In my work I have been exploring the motifs of time and contemplation, often juxtaposed with themes of ageing, abandonment and solitude. A significant aspect of my work comes from the use of real plants embedded in the paintings. Incorporating their natural decay at both conceptual and tangible levels adds an element of transformation, unusual for the medium of painting. This inherent degradation relies on the painting's exposure to natural light and can take several years to happen. The viewer can witness the subtle changes, the different stages of decay, where everything seems to be caught in the midst of fading away into oblivion. The underlying message is one of nostalgia and hope: ‘everything is impermanent’ therefore ‘this too shall pass.’
My work process combines the analogue and the digital and it relies on an extensive research into digital archives of museums and libraries. I photograph models in movement with a technique reminiscent of Eadweard Muybridge, searching for accidental iconic poses from artistic tropes. The main figure I usually paint comes from when the model-performer is taking the pose of a mythical character they evoke without fully embodying it, as a placeholder of sorts. The paintings borrow elements from mythological narratives because these often give away how our environment manifests inside the minds of man. Subsequently, I see my work as a form of bad taxidermy: as man kills nature in order to create a portrayal of it, it can’t help but reveal how much of it he doesn’t understand. But it also shows a love for a romanticized distortion of nature’s image. Man’s way of portraying Earth in medieval tapestries, divination cards or even in Surrealism, shows how our relationship to the natural world always evolves with the eternal question of what our position and role is within our environment. My response to the question looks at the larger timeline, as I circle back to the central idea of contemplation: “we are but in this moment, and we can only do our best with what we have at hand.”
Luis Xertu (Luis A. Rios-Zertuche Mexico City, 1985).
After graduating from the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam (2009), his independent work was shown at the Dutch pavilion of the Biennale in Venice, as well the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, and art and theater festivals in the Netherlands. He has been nominated for the Royal Award for Modern Painting 2019, and was awarded the Audience Prize.
Inquiries and representation by torchgallery.com
Exhibitions, Performances, and Installations
2020 – Tropicana / Pottage Foundation Rotterdam, NL - Group exhibition
2020 – TORCH Gallery Amsterdam, NL - Solo exhibition
2019 – Royal Palace Amsterdam, NL - Group exhibition 'Royal Award for Modern Painting 2019'
2019 – Cinédanse Ottawa 2019, CA - Screening of the film 'Ecclesiastes'
2019 – WTC Rotterdam Gallery, NL - Group exhibition 'An Unexpected View'
2018 – Gloss Gallery Tel Aviv, IL - Solo exhibition
2017 – De Kracht van Rotterdam, NL
2016 – LifeisArt Gallery, BE
2016 – Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, NL - Performative Intervention 'To Come Between'
2016 – De Kracht van Rotterdam, NL
2016 – Frans Masereel Centrum, BE
2016 – Sismo Gallery, MX
2016 – Galerie Partners Rotterdam, NL
2016 – Moving Futures, NL - Performance of 'The Fool' throughout several theaters in The Netherlands.
2015 – Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, NL - 'Durational Dance Object' during 24 Uur Cultuur festival.
2015 – Festival Why Not, NL - Screening of the film 'Ecclesiastes'.
2014 – De Aanschouw Gallery, NL
2012 – Galeria Patricia Bernal, MX
2011 – La Biennale di Venezia, IT - Photo-installation during the Carnevale dei ragazzi festival.
2010 – Galerie Chinaski, NL
2009 – Centrum Beeldende Kunst in Rotterdam, NL
2009 – Rietveld Academy, NL
2008 – Kaap Biennale, NL
2008 – Tweetakt TheaterFestival, NL
2008 – Culturele Zondag Utrecht, NL
Education / residencies
2015 – Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, NL with Dancing Museums
2015 – Frans Masereel Centrum, BE
2007/09 – (BFA) Diploma in Audiovisuele kunst, Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam.
2005/07 – Illustratie, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht.
2004 – Visual Arts, La Esmeralda - National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking, Mexico City.
2011/12 – Artemis Academy - Digital Communication
Concept development for film and performance
2017 – VPRO documentary Vieze Film, NL with Robin Vogel
2014/17 – Sabine Groenewegen, NL
2016 – Dansateliers Rotterdam, NL
2015 – Dansateliers Rotterdam, NL
2014 – Nederlandse Dansdagen, Performing Gender, Dansateliers Rotterdam, NL
2013/14 – Dansateliers Rotterdam