Entertainment behind the scenes
Botero brings inflated sense of art to Istanbul exhibition
Colombian artist Fernando Botero says his iconic overstuffed figures are helping to re-inflate art that has gone limp.
“Volume was an element neglected in the 20th century. The paintings became flat,” Botero told reporters in Istanbul at the opening of a new exhibition. “Whatever I paint — man, woman, still life, landscape — there is always this presence of volume.”
Sixty-four of Botero’s larger-than-life works are on display in three viewing galleries at Istanbul’s Pera Museum . The show begins this week and runs through July 18.
The corpulent characters may be hyperbolic, the Medillin-born artist said, but their size is what adds vitality to his work. To Botero, volume is as essential in painting as colour and form.
“One of the greatest revolutions in art was when volume was represented in the Renaissance period. Now we take for granted the expression of volume on a flat surface,” he said.
His baroque figures are a clear nod to the plump and sensuous women depicted by Rubens or Boticelli, although Botero’s cartoonishly pneumatic figures at times would almost seem to mock his Flemish and Italian forebears.
The 78-year-old artist, who began painting in 1944, described the Pera show as “very representative”. It includes examples of several Botero themes, including the circus, still life, and the bull fight.
However, the current exhibit lacks two significant works: his political satires of the Latin American military juntas of the 1960s and his 2005 work “Abu Ghraib”, a searing rendition of the torture committed by U.S. soldiers against Iraqi prisoners.
The latter was donated to the University of California at Berkeley ”so these paintings can stay in America”, he said.
(Posted by Ayla Jean Yackley. Photo: Colombian artist Fernando Botero poses in front of his paintings at the Pera Museum. Murad Sezer/Reuters)