Antonio Pareja

September, 29 - November, 10, 2017

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The Wind-Man
Onca wood. 112 x 183 x 155 cm. 2017
The Wind-Man

The exhibition of sculptures presented by Antonio Pareja at the Galería de Arte Enlace consists of a group of approximately 25 sculptures made from wood, marble, iron, and different stones in medium and large sizes, including a monumental, two-ton sculpture made from wood. Pareja (Ayacucho, Peru, 1945) is one of the most important proponents of contemporary Peruvian sculpture. A self-taught artist, he experienced his initial contact with art in 1976, when he began working as a welder at the Universidad Católica Faculty of Art. There, he received the support of Ana Macagno, who was the Director of the School of Sculpture at that time, whose admiration was initially attracted by a work of Pareja’s depicting a small bull. From that point on, students and professors encouraged him to continue his learning process. Later, urged on by the sculpture student Rocío Rodrigo, he took part in a contest organized by Banco de Comercio, in which he received an honorable mention, a distinction that would motivate him to continue working until he developed his ability to create and depict—using wood, stone, or metal—his most cherished experiences and memories of his native Ayacucho. Pareja exhibits a work charged with directness and simplicity, where animals and figures greet us with a friendly, docile attitude and even a smile, without losing their natural boldness. Likewise, different figures and imaginaries reveal to us, in an anecdotal tone, their characters and particularities, although with a natural, joyous, and unpreoccupied fortitude. Pareja does not use models. He simply depicts whatever it is that he is moved to create by his imagination, his mood, his memories and personal experiences, drawing on imaginaries both personal and popular. His oeuvre is not limited by technical or academic ideas. He transcends this, making his approach one of the most solid, convincing, and sincere to be found today. “Few Peruvian sculptors have enjoyed a career as exceptional as Antonio Pareja’s. A migrant who has lived in Lima from a young age, Pareja walks a thin and emblematic line between highbrow and popular culture in his self-taught trade, imbuing regional materials such as Huamanga stone with a personal sophistication, while simultaneously rescuing the traditional Andean and urban imaginaries in marbles, woods, and metals, producing pieces of immense value. (…) He has been a source of fascination and influence among his contemporaries (…) Antonio Pareja is perhaps the most exceptional and unusual—and perhaps, for the time being, the most inimitable—case of a contemporary folk artist of Andean origin who has managed to insert himself into the visual arts scene of the dominant highbrow system.” Rodrigo Quijano, art critic and curator, from the catalogue of the Antonio Pareja Survey Exhibition held in 2004. Of Pareja’s work, Jorge Villacorta Chávez has said: “The sculptures of Antonio Pareja are in a completely different category, however, reinforcing their author’s position as a loner. His is an art forged by himself, revealing his mettle as a very special case of cultural production that has arisen from a traditional context and undergone a process of change, driven by his contact with the urban educational environment and the materials of artistic creation, to which he has responded with an exceptional sensibility.” (2001). El hombre viento de Huancarucma, Cangallo (The Wind-Man of Huancarucma, Cangallo) by Antonio Pareja can be visited at the Galería ENLACE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO through November 10, from Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free and open to the public.