CYAN Art Magazine Nº 16, Feb. 1990 : Luis Fraile Painting

Luis Fraile CyanInterview

REVIEW AND INTERVIEW BY ART CRITIC SOLEDAD VILLALBA (Translated from its original in Spanish)

          " I presume that everything reminds us of something. In Luis Fraile Painting we begin by a war of images that have the uncertainty and the helplessness of the contradictory beings, represented in an ironic and sarcastic way until reaching the grotesque. This would be the first part, in which he also collects a sculptural legacy in the figure, in its form, in order to facilitate coherence. Although while going in the opposite direction, towards abstraction. They confirm Luis Fraile's taste for Rembrandt, Bosch, Caravaggio, Juan Gris or Henry Moore.


          The symbols, when interpreting them, say what emerges without censorship on the dark side, more obscurantist. And the excess is affirmed and exhibited as a character of all time. A license for the forceful satire of the old, the new, the reactionary, the brutality, the dialectical and physical aggressiveness, the reflexive character. What is better than to put the known upside down? When we see the paintings, we are assaulted by a thousand memories, in the face of the simplicity and decanting of the painter's gesture. But the parody is that we also become accomplices of sarcasm. Because both the artist and the one who contemplates feel more "caught" than they think. The feeling or perception that oscillates between the look of what is inside, enclosed in thick strokes, can stabilize the German expressionist fever that fashion has picked up in recent years and take the step of French Perec in The Cabinet of an Amateur .


          This does not mean that Luis Fraile painting has surpassed, for example, that of Hannah Höch. It would be an absurd approach. Nobody overcomes, only has its own voice in order to catch a trail. Fraile does not believe that one has to paint «A corner with a dog and the chipping of time, as the New Wave of values did, or play with psychological components of the Old Guard». At least his intention is not to make a best-seller of educational components and other factors. Art, luckily, gets rid of that.


          Paraphrasing The Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino, through the grotesque effort of starting a path through the paintings, shaking the impossibility of the voice and the sound in the painting, we are going to configure a space that is not dreamlike, although it is not recognizable in a conscious reality. The area that occupies the world of the creatures of Luis Fraile can be glimpsed in science fiction. Transparencies that float on non-shrill backgrounds. Bubbles that seem to remember the primitive edges of civilizations stranded on Easter Island. Even the figures lose weight, other times they seem to discover a food and, then, they procreate. The myths are more monstrous, among the climbing plants, the bird-bull, the virgin-vestal, or the angel-insect that contemplates the city while it sleeps. All the figures show their sexual attributes as fertile symbols carrying out an activity, the study, the fishing of flying fish and all united, in total symbiosis. A chemical process that Luis Fraile ironizes against the light in abstract art, using less usual forms than in figuration, without leaving the concrete of the symbol. The aim is to stimulate, as in this case, a space or an invisible or sub-urban city.


          The explanation that I have arrived at may be this one and, after seeing it again, I imagine a thousand different things. So whoever approaches may see the reflection of this city and its interior to extract more pleasure from its own fantasy. Maybe the painting is a figure on a background and, if we turn it around on the other side, other shadows are born that we continue to contemplate from afar. I stress this only because that was the side that was closest to me, and unquestionably because I suppose the artist will remain in a state of surprise for a certain period of time. "



Cyan : Tell us something about your artistic process

Luis Fraile :  " There have been several stages of professional initiation. The teaching was realistic and then more or less figurative. I think that no one can arrive at the abstract spontaneously. If abstract art makes sense, it is because of that capacity for synthesis, for magma of feelings, such as poetry in literature. Also in the beginning I copied a lot in the museums. I have always liked the technique and the drawing because I think it is the only means by which you can get closer to what you want to say, to see who you are and if you have something to say with luminaries like those that surround us.

After drawing a lot you are removing the surplus and you can approach little bit closer to what you feel. The more knowledge you gain, the more creative environment and human contour grows. You realize that you have a lot to learn and that you have to be very awake in order to avoid from walking in circles. I always have reasons that encourage me to investigate. Once I have finished a painting, I can not make another similar one because I get bored. "


Cyan : Are other techniques reflected in the light or materials used in your painting?

Luis Fraile : " In my painting I use at this moment oil, acrylic and plaster, because the texture of the work that I am doing needs it . Perhaps tomorrow I pick up an iron plate or any other material. Painting itself is a deception, because it plays with three dimensions in a single dimension. If, to put it in any way, I need a greater diversity, I can use any stuff that serves exclusively what the painting pretends. The color also serves the idea, without thereby passing over the beauty. My colors are very sought after, clean and unconventional ones. Brown and gray ones that are pure by contrast of the tones. Color and matter have always existed in order to create a beautiful artifice. "


Cyan : Why the presence of sex and religious elements in your work?

Luis Fraile : " Because I treat dark elements in my painting . Any artist who we are separated centuries away with faced obscurantism too. It is no coincidence that the Church has been excessively preoccupied with eroticism. I face sex without censorship, with spontaneity, without discipline, because it is something that emerges. Spontaneous sex is nothing erotic. But it is energy what I try racionally to keep for myself. I also ironize a lot, I am even sarcastic in order to ridicule much more myself than others and their beliefs. "


Cyan : It may be shocking that Luis Fraile has not participated in any edition of ARCO Art Fair...

Luis Fraile : " I have neither entered the exhibition circuits, nor I have been at the foot of the canyon, so maybe I do not believe too much in art fairs. When I was with Juana Mordó, instead of continuing to work in Madrid, I went to Paris. There I was interested in making engravings, painting, and a Catalan art dealer was in charge of selling my work. Then I went to Toronto and I did not lack a dealer, in this case a cunning Colombian. Now I am living in Madrid and Antonio Blanco from the Novart Gallery takes me , but he has not been attending ARCO for a couple of years.

They have proposed me to participate with other artists. I know it's difficult, but I think the best way to participate in a fair is with your work and you alone in a stand. It has not been this year, and I hope it is next one. Now I'm working in a series of individual exhibitions to begin in the month of March in Amsterdam and secure others in New York, Toronto and Berlin.

I have always been from one place to another . Now I'm thinking about staying for long in a place, in Madrid. "