‘Três Olhos’ is my first foray into Brazil, accompanied by art manager María Mercedes Abad Lázaro.
‘Três Olhos’ is a site-specific artwork that depicts a female warrior wearing Brazilian ancestral attire in a triumphant stance conveyed by the symbolism of the feathers on her back. The feathers signify her struggle and victory, while the tiara on her head is inspired by the colours of the Brazilian flag and by the clothing worn by Indigenous Brazilians. The artwork was made using soft charcoal, soft pastel and coloured pencil on Saunders Waterford paper.
‘Três Olhos’ as an almost supernatural ideal
The figure is depicted not as a normal person we might encounter in any street or room but as an ideal, with little to link it to normality and convention.
On the contrary, she is portrayed in an idealised, almost supernatural attitude, seeking lands and behaviours that escape rationality, perhaps in a dreamlike, superlative world where we have all wanted to be at some time, in some way.
The three eyes emphasise the female figure’s supernatural nature; three eyes immersed in the figure itself, in her braids next to the hand holding a bunch of feathers just to the left and in another halo of feathers to the right.
Destructuring the drawing
In my work, I have created a new formal method for depicting figures by destructuring the drawing. By applying water to a drawing based on the purest formal tradition, I am able to create highly expressive new forms. As the water lands on and runs down the paper, the drawing becomes fluid; indeed, I have been searching for a musical language born of percussion and the unique organicism created in the act of depicting life throughout my career.
The drawing is created and destroyed, layer by layer, layer upon layer, like the soil covering our planet, strata upon strata, like humans and their history, with layer upon layer added by different societies. This was my approach to the drawing: layers of different grey tones provided a foundation, before being covered in colour using different techniques such as water-based media and soft pastels to fill the artwork with vibrancy and radiance.
New projects in Brazil
Mercedes Abad Lázaro, an art manager and architect, is based in São Paulo, which is Brazil’s largest city and a hub for business and finance not only for Brazil but for the whole of South America.
The venue chosen to exhibit my work for the first time was the offices of Lifetime Investimentos in the centre of São Paulo’s financial district. Lifetime specialises in financial consulting and has been accredited as best consulting firm by BTG Pactual, the biggest investment bank in Latin America. Lifetime has branches across the country.
According to Abad Lázaro, “the idea is for guests at the opening to see a project created by Jose Luis specifically for Brazil first-hand, as well as meet him in person. This is the first of many collaborations that we are planning to carry out soon in different disciplines such as design and architecture”.