The work of Luis Gordillo played a pivotal role in the landscape of Spanish painting across the last decade of Franco’s dictatorship. This room presents a broad selection of work Gordillo produced during the period, a time in which he forged his own style with key strands that endured in the work he subsequently produced. His new language, with a powerful sense of colour and a satirical undercurrent, would become a reference point for a whole generation of artists who embarked upon work which kept its distance from in-vogue informalist and conceptual approaches.
After exploring a more informal, Pop and geometric language, the painting of Luis Gordillo became more complex in the early 1970s and his autonomy inside Spain’s artistic frame of reference fostered in his creative process certain conceptual positions which combined the rational and the sentimental — this synthesis of feeling and reflection granted him a more objective view of reality and himself.
In 1969, Gordillo was keen to assemble that which comes from reason and originates from the unconscious mind. According to the artist, many of the changes produced in his work stem from the tensions and the synthesis between seemingly antagonistic elements, a combination articulated primarily from the automatic and the controlled, the abysses of the sub-conscious and the zeniths of the rational, the informal and the constructive, or the social and the intimate, leading him to be freed of a rationalism that had started to become oppressive. This world of opposites triggered a psychic tension, which remained unresolved until the mid-1970s.
At this point, in May 1974, when the Centro de Arte M-11, in the Casa de Velázquez in Seville, organised his first anthological exhibition Gordillo. 1958—1974, and with a catalogue based around the texts of Simón Marchán and also Gordillo, it set forth a perception of the transformative processes of his oeuvre in the final years of Francoism. The dialogue between figuration, abstraction and Pop Art, a strong dose of irony, and the use of advertising and the multiplication of images run centrally through the works presented in this first exhibition, some of which are re-assembled in this room.
The pictorial language and extreme chromatism Gordillo employed across these years also reflects the influence of automatic drawing and photographic mediums, the upshot of the socialised perceptive experience through this new media. Thus, his series of photographs enabled him to find new paths and methods for his painting, determining a clear interrelationship between these elements, which formed the backbone of his 1970s artistic output. Moreover, he would not carry out pictorial appropriation automatically but through meditated development and selection, hence the ambivalence afforded by his paintings in this period.