Schleiper Art Gallery presents
From November 15, 2021 to March 18, 2022
The Claude Jongen collection of José Garcia Ortega
50 years after José Garcìa Ortega's first exhibition in Brussels, the Schleiper Art Gallery presents a selection
engravings by the Spanish artist that are part of the Claude Jongen Collection.
This year, 2021, we celebrate the centenary of the birth of the anti-Franco artist (Arroba de los Montes, 1921 - Paris, 1990), a prominent representative of social realism during the Spanish Civil War.
Ortega, a pupil and friend of Picasso, wandered through almost all of Europe during a long exile, eventually settling for longer periods in Paris and Italy. Political struggle and civic engagement have always remained an essential part of his work. Work in which he denounces the fate and economic situation of the working class and criticizes the power structures that underly it.
Two cycles of works are to be discovered at the gallery.
■ The first cycle is called ‘ORTEGA + DÜRER’.
It dates from 1971 and presents a series of 60 works, divided into 4 themes:
• The youth
• The conquest
Each theme includes 12 aquatints where the white line delimits the subject and 3 wood engravings, color portraits on Arches paper. For this series, Ortega has plunged its roots into the work of the Germanic master, by infusing it with a Spanish dimension. Like Dürer in his time, the Iberian artist sets his gaze on the political reality of his time, where great ideals rub shoulders with the most violent drifts, and noble aspirations, destructive whims.
■ The second cycle is titled “Les Moissonneurs” (Segadores).
It dates from 1970 and consists of 20 works.
These works are original combinations of serial techniques, mixing lithography and intaglio on linoleum, in color on embossed paper. The use of color in large flat areas enhanced with decorated reliefs differentiates this series from the previous one. The harvesters and their surroundings are essentialized by graphic and geometric shapes. By depicting them like colored islands against rhythmic and contrasting backgrounds, Ortega underlines the loneliness of these agricultural workers, curled up in their daily tasks.
— Hélène Lecocq