Leo Marz: Futuristic Flower

5 February - 1 October 2022




PEANA is pleased to present Futuristic Flower, a solo exhibition by Leo Marz curated by Laura Orozco. Futuristic Flower explores the visibility and circulation of everyday objects and those that derive from the artistic endeavor; and reviews how both operate and present themselves in the world, as well as in the exhibition hall through contemporary visual languages. The proposal highlights the points of convergence between the different approaches and interests that the artist has developed in his latest projects, such as the legacy of the history of painting in our present, the construction and ambiguity of the image, as well as the implications of the display in our way of perception.


The interest in pictorial practice has been present —in one way or another— in all of Marz’s work; from questioning the function of the medium within cinematographic narratives, to confronting the canvas itself and producing paintings of diverse scales based on minimal gestures and games that wander between abstraction and figuration, as well as absence and presence. His practice can be thought from the crossings between the historical or canonical referents of painting and the unstable languages of the new audiovisual and digital media. The small format paintings are based on quick observational drawings, where the artist generates variations and dislocations between the traditional still life painting and the fragmented and sequenced operations of the contemporary image. Similarly, in Amazon Loop from the series Las batallas de display, Marz isolates and extracts the display from the Amazon website and turns it into a large-scale abstract painting, questioning the limits or possible dialogues between pictorial representation and graphic design, the wallpaper and the film or theatrical set, as well as the digital support and the canvas.


Si cierras los ojos, desapareces, a diptych made with acrylic on canvas, is a translation that reviews the components of the image and how it operates in relation to human and social interactions. The grid in the work comes from a background used by digital applications such as Photoshop to represent the absence of information, that is, the non-existence of the image. The gesture of creating a painting whose subject is the lack of its own image creates a tension between presence and absence, which alludes to the binary mode of representation and transmission of information within digital technologies. The translation of the digital to the materiality of the canvas generates a transparent or invisible painting, deprived of its apparently perfect composition based on the pixel —a unique color entity—, the image is created from the careful but asymmetrical manual handling that characterizes the pictorial gesture. The invention of television made possible the leap between cinematographic and digital languages, since it gave rise to the electronic signal and therefore to the construction of the image through sweeps of information that are configured vertically (from top to bottom), which becomes a flattened image due to its technical impossibility of depth of field, thus allowing the massive entry of the close up, which is appropriated by the logics of digital technologies as the primary image of use to observe, record and interact. The piece is also a selfie in movement, and the difference between each of the paintings that make up the diptych is the almost imperceptible change implied by the blinking.


The theme of absence is also present in the sculptures in the show. Rolling Chair Mat (for Hardwood Floor), is a glass copy of an office chair mat, Twin Double Spoon Rest is a bronze sculpture of a double spoon rest.1 Made from a reproduction of an object purchased through Amazon, this piece looks like a petal resting on a chroma green pole. Rather than “being”, the work “appears”. The green screen support serves as a footnote, and hints that the image of this piece is not finished, as that green chroma space is going to be replaced by something else, and “in reality” the object is floating in space four meters above the ground. Last on the list of three-dimensional objects is Yoga Swing Bracket, a bronze imitation of a reinforced wall bracket for suspension ropes.2 All three works come from objects that were produced to enable the existence of something else. We could say that they are wallpapers, green screen paint, Photoshop grids, dependent beings. What happens if these “nothings” become “somethings”? What would be its purpose for existence now? Does the status of artwork or monument grant them a new autonomy?


The condition of objects —as well as nature— as subjects of appropriation by man, is evident throughout the history of art. Examples of this are still lifes, landscapes, and other motifs that have been pretexts for pictorial production at the service of human visual pleasure. However, there have also been other approaches. In 1949 the film Late Spring by the Japanese Yasujiro Ozu was released. In this movie we find a long and fixed shot of the domestic environment, where we see a pot, a rug, a window and the shadows of plants reflected on the wall. In this context, a cinematographic shot with these characteristics that shows “nothing” is highly unusual. It makes no sense to suspend or prolong time within the economic logics of cinema so as not to advance within the narrative. This fact serves as an introduction to the central work of the exhibition in question. From an intervention on the gallery wall, Marz dialogues with the history of cinematographic representation and transfers it to pictorial practice through muralism, with a piece that advances at a different speed and plays with the variation of scales, which confuses our gaze, presenting a scene that seems to be observed by someone non-human. As a mirror, the work And Click—and Suddenness investigates how we experience time and space. It shows us the difference and tension between the “real” and its representation in the audiovisual media. At the same time, it makes use of a scene where nothing seems to happen, of negative or lost time; it gives us a moment of reality—life is full of suspended moments—, of frozen times, of spaces full of past actions. The drawing made with charcoal is the result of the superposition of two spaces, the domestic and the museum, in which through an editing exercise—of elimination of elements—the artist puts in conflict the exact translation of subjects and objects. A labyrinthine painting, which refers us to the digital apparatus and the logics of the hyperlink. The piece is transformed over time, it is an image in process that from the minimum change invites us to take a closer look at what seems peaceful, daily or fixed.


Laura Orozco