Aryz's Three-Ring Circus
With so many great shows opening stateside, it's time to note a very special art "happening" taking place in Europe. More than a mere exhibition, this requires special note because former cover artist Aryz is set to open three separate shows in France through the fall and winter!
If you follow Aryz as closely as we do, you know that, aside from being one of the leading contemporary muralists, he is an utterly talented studio painter as well, but not one who often shows in galleries– we're trying to remember his last solo show! So, him lining up three separate, large-scale exhibitions absolutely matches his unpredictable nature, made even more apparent by his wide range of imagery.
After shifting focus to studio practice for a year or so, he finally teamed up with Paris-based curator and art agent, Nicolas Couturieux for a series of painting presentations titled La Pugna. Starting Round I in Rouen, on September 19, 2019. The series continues to Paris and concludes with a museum show in Nancy. Intrigued to hear more, we got in touch with the Spanish artist to talk about these milestone showcases.
Sasha Bogojev: It has been a long time since your last solo show. What was the reason for such a long wait?
Aryz: I don't know. I wish it hadn't been such a long wait, but I guess I didn't have a good offer, like a challenging offer.
Why have both shows so close to each other?
It just that things happened that way. Actually, in the end, there's going to be three shows, which is really crazy. But yeah, I'm really excited. I just hope that everything turns how it should turn. Most likely, we'll do a catalog with all work from each of the three shows. It's a challenge for me, but the catalog presents a nice finissage for the project.
How are the words separated between the shows?
So basically, the Rouen show is a period when I was experimenting with these colors and seeing if it works or not. They're quite different from each other. Well, the colors don't follow a specific formula or anything. The Paris show is more of a concluding period, with elements that worked for the Rouen show, together with some drawings and pieces like that. Then, the Nancy show is focused on the process and way I work, with more sketches and sketchbooks. But it can all change in the last minute because I don't really know. There's still a little bit of time left, I'm still working, and it can all change. So don't really pay attention to what I say.
Okay, that clears up, um nothing really... And who are you working with on the shows?
The first show is going to happen in Hangar 107. The Paris show will be with Nicolas Couturieux, and the third show is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy. But there are other people involved, like people who sponsored the temple installation I just finished and other projects that will happen in the meantime. Actually, there are a lot of people involved, which is scary for me because I'm not used to that type of work. I'm used to working by myself, in front of a wall or in the studio, and I'm the only one responsible for the end result. So yeah, it just seems weird to have other people involved.
It seems that, lately, you're keeping consistent with figurative work after years of trying different motifs, compositions, and concepts. Is that a conscious decision?
Yeah, when Nico and the guys from Hangar 107 came to my studio, I was working on motifs with bright colors and fight scenes. When they came and gave the dates, I thought, "Well, what I actually need to do is just finish this body of work. I'm doing a series of paintings, and I just wish it was over because I want to do another thing now." As soon as I'm done with these shows, I'm done with them. I don't want to keep doing that. So yeah, it's just for the shows. It's just to have a solid body of work.
You always mention "valuing the errors", the manual feel in your work. Do you still keep them visible?
Yeah. I think, now more than ever, you can see my strokes and mistakes. I translate those mistakes into a big scale. I just want to exaggerate even more mistakes. I want to keep working on that because I think, with time, you need to get rid of the technique, and at the end, go to the basic essence of the composition of colors. I don't know if I'm succeeding on that, but that's my goal at the moment.
That type of imagery seems to be translating well, both on murals and studio work. Do you plan on keeping it balanced like this in the future?
Yeah. After the release of Outdoors, a book I did last year, my intention was that Aryz and Octavi is the same person. I don't want to be a street artist who sometimes paints canvases. I don't want to be in that pack, which is full of people already. I had an extended period where I was painting walls, but now it's time to go to the studio. I want a constant dialogue between the studio and outdoors, which I separated for a while. It was a completely different language, and now I'm going in the same direction. Yeah, I think it's working well.
So, how many works do you have in each show? And were any planned especially for the exhibitions?
Yeah, for the Paris show, it was all planned. But, for the Rouen show, I was already working on something when they approached me, so I said, "Well, this is going to go there." I have other pieces I was working on before, which I consider another type of approach, and that stuff is going to stay in the studio. But I thought that this body of work, these bright color canvases I'm doing now, were interesting. I could just dig in and try to experiment.
What do you find attractive about those unusual color choices and vibrant palette?
I don't work to make work look attractive. For me, it's a challenge to use these bright colors because my eye is not trained in those colors. I don't know how it's gonna look with time, maybe it's just a horrible period of mine or a horrible body of work, but for me, it's an exercise and way of going to another direction from where I was going before, which was with these desaturated colors. But for me, it seemed like a lot of people were doing that already, and I just didn't want to be in the group of people doing that. So I just went somewhere else and tried something else. I'm not scared of trying things. Sometimes they don't work. Most of the time, I try things and they end up being really bad experiments; but I hope people can appreciate that and I hope people can relate to the fact that I'm trying things and I'm constantly trying to improve. I don't know if I succeed in it, but I'm trying.
La Pugna – Round I opens at Rouen's Hangar 107 on September 19th through November 26, 2019.