Polar bears, whales, and umbrellas: A glance into the playful world of Lezzueck Asturias.
Posted on May - 4 - 2017
Photo courtesy: the Artist
In a time when art has moved away from its origins into unimaginable realms, it seems that to find a clear voice in the cacophony of the art world is like finding a black cat in a coal cellar. But for those who look intently, there are still masters that strive to perfect their craft and manage to communicate their personal voice. Such goes for a Guatemalan artist who some time ago migrated to Germany to fully pursue his career as an artist. The works of Lezzueck Asturias are both technically and conceptually rich, charged with a profound message that intends to create a dialogue with its spectator and appeal to his intellect and sensitivity. If you stand in front of one of Asturias’s works you will be instantly immersed in his personal mythology consisting of animals, creatures and organic structures that tell a mysterious and intriguing story, that eludes and simultaneously invites the curious observer to decipher its many meanings.
A lonely girl stands under a red umbrella, watching as the tale of a whale comes out of the water before his long descent into the deep blue. Who is she? There is something that just feels different and a oneiric story begins to unfold. When asked about the influences that Asturias has absorbed and his initiation in painting, the artist quotes the metaphysical painting of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrá: “Since I was an adolescent I’ve always had a fascination for metaphysical painting. The hopelessness of the emptiness of spaces, the tranquility of the unintelligible and enigmatic quality found in these compositions motivated me to begin painting and led me to adopt oil as my primary media, an ancient and resistant technique, that still holds its ground in contemporary art”.
As polar bears, whales, chimpanzees and other creatures appear in his compositions, the relationship they express with humans are undeniable, they both coexists playfully and harmoniously in an ideal world, colored with saturated colors that give it a nostalgic, yet hopeful, undertone. The lightheartedness of the scenes have more to them than just a story-like montages; they attempt to convey a deeper meaning that the artists wish to address. When asked about the nature of his compositions and characters, Asturias replies by citing the current environmental issues: “The subject of my work is primarily based on the current environmental disruption we’re living, and because of that the animals I chose are usually also found in the red lists of endangered species. I intend to create an appropriate ecosystem for these creatures, where the spectator can witness in a positive light, the importance of Biodiversity and the careful and conscientious respect and care we have to give it to coexist with it.” Asturias manages to build these utopic atmospheres with ease, creating new and beautiful worlds as a result of his boundless imagination and able technique.
As figurative art and paintings have been losing ground to conceptual art, Asturias reflects on how a painting is one of the mediums that will always survive art’s constant transformation. He, also, states how moving to Germany became the beginning of his career as artists, having graduated from the prestigious Bauhaus-Universität. Now working in the field of painting and photography he reminisces about how his professional development took place in Germany and not in his native country.
He has not failed to notice how painting has lost ground to conceptual art, and with an acute precision, he states that since the 90’s and 2000’s, conceptual art was the dominant form of art production in Europe, affecting the interest in paintings. However, this loss of attention withered in 2005, a year when painting took over and regains its rightful place with vigor and still holds it. When asked about how he views Guatemala’s art scene, he states “I consider that in the last couple of years, there has been a strong tendency in Guatemala towards conceptual art. I don’t know how it’s affecting the national painters, but the good news is that painting is perpetual. It just depends on the work discipline that each artist has”.
There is no doubt about Asturias’s compromise and devotion to his craft. Passionate artists often can’t divide their work from their lives, and producing art comes as natural as breathing. “Art has always been important for the evolution of the human being, and this is not going to change right now or even in the near future. I consider that it’s important for people to express their thoughts and ideas”. As the world moves in confusing directions and takes critical steps into unknown territories, the part that artists play in society as keen observers and critics are crucial. “As artists, we have the duty to capture the daily occurrences to leave a statement behind and evidence of the situations and thoughts of our time.” It’s not just about producing beautiful works such as artisans do, but being critical and eloquent in portraying the world.
So how does one become an artist? What are those initial steps that make a person want to take on this path? As they say, artists are not made, but are born, and although that’s a very final and resolute argument, in some cases it’s true, especially when the need to create starts at a young age. “My first experiences with art was when I was a kid when I learned to draw in Kindergarten. I drew my parents, my family, the sun, the sky, the world and all the animal in it”. No doubt that the path sometimes chooses the person, and with Asturias’s skill and sensitivity it seems like it was a natural fit to become an artist. His works are both aesthetically pleasing, reminiscing the great masters of yonder years, with a clear message that addresses our contemporary condition.
By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz