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First Ever Solo Exhibition in a Spanish Museum by Eric Fischl
Eric Fischl poses with his works of art at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Málaga. Photo: EFE/Jorge Zapata.

MALAGA.- CAC Málaga – the city of Malaga’s Centre for Contemporary Art – is presenting the first ever solo exhibition in a Spanish museum by Eric Fischl who, along with Alex Katz, is one of the most eminent American figurative painters of the second half of the 20th century. On show there will be large-format paintings and watercolours forming part of this New York artist’s first art of bullfighting, created after he attended Ronda’s Goyesque bullfight in 2007. "Corrida in Ronda", the title of the exhibition curated by Fernando Francés, summarises the rich language of the artist’s painting. There are two things about his works that are particularly outstanding and unique in contemporary painting: the use of backlighting to depict the toreadors’ passes and the way he imbues them with an emotive charge.

Only 10 large-format works in total (six oil paintings and four watercolours) are needed to summarise Eric Fischl’s perception of his first art of bullfighting in the most spectacular and truly telling way. One of the most classical themes of Spanish art in recent centuries, the art of bullfighting has been magnificently reviewed in the exhibition catalogue by the professor and art critic, Francisco Calvo Serraller. "Corrida in Ronda" is a collection of sensations, vibrations and emotions. It is a compendium of – and a fresh look at – a classical theme. It is also the impression of one of Spain’s most ancestral customs seen through the eyes of an avant-garde artist.

"Corrida in Ronda" is surprising because of the expressive power the New York artist has given to the art of bullfighting; on these huge canvases there is nothing but the impressiveness of the bullfight, strong bulls and admirable toreadors. Here we are not looking at an artist of enamelled, uniform surfaces, but rather at a devotee of chiaroscuro. Consequently, light is one of the most significant aspects of his style, and in his works he uses strong contrasts of light that create a sensation of depth. There are some figures that demand a little effort to extract them from the semi-darkness, while others are almost painful to look at because of their overexposure to the sun, a technique that he uses to produce the highest degree of expressiveness in his characters.

Fischl (New York, 1948), studied at the California Institute of Arts Valencia (United States). After working as a teacher for four years, his first solo exhibition was held at the Dalhousie Art Gallery in Halifax (Canada). Even though his initial works tended more towards abstraction, as from 1976 he began to introduce figurative elements. Finally, at the end of the 1970s, his style became realist, a style that is both powerfully expressive and clearly influenced by expressionist and American naturalist painters. The core theme of his oeuvre is sexuality. There are many representations of naked bodies in erotic poses, though often they exude a certain air of mystery, distress or oppression. Consequently, Fischl draws attention to the adulteration of moral values in modern American society. The artist is mostly known for his painting, though he has worked as a sculptor and photographer too.

Centre for Contemporary Art | Eric Fischl who | Alex Katz |

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