality, and he knows that this secret manifests itself to people's perception only at that instant when reality makes friction with the vital energy of the wishing subject. The challenge he accepted is to paint that tension and moment.

Goethe was urging the artist, but also the viewer, to learn to observe the forms of the pictured subjects, capture their nature, and therefore, through cognitive intuition their essence. The art that resulted in such a way would be apt to counteract, with the surfacing of the deep reasons hidden behind the incessant becoming, the destructive force of the whole. Then becomes plausible to try to join the vision and creation of a work by knowing its accomplishment and premise, and by allowing a dialogue between the audience of the work and those who will then be mirrors and showcases of that work.

In the final analysis, the only fulfilling answer is to understand that, making art, for Luis Casanova is an inescapable need, a vocation. Making art for him means immersing himself in a universe all his own that knows how to give substance to a dream, color to an inspiration, form to a need. Art as a Way, the only one, to show one's soul to the outside world, to give voice and substance to an inalienable impulse by uniting us in that mysterious and enchanted aura that, only in the artistic gesture, finds its accomplished image.

M.N. P.R.

Text Gabrielle Cram: 

The multi-media works of Casanova Sorolla are defined through transformative processes. Two-dimensional artistic works hint at previously taken place and meticulously staged performances, which themselves find their source in traded but individually interpreted notations or mediated traditions between high and vernacular culture.

Transversal literally as well as in a political transferred sense; in Casanova Sorollas’ works over objects of cultural value - from folkloric to classic - complex sociocultural realities find their expression. Thereby it is the plurality of interpretability of meaning and the multilingualism of its speakers/interpreters, which bear for their complexity. Ephemerally appearing arts, such as music and dance, in diagrammatic annotations hint in traces at the complex relationships and the contingencies of concrete singularities.

Text Andreas Spiegl: 

Casanova Sorolla’s

notations reveal an act of dancing

that leaves traces but also

makes visible the script already

present within the movements.

These traces represent the act of

dancing with the script, dancing

with the dance. They record the

“Dis-Dance,” which differentiates

between dancing and dance

and still unites them at the same

time. In this sense, dancing

updates the dance, and this in

turn causes the dance both to

manifest in space and time and

to transcend the moment’s limitations

in virtual terms. A “pas

de quatre” sequence is literally

awaiting to be danced, and if this

sequence is being danced it will

be updated only temporarily,

since it only leaves actual traces,

which were already predetermined

in virtual terms. “Dis-

Dance” is the basic foundation

of any relationship between

dance and dancing, it defines an

indivisible dissimilarity, which

makes room for interpretation:

to dance a dance inevitably

means to interpret. Any step

sequence a dance defines has to

be performed once more and

thus interpreted once more.

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Lucas Gehrmann, Kunsthalle Wien :

Luis Casanova Sorolla hat mehrere Methoden entwickelt, den Lauf dieser Sensationen so festzuhalten, dass sie unser Erlebnis reaktivieren und – sollten wir nicht vor Ort gewesen sein bei der Aufführung des zu erinnernden Ereignisses – ein solches gar zu evozieren. Sorolla, der bereits im Kindesalter eine Ausbildung in klassischer Malerei in Lima und ab seinem 17. Lebensjahr ein Studium an der Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien absolviert hat, tut dies zum Einen mittels ganz traditioneller künstlerischer Medien: Zeichenkarton, Farbpigmente, Fixativ. Allerdings rührt er weder Farben noch Pinsel an, um seine oft großformatigen Arbeiten zu elaborieren, sondern lässt sie durch Dritte produzieren. Wobei deren einzige „Vorlage“ die Musik ist, manchmal in Verbindung vorgekannter Choreografien (Serie Signapura), manchmal frei improvisatorisch (Serie Improvisationen). Sorollas „Assistenten“ sind Profitänzerinnen und -tänzer, vorzugsweise Koryphäen ihres Fachs, die für ihn solistisch, paarweise oder auch in kleinen Truppen arbeiten. Sorolla wählt sie aus, so wie er die Musik auswählt, nach der sie sich sodann über seine Papierbahnen bewegen und sie dabei strukturieren, indem sie ihre tänzerischen Spuren ziehen auf und durch jene Farbpigment-Schichten, die der Künstler zuvor aufs Papier aufgetragen hat. Im Gegensatz zu den diversen Varianten „informeller“ Malerei kommt die Farbe hier also nicht von „oben“ auf den Bildträger und sie kommt auch nicht aus einer Hand, sondern das Bild entsteht im Prozess der Bewegung einer oder mehrerer menschlicher Körper auf und über dem Farbmittel und dessen Trägermaterial.

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