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Iberia Center for Contemporary Art Presents Ouka Leele: Between Two Worlds
A visitor looks at a work of art at the retrospective exhibition of Spanish photographer Ouka Leele, which opened at Iberia Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Photo: EFE / Javier Triana.

BEIJING.- Iberia Center for Contemporary Art will present Ouka Leele: Between Two Worlds, the first retrospective of the Spanish artist Ouka Leele in China.

This exhibition is a further collaboration between Iberia Center for Contemporary Art of Beijing and Tom y Valiente Art Center of Fuenlabrada (Madrid), following the exhibition Poetic Realism: A Reinterpretation of Jiangnan - Contemporary Art from South China held in Fuenlabrada (Madrid), May 2008, which has created a great sensation in culture scene. These exhibitions are results of the collaboration agreement between both Institutions to open a two-way channel to promote and develop the work of Chinese artists in Europe and Spanish artists in China.

Ouka Leele, a prestigious Spanish female photographer with an art career dating back to the late 70s, ranks among the landmark figures of Europe as a contemporary of the American female artist Cindy Sherman. Ouka Leele participated into the new wave cultural movement La Movida, which began in Spain, especially in Madrid, during the 80s with the arrival of Democracy, and swept all over the European continent. Born in Madrid in 1957, Ouka Leele started painting when she was very young, always influenced by the Nature and the great masters from Museo del Prado. In 1976 she started her studies at Photocentro, an innovative photography school where you could glimpse the ideas that the young Spanish artists develop later in the 80s. Ouka Leele's universe has always been between two worlds, painting and photography, the earthly and the spiritual. When she was studying fine arts at university, she also began to study photography, and a strong way to express herself was revealed to her. Driven by the need of painting and the fascination with black and white photography, she fuses both techniques and develops her personal artistic language. She still continues painting, but using photography to register the reality previously created by her.

In her work, the personal artistic language with the fusion of photography and painting, to quote her own metaphor, is visual poetry, a manner of speaking without words, and a blend of drama, imagination, painting and photography "A critic has named her work of black and white pictures hand-colored with watercolor as fotoacuarelas"(watercolor photographies). The process takes four steps: take the picture, make the positive of the film, paint the positive, and conserve the image. Presently, her unique work develops along two paths: one is works of portraits, in which she interpretes reality with a difficult simplicity, the other a sentimental and intimate approach to the Nature, which is related to the concept of feminity and the creator of life.

Ouka Leele: Between Two Worlds is a comprehensive retrospective, organized by Iberia Center for Contemporary Art of Beijing and Tomas y Valiente Art Center of Fuenlabrada (Madrid), which will showcase a collection of 67 pieces of Ouka Leele's works from all different stages of her artistic career: from Hairdresser Series of her first solo in 1979, and works of the 1980s during the new wave cultural movement in Madrid, La Movida.

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