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The street and the gallery inform each other in Yves Laroche’s 'Latin Explorations' exhibition

Crédit photo : Left: Nunca, Sans Titre (2014) / Right: Nelson Rivas Cekis, Anakaona's Spirit (2014)
The street and the gallery inform each other in Yves Laroche’s 'Latin Explorations' exhibition
Curator Pablo Aravena wants to break down walls. First, he takes his hammer to the crumbling wall between street art and the gallery. Then he proceeds to tackle the border between Europe and Latin America, and between abstraction and the figurative in art. To do this, he’s chosen five Latin artists, four from South America and one from Spain, for the exhibition Latin Explorations in Syncretism and Figuration at Galerie Yves Laroche.
Herbert Baglione, Canticos Series #10 (2013)
Brazil’s Herbert Baglione presents a series of breathtakingly elegant paintings and ink drawings of wispy figures. Vulnerable and haunting, the works presented in the gallery echo his ongoing project, 1000 Shadows, where he paints ghostly figures in locations such as abandoned psychiatric hospitals. Delicate and fragile, these figures speak of emotional and psychological vulnerability in the most beautiful way, whether they haunt the walls of a gallery caught in a frame or the halls of a building.
Nunca, Sans Titre (2014)
Nunca also hails from Brazil, but where Baglione’s figures are ethereal, Nunca’s are solid and strong. Using people he sees on the streets as his models, Nunca evokes the culture of pre-colonial Brazil using the colors and style of indigenous art, such as crosshatching to mimic the aesthetic of woodcuts. Past and present combine through these powerful figures to illustrate the struggle of modern Brazilians in the urban jungle. Chilean artist Nelson Rivas Cekis also tackles the urban jungle and how people are caged in, or kept out, by chain link fences. His faces in profile and figures contain a geometry of wood, metal fences and colored lines and swirls. In Cekis’ images, the environment both imposes itself upon the people he paints and is contained within them.
Franco Jaz Fasoli, Sans Titre 2 (2014)
Jaz (Franco Fasoli), who is recognized as one of the first major street artists in Buenos Aires, presents a series of paintings that are extremely painterly and somewhat unexpected. While Jaz’s work might seem to diverge from the aesthetics of street art even more than the work of Baglione, Jaz has developed techniques to create murals that look like watercolors. The canvases in this exhibition are filled with headless figures, often locked in combat, their robust bodies melting into each other.
 
Less engaging are the works presented by Spanish artist Sixe Paredes. The series of works entitled Danza tribalismo feel slightly flat next to the other artists’ works, which is a shame because the murals he painted in Barcelona in this style are dynamic explorations of space, line and colour. In the context of a gallery and the confines of a frame, they lose their power. In contrast, the sculpture by Paredes that accompanies the drawings gives us a taste of just how present and dynamic his work can be.
 
Latin Explorations is well worth seeing, not only to get a small taste of what is happening in the Latin diaspora but also for a look at how the past and present, and the street and gallery, inform and enrich each other. But, the main reason to go see Latin Expressions is to bask in the sublime works of Herbert Baglione.
 
Latin Explorations
From June 5 until July 1
Yves Laroche | 6355 St Laurent | yveslaroche.com