This artist's works stayed hidden under his bed for years

Luis Lorenzana's offbeat paintings are now on display at Leon Gallery.


( What's hiding under your bed? Probably a lot of dust bunnies and old boxes you don't even remember putting there.


For self-taught artist Luis Lorenzana, a series of works created from 2005 to 2008—all gathering dust in his studio and his house—was his ticket to an international career. His paintings are now on display at Leon Gallery in Makati City, while a publication including critical essays on his works was launched on February 1 by the International Arts and Artists, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.




"All of these things started by accident," starts Lorenzana during the exhibit launch. Art collector Ken Hakuta saw one of his works "Who Killed Jose" in his studio in early 2016 and quickly showed interest. He was overwhelmed by the technique of Lorenzana's early pieces that had no place in the Philippine art market a decade ago. "Nobody bought them when I was starting my career," the artist reveals. Hakuta thought differently and slowly acquired the artworks, which reminded him of paintings by Yoshitomo Nara and Jean Michael Basquiat, and referred to them collectively as the Luis Lorenzana Archival Collection.




For Michelle Yun, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Asia Society Museum and author of the book on Lorenzana, it was the freshness of the artist's works that got her. "I feel like there are two tracks to the body of works. There are the political works that I feel have a real timeliness about what's going on... Then, there are the personal works that are so raw, so visceral, so culturally open. That I thought it's very brave of him to put himself out here in such vulnerable way," she narrates.






Lorenza's artworks are reflective of his commentaries on the government, nationalism, and the society in general. These are intertwined with his own brand of pop surrealist paintings where funny-looking creatures are put alongside portraits of our heroes. "Art is very personal to me. The art that an artist produce is a reflection of what he is during that time, that stage in his life," the artist describes about his pieces.


The Lorenzana Archival Collection exhibit runs until February 26 at Leon Gallery, Corinthian Plaza, Paseo de Roxas corner Gamboa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati. For more information, visit Leon Gallery on Facebook.

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