The light thins and the darkness spreads
The Antoine de St. Exupéry novel Wind, Sand and Stars (1939) has occupied several hours of Lluís Lleó’s reading. In this work, the French writer, a fan of aviation and adventure, evokes autobiographical events which lead him to reflect on death, heroism and the human condition in general. “The airplane reveals to us the true face of the Earth” is one of its sentences.
Lluís Lleó experiences painting as a kind of journey. Behind those immaculate, neat spaces which merge paint and space, in the light or in the shadow or at night, there lurks the idea of a journey, a personal and autobiographical one, which is also the journey of painting. Not for nothing is this exhibition entitled Flyer, and this word is one of the components of many other titles of paintings and papers from his recent oeuvre, which dates from 2013 and 2014.
This journey began in 1989, 25 years ago, when he crossed the Atlantic to work in New York, where he ended up living. In the hand luggage he carried the baggage of three generations of painters in the family, the impact of classical Western painting and sound training in engraving and painting techniques, a family inheritance. His attraction to the Catalan Romanesque, the frescoes by the Italian primitives, early medieval art and the Renaissance classics made him yearn to revisit murals and architecture, and frescoes were an intrinsic part of the history of modernity rooted in his paintings. […]
The work of Lluís Lleó has recently become more spiritual, reflective and synthetic, luminous and nocturnal, orientalising without losing his classical Western baggage. He has also introduced a new range of colours, more radical and pure as well, such as the green created by the Portuguese Atlantic rain, which he has taken to the walls of his studio in New York as painted in Studio Sandstorm (2014). Yet he has also added purple, cobalt violet and blue, the latter in homage to another painter and sculptor influenced by Zen philosophy, Pablo Palazuelo, who found spirituality through geometry as a measure of beauty in space and time. […]
Maturity leads one to lose fear of the unknown, and Lluís Lleó has overcome this initial take-off phase. After spending 28 years here and 25 years in the city of skyscrapers, the scales are balanced, but there remains a permanent journey between the old and new continents, a journey that is individual yet is also the history of painting, both classical and modern, from an old world and from a new world, which have created a cumulus of complicities in their canvases and papers, so that we can no longer distinguish whence each thing comes. Subject and object, space and time, all in one is the vision of the flyer who commands, the eye of the past now turned into a flyer, increasingly distant from reality and closer to the inner need and to a purer vision of the pictorial object. […]