Greatest living realist artist
From 28 January 2024, a major retrospective of Spanish artist Antonio López (1936) is on show at the Drents Museum in Assen. The exhibition Antonio López – Master of Spanish realism is López’, designed by NorthernLight, is the first major solo exhibition in the Netherlands. López is a phenomenon in his native Spain and has been labelled the ‘greatest living realist artist’. López’ work is wide ranging. Not only does he choose a variety of subjects, but he also makes use of different materials. The exhibition shows all these facets of his art through dozens of paintings, drawings and sculptures. In total, the work in the exhibition spans about seventy years. This allows visitors to follow López’ entire career closely.
The scenography of the room is built up step by step. Firstly, you pass through a dark space, serving as a portal to reset from your daily surroundings. In the initial room, you hear Antonio Lopez’s voice in a pure setup, facilitated by a 360-sound installation that mimics him walking around you. The second room invites you into his atelier, where you witness work coming to life with illuminating effects. As the sounds of Madrid gradually join the soundscape, a theatrical composition takes shape. Subsequently, you step entirely into Lopez’s panoramic world. “The exhibition walls, employing forced perspective, feature colors derived from his work, arranged from darker in front to lighter at the back.” explains Lead Creative Maximilian Pecher. The gentle light glow from his Madrid panoramic piece is mirrored in the room, enhancing the focal point of the walls and the stencil letters on the area introduction boards. The experience unfolds from the inside, guided by his statues, towards the outside, symbolizing a progression from dark to light.
The essence of an object
Antonio López is known for his extremely detailed working method. One of his cityscapes of Madrid – the painting Madrid desde la torre de bomberos de Vallecas, on display in the exhibition in Assen – even took him sixteen years to complete, with breaks of course. López often chooses to return to the same place at the same time every year. It is characteristic of his art: López always tries to capture the essence of an object. He does this by leaving nothing to chance. Light, colour and shape: everything is carefully studied and imitated. In doing so, he transforms everyday subjects into rich works of art.
“A work is never finished, but reaches the limit of its own possibilities.” – Antonio López
We are very proud of the end result of the exhibition. Or, in the words of Antonio López himself: ‘muy grandioso’. A big thank you goes out to the team of the Drents Museum. Also, thanks to IRIS Vormgeving BV for production, 50LUX for lighting, and Big Orange for the soundscape. Photos by Sake Elzinga. Antonio López – Master of Spanish Realism can be seen from January 28 to June 2, 2024, at the Drents Museum.
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