Since the beginning of his artistic career in the 1980s, Rogelio López Cuenca (Nerja, 1959) has worked at the crossroads between the visual arts and the mass media. Taking writing off the page, he has exercised his own visual poetry that operates inside the tradition of institutional critique and the offshoots of Pop through multiple mediums such as painting, installation, urban interventions and publishing.
He began by exploring music and collaborative work, specifically with the group Peña Wagneriana and the collectives Agustín Parejo School and UHP (United Brothers of the Proletariat); early incursions which punctuate certain concerns approached individually, for instance city space, popular language and the language of avant-garde movements.
In 1992, in the context of the 5th Centenary of the Discovery of America, the Universal Exposition of Seville, Madrid as the Cultural Capital of Europe and the Barcelona Olympics, a turning point took place in his work. Thereafter, he would carry out different critical interventions in the contemporary system, interventions which reflect the issues running though his oeuvre – migratory policies and historical memory or new forms of urban speculation and the sensationalism of culture, symptomatic of burgeoning cognitive capitalism.
López Cuenca takes images and texts from different mediums of high and low culture, often placing them in advertising or commercial devices in public space to condemn situations of violence and discrimination that work at once in historical and present-day terms. Worthy of note is also the capacity to inscribe his works outside museum environments, thereby causing short circuits in different systems of the social circulation of images, calling into question the uniqueness of the art work and its space in conventional contemplation.
In this exhibition, the artist’s first retrospective, his main preoccupations are surveyed through five core themes: Collaborations, Poetic Expansion, City and Avant-garde, New World Order and Artistic Expansion. The show concludes with the installation Islas (Islands), produced exclusively for the exhibition, whereby López Cuenca sets forth a critical re-reading of texts and historical etchings related to the “discovery” of America.