MOMENTS CONVERTED INTO GEOMETRY
exhibition by Masqali, Lanzarote Art Gellery until 22nd January
a few lines by Norman Warwick
A visit to the on-line home page at
offered a valuable insight into the ethos of Eduardo Farina and his Lanzarote Art Gallery.
´Ask questions and give answers, seek truth, always for development and perfection, to share what is good and beautiful: these are the characteristics common to all genius and Lanzarote Art Gallery brings together the genius and recipient(s) of the art they create. We love both creators and art lovers.´
Eduardo has created much more than a gallery, however, as he even incorporates an advice service on the purchasing of art.
´Art has become a safe investment,´ the gallery web site informs us, ´and that is why it is important to know what is being acquired; what one is investing in. Our team of experts will advise you on each and every aspect related to the acquisition of a work.
We value and compare every piece of art based on our experience. Our teamwork offers objective advice based on the documents and classification of art collections. Our team has a long history in the private and corporate section.´
Nevertheless, sensitivity to art is a measure of humanity rather than of wealth. It’s the art that makes us human. You don’t need to be rich, well-educated or experienced to love art. You just need to be open, trust in feelings and senses. Love, passion and beauty have neither end nor beginning. They’re endless, they’re eternal.´
Given that various parts of the world are coming out of lockdown at different stages and that in some places social distancing laws are being tightened even as they are being relaxed elsewhere, we weren´t too sure what the protocol of the evening might be.
The owner, Eduardo, was greeting visitors at the opened, smoked- glass front doors, and handing out complementary brochures: luxurious and lavish and a fine platform for the artist. From thereon viewers of the works followed an arrowed direction, and we kept ourselves socially distanced as we did so, to accept a glass of wine outside the gallery as we left. I was amazed by how geographically and spatially different the gallery itself looked with the replacement of the works of Ildefonso Aguillar by the contributions from Masqali. It was reassuring to see that the gallery is large enough and flexible enough to accommodate sculptures and paintings of great diversity.
Masqali was born in Cartagena in Mercia in 1989 and has lived in Seville since 1997. Even as a small child she was aware that she had an artistic approach to life, and she began painting at a very early age. Nevertheless, life perhaps doesn´t always take us in the direction we think we are following and as a young adult Masqali´s life became family-oriented.
Real passion cannot be quelled, of course, and in 2003 she resumed her love of art and trained in a number of various techniques and styles, and then true inspiration took her in 2017, when she made a trip as a volunteer worker to Ethiopia. Her experiences there led to her adopting her name, taking the word from the language of Ethiopia, which has served her well as she has stepped into the art world that, even as a child, she knew she wanted to inhabit. It was that experience in Ethiopia that led her to explore and come to understand her feelings deeply enough to enable her to give artistic expression of her very soul.
Her work reflects that introspection and self-discovery, though there is a playfulness of colour and medium, that has many of her ´paintings´ actually being a concoction of much more than canvas and paint. She described one particular piece to us as being of ´cement´ rather than of paint, and there was certainly a lumpier, rougher feel to it than to the usual smoother brush work of other artists. Elsewhere, she has even employed coffee beans to acquire a desired effect. In fact, her ´paintings´ contain tiny fractions which she has, in some cases, hand-crocheted, attached to the canvas and then painted over, so that they fit perfectly within the work as small, almost camouflaged pieces of objéts d´art. As the title of the exhibition might imply, much of her drive as an artist is currently fuelled by a desire to resolve abstracted space with deep experiences. She speaks of, and her works reflect, a feeling of being carried away in the very act of creativity.
Momentos Convertidos En Geometria, (Moments Converted Into Geometry) is a collection certainly in keeping with those words, born from some sketches Masqali made during that stay at a co-operative community in Gaba (Ethiopia) in October of 2019. The co-operative began exhibiting in 2003 and, whilst continuing a constant trajectory, its work has been recognized by multiple awards. Masqali shows us a personal universe expressed with irony, tenderness and compassion that invites the viewer to decipher hidden meanings in the roots of his own nature.
Her interpretation is very personal, broad of concept and free of expressive choice, distancing itself from a descriptive interpretation of the natural (that she does not remove) to show an excellent template of intrinsic qualities of painting.
