Column #7: bought for corporate collection, Luis Xertu

Just before the Corona era the KPMG Art Committee acquired two big and impressive paintings by the Mexican artist Luis Xertu (1985). At that time we were convinced of the quality and uniqueness of the works. What could not know was how they, in a subtle way, would reflect the time we were facing. The title of his solo show at Torch Gallery, “Renditions of impermanence”, could have betrayed it.

Luis Xertu, Birds of Ash, 2018, 200x256cm

“In the paintings Xertu combines the analogue and the digital; photographing models, painting them, using Photoshop to decide the composition of the surrounding nature and meticulously gluing plants directly onto the canvas to create large scale paintings. Drawing from mythological references, he explores themes of time and aging incorporating the decay of real plants as elements of transformation, which can take several years to happen.” explains the young talented curator of the show, Valentijn van der Hulst to us.

Luis Xertu, God’s First Creature, 2016, 200x200cm

Doron Beuns wrote a interesting insight on XIBT, Contemporary Art Magazine. I quote two passages:

“Life is inherently ephemeral and fragile. Mother Nature could take life at the same rate of creation, even in the most prosperous and medically advanced societies. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has proven that possibility beyond the stretch of our collective imagination. Luis Xertu’s first solo presentation at Torch Gallery in Amsterdam could not have been scheduled at a more interesting time in that respect.”

“… This is where a possible concern about human finitude makes place for the beauty of obsolescence in Xertu’s paintings. They rightfully acknowledge that human experience has always existed on the exact borderline of these two domains. It is up to us where we place the emphasis, especially today.”

Luis Xertu explains

Artists can help us guide towards a new reality. They always give us new insights on the world we seem to take for granted. So did Luis Xertu. And we didn’t even know it! It shows the meaning of art in general and the unexpected added value of the KPMG Art Collection to our daily life.

In 2004 Luis Xertu came to live in Netherlands, where he graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2009. Xertu has been nominated for the Royal Award for Modern Painting 2019 and was awarded the Audience Prize. His artworks have been shown in the Dutch pavilion of the Venice Biënnale and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.

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