Reflecting and rethinking IKAL’s purpose
Updated: May 11
We have taken this time to reflect and rethink IKAL’s purpose and our role in society based on the challenges that the cultural sector faces today. Now, more than ever, we feel committed to supporting the hard work of talented Latin American artists in Europe. In this regard, we think that by sharing their stories and artistic process behind their works, we can contribute to maintaining and broadening an open dialogue between different art worlds and cultural backgrounds.
Our 2021 first Newsletter will start by sharing the story of Colombian, Brussels based artist, Luis Guzmán who recently exhibited his work at Michele Schoonsjans gallery in Brussels.
Luis has been living in Brussels for the past 8 years. He was educated at National University in Bogota, which he later completed with a Masters degree from the Complutense University of Madrid and a Master in painting at La Cambre in Brussels.
Inspired by Renaissance paintings and emphasizing geometry and perspective, Guzmán's work invites us to rediscover classical paintings with touches of Realismo Mágico where mysticism and fantasy come together. His paintings are full of enigma and hard to decipher. We were curious to know more about some of the paintings we fell in love with at Michel Schoonjans gallery.
Tell us about yourself, how did you end up in Brussels?
By chance, because the work of my wife. It is a really lucky chance.
How long have you been painting for?
I think I started late, when I started studying fine arts at the university.
What is your artistic process? How do you approach a white canvas?
Well, lately I am trying to better focus my attention on definite ideas, and explore the images that these ideas may suggest to me. Because it has always been difficult for me to be disciplined in this regard. But in general the process after having an image in mind, consists of making one or more sketches and then moving on to painting with the most defined idea, however in painting always I end up changing things, sometimes many things.
About your artistic research - your paintings are enigmatic - hard to decipher and full of symbols. Tell us a bit more about the Baptism of Christ and the Annunciation.
I really admire 15th and 16th century Italian painting. In this case Piero Della Francesca and Fra Angelico. I think it’s natural to want to copy something you really like. Of course it is not about making a duplicate, it is about playing with what you admire so much, it is inevitable to transform it.
So I put a woman instead of Christ, she turns her back and receives a ray of light that seems to sanctify her, the faces of the angels on the left have been replaced by colored circles, I think it’s a playful way to make them mysterious, and remove a bit of transcendentality from the scene… The same goes for the annunciation and the fabric that seems to rise through the air, and covers the scene.
About the lion and St Jerome painting, did you draw inspiration from a particular classical painting? We can notice Saint Jerome is laying down - the lion takes over the central image of the painting. Can you tell us more about it?
So taking an angel from another Piero della Francesca painting, I made a kind of woman who falls in a strange way… The lion in the center is fully illuminated while another in the distance is covered in shadow…
About the meaning of those symbols, I would prefer that with curiosity and imagination, the viewer gives their own interpretation.