Rogelio López Cuenca was born in 1959 in Nerja. As a small child, he did not mind going to a museum. In fact, he did not set foot in one until he turned twenty. His was more about literature and writing. Another thing was when he experimented -as he says- with "other artistic forms". In the literature the flute did not sound, but it did fit in the artistic because it got a certain receptivity. «Literature is a much more conservative world. Note that the most successful books are those that are written as in the nineteenth century, "he drops. A few of his works have become emblems, icons that have everything and nothing of the pop world. Appropriating images, borrowing them to create and recreate from them, has turned the creative tortilla and the brand of soft drinks becomes an object that has nothing to do with the spark of life.
The Reina Sofia Museum has opened the halls wide open in the form of a retrospective - whose curator is its director, Manuel Borja-Villel - in which he presents a journey through the whole of his work. All whole. Since he was part of the collective Agustín Parejo School in the eighties until yesterday. At the age of almost sixty, we do not know if it requires him to be exposed to the public. Does it impose to strip artistically speaking? "I have not had time to take distance yet. It's been a fairly intense last few days and a couple of years of preparation, and you lose perspective. " He has not imposed his criteria when selecting because he thought that the one of the curators was fully in line with what he thought and wanted: "What is is what it is. I have had little mediation because it has not been necessary. I have let do, also by own modesty, "he says. And when he sees what he did in the nineties and what he does today and what he does today, it seems as if he has entered into a spatio-temporal loop, since the validity of his work is totally current. «I notice the distant works very close. I think the biggest difference between jobs comes from the world of technology. When I look at forty years ago, it's like being in prehistory. It makes you smile the possibility of its use. There are themes from the 90s related to world disorder, peripheral wars or the world refugee movement. I find the terrible news of certain matters very striking ».
The spark of life
Poet and visual artist, López Cuenca is in the orbit of the tradition of institutional criticism and connects both with the transgressive vitality of the historical avant-garde and with the world of pop in a work in which language is a capital element. Through irony, the artist deals with tricky subjects, but with his touch. Works that can take away a smile or get it to stay frozen halfway. It seems that he was going to give a blow to the table through his pieces, but when you hear him speak this malagueño has a very soft voice and leaves it in his mouth. And in that language that says he has had to bite on occasion, "more times than I would like. Today censorship is exercised through economic viability or simply letting everything flow and go unnoticed among the crowd, "he says. The language, we underline, has not been bitten. "Censorship is exercised today in a much more sophisticated way. The current violence is diffuse and bucolic and you do not perceive it as such, "he says. The irony is another travel companion that López Cuenca has always taken in his suitcase wherever he has exposed, wherever he has worked: "I think it is very important in the cultural projection", adding that he considers it "fundamental to put the model of the great artist ». And of that he speaks at length, that there are not so many great popes of art who can afford to live comfortably and have several houses, one of them, for example, in New York, to place a city on the map. "In the world of art, what is news is insofar as it is a forgery or a work that has reached an absolutely exorbitant price in an auction, if it does not seem as if it did not exist. The day to day hardly has transcendence and it is then when a false perception is created. I believe that on the part of the institutions there is not the slightest interest in solving the problems of workers in the world of culture in general. " It does not lack an iota of reason. And this is when we take the opportunity to ask him about the national artistic panorama and the market: "The Spanish art world has specific local characteristics but suffers the same attack as the liberal neo-conceptualism that applies to everything." And when talking about the market it is even clearer: "If the scale of what is valuable in art in its economic value we are lost because then culture only evolves according to its commerciality". A culture that says, is "abandoned. There is a conservative vision of art. The same thing is always programmed and it seems that what is around an aura of indisputable nature is protected, "he says before going on to talk about Malaga and its" showcase policy ". In fact, the museum has set up a curious "merchandising" in which Picasso and everything related to his world has space: dolls, key chains, bottles, books, puzzles ..., of everything imaginable. Up to a hammock And what is the conclusion drawn from this panorama? Then he says that he has bitten his tongue: "Culture is much more like agriculture than we think".
Created specifically for this exhibition is the project «The Islands», which talks about the historical effects of colonialism and its perpetuation in the present through the figure of the tourist industry. López Cuenca makes in him a critical rereading of some texts and historical engravings related to the Discovery of America to show the colonial look as a means of control.
Within that world of spectacle in which he comments that we live, we talk about ARCO's last "star" work: "When I saw her, her head was covered with a bag. I could not see what it could be and I thought: "That is the work that is going to take over." What a success. The fair is a succession of objects that compete to get the attention of the spectator. It is from there where I contemplate the work. I will not enter into other types of valuations ». There we left it.