The name of the Japanese city of Nagasaki conjures, for most of us, visions of death and destruction. But today, after more than half a century of recovery, the port of Nagasaki serves to connect Japan with the rest of the world, playing a key role in intercontinental commerce.
The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum presents a retrospective exhibition of the work of Spanish painter Antonio López (Castile, 1936), one of the most sought-after living artists of the moment. The museum has in its permanent collection works by López and other Spanish artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Francisco Goya.
ANTONIO LÓPEZ. Gran Via, 1974-1982.
On this occasion we turn our attention to the land of the rising sun for a different reason: interest in European and contemporary art, a growing trend across Asia, and especially in Japan.
Under the title Master of Realism, the Nagasaki exhibit features 64 works, including paintings, sculptures and drawings. This is the first solo exhibition of the work of Antonio López in all of Asia.
The selection is divided into seven sections, featuring works from his earlier career, when at age 17 the artist repeatedly painted images of his hometown (Tomelloso, Ciudad Real, Castile La Mancha), to more recent pieces, which include intimate family portraits, still-lifes, incursions in surrealism and his famous views of Madrid.
ANTONIO LÓPEZ. Lucio’s Terrace, 1962-1990.
In an interview with EFE, López explained his recurring interest in painting the city of Madrid and his hometown, Tomelloso: “we all have unique places associated with our life, personality or destiny. That takes priority over looking at other places in a curious, somehow superficial way”. The statement justifies his hasty return to Madrid, where he will immerse himself in several projects that require long, meticulous work. He also noted “the world is wonderful, and life is not long enough to see even half of it”, adding that for him “that is no reason for anxiety”.
Among the works exhibited in Japan are: Lucio´s Terrace (La terraza de Lucio, 1962-1990), Gran Vía (1974-1982), Women Looking at Airplanes (Mujeres mirando aviones 1953-1954), Greek Head and Blue Dress (Cabeza griega y vestido azul, 1958), Bust of Mari (Busto de Mari, 1961-1962), The Dinner (La cena, 1971-1980), Quince Tree (Árbol del membrillo, 1990), Toilet and Window (Taza de váter y ventana, 1968-71), New Fridge (Nevera nueva, 1991-1994), and Woman and Man (Mujer y hombre, 1968-1994).
The exhibition ends in a curious manner, with an unfinished painting, Coslada Woman (La Mujer de Coslada), which he plans to finish upon returning to Madrid.
ANTONIO LÓPEZ. The Dinner, 1971-1980.
Antonio López dedicates many years to each piece. He has spent twenty years painting a portrait of the Spanish Royal family (still unfinished), and it took him almost three decades to finish Lucio’s Terrace.
Master of Realism made its Asian debut at Tokyo’s Bunkamura Art Museum. It will be displayed at the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum until 25 August, and will finally end its Japanese tour in October7, 2013 at the Iwate Museum of Art. ■