The Julio Larraz exhibition in program at the Victorian from July 12th through October 4th 2012 presents the artistic universe of the Cuban painter in a show of roughly one hundred works reminiscent of his never-ending love for his homeland of Cuba. The showing, presented by the Contini Gallery of Art, is curated by Luca Beatrice, organized and coordinated by the agency Comunicare Organizzando under the direction of Alessandro Nicosia.
“I have worked for the New York Times, The Washington Post, Times Magazine and other important news journals”, explains the artist, “but I have always known that I was a painter, even as a child when I saw Caravaggio’s work in my father’s art books”.
Julio Larraz, considered one of the leading Latin-American artists, introduces us to his creative universe in which the representation of power and it polymorphic effects occupies an important role. An eternal and controversial theme dealt with ironically by the artist by incessantly bombarding legends and obsessions bound to resolute supremacy, revealing its irrationality and inconsistency through his images. With penetrating allegories the artist reduces power to forms and color, revealing its “weaknesses” and shows us the only way of containing it – games. By magnifying proportions , reversing equilibrium, underlining the unreal, Julio Larraz disarms power even when it presents itself under a seemingly innocent aspect.
His works differ extremely, yet they are cohesive as well. There are repetitive motifs, objects and ideas that can be found in different contexts, and thereby changing the importance. They reveal an allegorical and dream-like perception, a quiet suspension of waiting for something unspoken. The diversity of his works is cemented in a singular, visionary, and fantastic, and imaginary expression that takes its inspiration from Surrealism and Metaphysics, from Mexican muralists and from 15th C Italian art. The artist in fact transfers his ample cultural, social and political references to his art drawn from Greek mythology and contemporary Latin American history.
“I paint that which interests me, not for the critics, nor for the public. An artist should be authentic, revealing and denouncing truths and injustices to the world. The duty of every painter is to inform”.
The artist brings to the Victorian his ironic invectives and his burlesque portraits, strongly hostile to every genre of abuse, every misuse of power, and every deliberate injustice elevating the “people’s” morality to a veiled and playful protest.
Julio Larraz was born in Cuba on March 12, 1944. The son of a newspaper publisher he began to draw at a very early age. In 1961 his parents moved to Miami Florida, taking the whole family with them. In 1962 they moved to Washington, D.C. and in 1964 in New York City, where Larraz lived for the next five years. There he developed in interest in drawing caricatures of notable politicians which were published by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and Vogue Magazine, among others. Since 1967 Larraz has worked full time as a painter. In 1977 he moved to San Patricio, New Mexico, where the light and atmosphere of the barren hills of the Hondo Valley fascinated him. It was there that he met Ron Hall, who would become his future dealer.
In 1978 Larraz bought a home in Grandview, New York where he met Nohra Haime whose New York gallery represented him until 1994. In 1983 he moved to Paris, remaining there for two years. A year later in 1986 Larraz moved to Miami, Florida. He later spent four years in Florence, Italy, between 1999 and 2003, before returning permanently to Miami.
His works can be found in prestigious collections both public and private worldwide. He has been given numerous awards during the course of his career. Today the artist continues to reside with his family in Miami (USA), but spends his summers in the Tuscan city of Pietrasanta, where many of his sculptures are created.
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