There are nearly twenty ´moments´ and Masqali graciously accompanied us on part of or ´tour´ and tried to answer us the English language in which we asked our questions. By its very nature, and by definition of ´geometry´ there is an angular and linear feel to some of the pieces.
One piece has been divided, very precisely and geometrically, to show us the four quadrants (hemispheres?) of the world and others show a ´moment´ perhaps in a temporal context, as almost a been-and-gone event. Like any art produced in 2020 some pieces here cannot help but be viewed by a human being who has been affected by covid in some way that prompts him to question all he sees.
´Siempro sera hasta pronto´ was created in 2019 but ´Otro Munda para compartir´ is a 2020 composition, notably more linear and rectangular, segmented into four in a way that had me considering how much covid has fragmented this world of ours.
Mascara, translated pretty much bi-lingually as feminine mask and gas mask, and so one might well consider this work to be an observation of the new-norm of wearing a mask for health reasons. Masqali was actually wearing a very fetching mask, though she removed it momentarily to have a photograph taken. The work itself, though, could be interpreted as a file-folder or book cover, although really all this is a trick the light and the lines and where the shadow falls. It is an intriguing piece of work.
Two pieces in particular, Pirámido de luz i & h, seem to form an algebraic conundrum that equals the before and after of covid.
An especially diverting (in every sense of that word) piece in this collection is called, simply, Hope, and is notable for the broad stroked curves that split the lines and angles it shares with most of the other works. Masqali explained that broad diversion represented the kind of road, or track running, she did so much of in Ethiopia, that has been for her the hope she has clung to throughout the epidemic: the hope that she (specifically), and we all, (figuratively) will one day ´run free´.
The exhibition is challenging but rewarding and the works are available for purchase. Moments Converted Into Geometry is showing until January 22nd 2021 at this beautiful gallery surrounded by bars and restaurants. On the couple of occasions we have been there recently we have been welcomed by the owner, by staff and last night even by the exhibiting artist and were made to feel very welcome.
Opening times are detailed on the web site address given earlier in this article, and whilst browsing the site you will find there are also biographical and career details of several, if not all, of the artists who have previously exhibited at Lanzarote Art Gallery.
The on-line store shows scores of photographs of some of the work of those artists, along with sizes and prices of the pieces. A list of all the exhibitions held stretching back to 2017 includes a customer review of each one, and the site´s actual blog is excellent as a really enjoyable and informative read. There is one short essay in particular that caught my eye, as I was lucky enough a few years ago to stand, spellbound, by Picasso´s Guernica in a museum in Madrid. A short text tells us ´how the most celebrated painting of the twentieth century was made.´ We might infer from that ´of´ that the painting is ´about´ the twentieth century and, because of its focus on the horrors of the modern warfare that so defined those hundred years, we would be perhaps right to do so.
We left the Gallery feeling grateful to the young lady, shown right in yellow, explaining the concept of Hope to Norman and Dee as the artist shows the key points of the work. She seemed to be working in the capacity of p.a. and translator to either the owner or the artist, we weren´t quite sure. What we were sure of, though, was that she was very patient and tried to be very helpful.
We fixed an appointment to meet the gallery owner again in the next few days to conduct an interview to bring to these pages sometime before Christmas, so watch this space-
We decided that nearby fine restaurants notwithstanding, we would wine and dine somewhere nearer home, and so headed back down towards Playa Blanca. We actually ate at Azure Restaurant at Puerto Callero, beautifully lit and observing all appropriate protocols. We were served by a waiter who it turned out has known our friend Larry Yaskiel, the author and the Lancelot lifestyle magazine editor, for far longer than we actually have.
Dee had the steak and ale pie, with a bowl full of light mashed potato and vegetables on the side which she washed down with a white wine (or two). I had the Satay chicken-burger, (a far grander bird than it might sound) with French fries and salad and a cole-slaw to die for. The accompanying beer was far too easy to down for a man on driving duty but I resisted the urge for a second by persuading my wife to let me instead have a sticky toffee pudding and custard.
In the course of a dangling conversation on the last leg of our car journey I recalled my time as a creative writing practitioner in the UK when I was privileged to serve for ten years as a facilitator on the schools programme at Touchstones Arts & Heritage Centre in Rochdale. My performance team of Just Poets also worked at venues such as the wonderful Howarth Art Gallery, home of a Tiffany Glass exhibition. They were all wonderful, atmospheric and inspiring venues
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