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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

El Jardín (The Garden) : Studio Lenca Solo Exhibition

On July 15, 2023, Tang Contemporary Art will hold a solo exhibition of emerging artist STUDIO LENCA at Tang Contemporary art in Bangkok. This is Tang Contemporary Art’s second collaboration with the artist after “I’m working on leaving (Seoul).”

In this exhibition, the artist expands and explores the universal themes of migration, belonging and identity,through the concept of El Jardín (The Garden).

The garden is civilized nature in the sense that it differs from the irregular, disorganized, sprawling nature of the forest.

In Renaissance works of art, nature was often perceived as a space of disorganization and was often depicted as an extraordinary space separated from everyday life. On the other hand, a garden with architectural order may seem similar to a forest, but it is quite different. While a forest is open with unclear boundaries, a garden has clear boundaries and is closed.

The plants in the garden are selected from a sculptural point of view and are organized and decorated together with architectural elements. The garden is an idealized space that can be closed off from the outside world and remain pure.

The garden, which has inspired many artists such as Monet and Matisse, has also become an ideal space and a place of reflection for Studio Lenca, as well as a refuge for the marginalized. In this exhibition, Studio Lenca invites the viewers to enter El Jardín (The Garden), a space for flourishing.

The romantic and dramatic elements that make up the garden are selected by the artist and are gently present on the canvas, wrapping around the subject.

The organic combination of vibrant plants depicted in free lines and brilliant colors and
the elements of the work constantly draw the viewer’s attention. And the figures in the space, dressed in elaborate costumes and hats, look out at the space outside the canvas, extending the work beyond the artwork and into the space of life.

The vibrant figures have a regal, dignified quality. Here the marginalized take center stage as active agents of change, recalibrating the narrative.

The figures in the work thrive in the visibility and place making afforded by El Jardin.

The recurring motifs of ships and military uniforms hint at the colonial legacy and violence of the artist’s home country of El Salvador.

These elements, which may seem incongruous, exist in the liminal space between the real and the imaginary where the artist has asserted his identity and confronted his country’s past.

Throughout the work, harmonious and discordant colors contrast and layers emerge. The artist explores the materiality of paint and brush marks as a metaphor for his displaced, layered identity. His work is an affirmation of the internal and external worlds, histories and identities. The harmonization of intentionally neglected free lines and colors creates a
dance-like energy and fills the work. Universal experiences of who we are, what we see and where we have come from, converge on the canvas.

The artist’s lived experiences are at the core of his work. Studio Lenca approaches contemporary issues by proposing an alternative narrative through his own tangible artistic style and telling stories as vibrant as El Jardin. This exhibition offers a refuge for the marginalized. Through this exhibition, the artist hopes to provide a space for visibility, community and conversation in El Jardin.

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