Juan Luis Goenaga: paintings cannot be thought of, they emerge

San Sebastián, Sep 3 (EFE) .- Juan Luis Goenaga argues that paintings cannot be thought but “emerge” as brush strokes advance, which can accumulate generating “layers and layers” in the same work, which sometimes comes back again and again.

An approach to painting that he has cultivated for five decades that are reflected in the retrospective dedicated to him by the Kubo Hall in his native San Sebastián.

“Goenaga” supposes the reopening of the Kubo Kutxa Hall to the public, after the closure derived from the state of alarm due to the covid-19 pandemic, and settles a “pending debt” with the artist from San Sebastian, whose only review of his work in San Sebastián was held in 1995 at the Koldo Mitxelena center, said the director of the venue, Ane Abalde.

Coming from around thirty museums, institutions and private collections, the exhibition brings together a total of 128 works by Juan Luis Goenaga (1950) “one of the most important Basque creators of the last half century”, in the words of Mikel Lertxundi, curator of the sample and wide connoisseur of his work since in 2018 he made an extensive book dedicated to the artist’s work.

It was during the process of preparing this publication when Lertxundi asked Kutxa Foundation the need to organize a retrospective for 2020, a date that had been set from the beginning, the curator remarked, who wanted to “unlink” the opening from the premiere at the upcoming San Sebastian Film Festival of the latest Woody Allen film, which used paintings and equipment from the artist’s workshop to show them in his film.

“They are projects that constitute a happy coincidence,” he indicated.

“Goenaga” is divided into six thematic areas that propose a chronological journey on the evolution of this self-taught artist since he began his production in the seventies, when he traveled through Europe and came into contact with the artistic currents of the moment until today .

The artist has highlighted Lertxundi’s “slow and detective” work to put together the pieces and has pointed out that there are periods in his career that “have been good to remember”, although he has assured that when starting each of the series that he has developed throughout his career (“herbs” “roots”, “archeology”, “urban”, among others) he does not ask himself “what is” what he is going to paint “or how he is going to finish it”.

They simply “appear”. This has happened with the “donostis”, landscapes of his city, “which have already begun to appear in previous paintings”, with the figures and with other elements, he explained.

He has also dismissed the arguments that the color of a painting may be due to the author’s moods. “That is fine in literature but it would be to be a bad painter. Painting is autonomous,” he defended.

“Painting is a layer-on-layer process. The more layers you can add, the more you enjoy and if the previous layer is twenty years old, the better,” he says.

For this reason, sometimes “you have to tear off the paintings”, explained Lertxundi.

The exhibition reflects the expressionist imprint that has marked Goenaga’s work from the beginning, an artist who has combined figuration and abstraction and who has been characterized by dynamism both in his compositions and in his brushwork.

Via elDiario.es