Hong Kong—Pearl Lam Galleries is proud to present its second show at SOHO 189, Nostalgia, a solo exhibition by Spanish artist Loreta Sáez Franco. The exhibition will feature 15 of the artist’s recent small and medium-scale oil on canvas paintings, along with a black and white video work, that capture Sáez Franco’s desire to retrieve the lost innocence from her idealised memories of the past.
Drawing inspiration from the solemnity and spirituality of the Spanish Old Masters, Sáez Franco creates her own poetic imagery that evokes an atmosphere of a lost paradise through a combination of compact and expansive spatula strokes created by systemic body movements. Her overlapping veils of colour create an illusion of indefinite depth, inviting the viewer to look beyond the surface for further meaning.
For the last 15 years, Sáez Franco has been constantly travelling and living in big cities around the world, like New York, London, and Hong Kong, where she current lives. The artist searches for existential matters by carefully observing the diversity and connections of individuals. She sees metropolises as fascinating yet savage jungles in which human beings are exposed to deep antagonist emotions.
This nomadic way of living has made nostalgia a recurrent resource for the artist’s emotional well-being. Like the Greek hero Ulysses from Homer's The Odyssey, Sáez Franco draws on memories of family and home to weather difficult periods, although she mostly creates her own imagery of ‘non vivid memories’ as a private den. Nostalgia, like sorrow and happiness, is a universal feeling that all races, cultures, and ages share and use to confirm identity.
Memories contain pieces of ourselves, while nostalgia evokes a particular sense of time or place. We remember memories in a very selective way, as our brains reinterpret the actuality of events. Nostalgia is a yearning for an idealised past, a longing for an improved impression of it—what in psychoanalysis is referred to as a screen memory. This series is exactly that—a collection of distorted screen memories, the artist’s very own ‘screen savers’ in moments of emotional threat.
The Spanish artist will also present her video work Disorientation, which features clips from classic movies directed by Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Alain Resnais, Fritz Lang, and Wim Wenders, among others. The black and white video evokes questions of belonging, identity, existentialism, and hope, which are all reoccurring subjects in the artist’s iconography that come from the same nomadic life as the Nostalgia works.