Artist Interview: Didier Lourenço

Didier Lourenco

[BLOG NOTE: This exhibition is over.]

Didier Lourenço was immensely popular at the opening reception of his Singapore debut at Barnadas Huang gallery.

ellas  (330 dpi)

I imagine everyone was asking him about the girl with the large eyes that appears in every one of his paintings – including one where you are invited to seek her out among a crowd.

rostre  (330 dpi)

I spied my own chance to speak with the Catalan artist when he was posing for the photographer in front of the mysterious girl, this time on a bicycle, displayed in a smaller separate building opposite to the main exhibition area – where a 2-by-2 metre canvas takes centre stage; just her, no crowds no bicycles, brought to live with oil, on a black background, outlined with what looks like red chalk.

But no, it’s oil, the gallery owners assured me. The 46-year-old artist certainly has a way with the medium, the finished effect sometimes resembling chalk, sometimes peeled paint.

I approached, just as Lourenço “comes out” of his pose.

Tell us about your family.

My parents grew up in France – my father was born in Portugal, my Mother in Spain, but with the civil war in Spain, their families had to leave for France. When they got married they went back to Spain, and I was born there.

And how did you get started in art?

I learn the trade of lithography from my father. A tedious process, preparing the silk screen, long hours… But I wanted to make my own art, so I started painting in a corner of my studio. Self-taught, 25 years I have been painting.

Is there an artist who inspires you?

I‘m influenced by many painters, each has his particular interest. But If I have to pick one, Pablo Picasso for his creativity, a guy who never stops creating, sometimes the same story but in a different way.

What direction will your future works take?

As we get older, we want our lives more simple, and we become more abstract in a certain way. That’s a normal progression in my opinion. But I think my work is going to try to say more with less.

You selected some songs to accompany your works for this exhibition, does music play a big part in your life?

My favourite songs are related with things in my life. Like now we are listening to Joan Manuel Serrat (the Spanish singer’s 1971 hit Mediterráneo), who is a Catalan, and he is talking about the Mediterranean which is from I come from. When I’m painting I listen to anything. It’s many hours in the studio, the music sometimes I don’t listen, it’s just atmospheric. It’s difficult to pick 15 songs and say “That’s the one!”

Who is that girl?

I wish she was real, but she exists in my mind. I see her everywhere.


I had imagined a rather different response. But as I concluded my interview with Lourenço, a Joan Manuel Serrat song plays  in the background. He sings of a sailor’s romantic love and the love for his homeland, I couldn’t help but wonder if Lourenço’s paintings speak of a parallel where a Catalonian girl disturbs a flutter of butterflies as she rushes home on her bicycle to feed her hungry cats.

el equilibrista  (330 dpi)

[Pics courtesy of Barnadas Huang gallery]


‘Twas a perfectly civilised way to spend the afternoon

‘Twas a perfectly civilised way to spend the afternoon: An art tour accompanied by noble ladies and the bling they bring, followed by tea and macaroons – but with none of that pretentiousness such as raised pinkies or incessant chatter about cats, the weather or the World Cup.

“Will the Secretary join us?”

“I’m afraid duty calls. Enjoy your afternoon.”

Awfully polite gentleman, and a lovely person to hang with, I’m sure, if he cared to stay, but I was glad for his sake he didn’t – though the treats were sweet, the banter was sweeter still, dripping with saccharine and laced with barbs, if one cared to listen with half a mind.

Instead, attention was paid towards the lush wine our gracious hostess doled out – our demitasse tea cups barely drained.

Happy hour has officially begun, though there won’t be any drunken fisticuffs – not with this lot – but mind the verbal minefields.

Christmas at a Certain Art Gallery

He arrived at the art gallery with tie in hand, collar upturned, his strapping figure silhouetted against the doorframe. Ying liked him immediately.

The gallery owner greeted him with much fanfare, and clucked over his well-being like an adoring mother hen.

Ying’s gaze followed the pair as the mother hen herded her newest chick towards the open bar. His white shirt was sticking to his back like the soggy Vietnamese rice paper rolls the gallery was serving – revealing the deep cleft between the two flanks of his broad muscular back.

“Rice paper rolls, miss?” a waitstaff walked over with a tray.

Ying crammed two in her mouth – if she couldn’t feed her lust, she could at least feed her hunger.

She approached the bar for a refill. He was sipping a red.

“Is that any good?” Ying asked.

They exchanged pleasantries and hit it off instantly over a mutual dislike of childish scrawls masquerading as art. His name was Patrick.

As the evening progressed, Ying became more and more attracted towards Patrick. It wasn’t just his good looks. He had impeccable manners, they shared the same tastes in music and books, and they both have immense respect for Nelson Mandela.

They were having a rather animated conversation over a painting depicting a couple in passionate embrace. Ying thought the sparse use of gold leaf made the painting seem like a poor imitation of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. While Patrick thought the gold leaf was applied adequately, and served to highlight the couple, almost giving them an aura.

Patrick dribbled on. But Ying was no longer hearing the content, she was fixated on the sensuous curves of his lips. Unwittingly, Ying cupped her hand to her neck and traced her thumb over her lips.

She closed her eyes and imagined what Patrick’s lips would feel like on her throat… His five o’clock shadow grazing her skin, the sensation a delicious burn. Patrick enveloped Ying in a deeper embrace, she took in his scent – musk with a hint of cinnamon and cloves – his warmth sent a shiver up her spine, eliciting a sigh.

Ying felt a squeeze on her shoulder, and opened her eyes. It was Patrick, for real now. He was smiling, “Are you alright?”

Some sauce had found its way to the corner of his mouth. Encouraged by his touch and warm smile, Ying reached up to wipe him off.

“Haha. I’m such a messy eater. Say, would you like to check out the new bistro around the corner after this?”