Marlborough Madrid presents the exhibition of Francisco Leiro, A filla da porteira, with a selection of sculptural pieces where the human body is reified, and the object is humanized.
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We can consider this new exhibition as a continuation of Cuerpo Inventado, the show held by Francisco Leiro at Marlborough Gallery in 2018, since A filla da porteira starts with a piece called Divano (2018), discarded in the previous exhibition and which now serves as a link to his most recent work.
A filla da porteira is divided into three blocks in which Leiro returns to his particular universe, where body and object merge and the limits disappear, somehow allowing a hybrid sensibility that alludes to the dream world. In many cases the body is reified, and the object is humanized, establishing a perverse game that creates unique sculptures of great power and visual richness.
On this occasion the artist addresses one of the major problems of our contemporaneity: the subject becomes pure fiction as they hide behind their attributes or possessions. Leiro’s sculpture always leaves a space for the viewer for their own interpretation. Through a pretended ambiguity, he suggests, without convincing or imposing. In this group of pieces Leiro eliminates the expressiveness of the textures of the wood in search of more anonymous or anodyne characters in which the importance of the polychrome stands out. On this occasion he shows, in a way, his current interest in a type of undramatized figuration whereby practicing a more fluid volumetry.
In the words of curator and critic Ángel Calvo Ulloa, author of the catalog text:
«Leiro’s figures wait, standing or lying down, self-absorbed or with a clear intention, and from that expectation arises the sense of the scene. Even in the paused actions there is a trace of this prolongation, no longer of immobility, since they are not stopped, but rather expectant. […] Many of Leiro’s sculptures observe from their own heights, others from the heights provided by the plinths or pedestals, operating in some way as pillars with which to play and study the relationship with the spectator, but also with the space where they are inserted. There is obviously a concern for the place in which the character fits, for the relationship with its environment and for what it contributes to the meaning of the sculpture».
Francisco Leiro (Cambados, Pontevedra, 1957) was trained at the School of Arts and Crafts in Santiago de Compostela and at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid. His first exhibition took place in his hometown in 1975. In 1983 he was invited to participate in the last of the exhibitions of the Atlántica group, which was intended as an initiative for the renovation of the Galician plastic arts. In 1985 he represented Spain in the Biennial of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 1988 he settled in New York and the following year he began working with the Marlborough Gallery. Since then, his work is regularly exhibited in the various venues of this gallery as well as in national and international museums.
His most recent solo exhibitions include: Lo antropomórfico at MARCO in Vigo (2022), Roteiro at Tabacalera (Madrid, 2019), Cuerpo inventado at Marlborough Gallery (Madrid, 2018), Leiro at CAC Málaga (Málaga, 2017), Os traballos e os días. Francisco Leiro at Abanca (Pontevedra, 2016), Purgatorio at Marlborough Gallery (Madrid, 2014), Human Resources at Marlborough Gallery (New York, USA, 2013), Francisco Leiro. Celebrando el Códice Calixtino at the Palacete de las Mendoza (Pontevedra, 2010), El Jardín de las Delicias at El Romeral de San Marcos (Segovia, 2007), Compaña at the Marlborough Gallery (Madrid, 2006), Diálogos de Silencio at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (New York, 2005), Caracteres at the Cervantes Institute (New York, 2005), Leiro at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, 2004) or the traveling exhibition (National Gallery of Foreign Art of Sofia, Bulgaria, and National Museum of Fine Arts of Santiago de Chile) organized by SEACEX (2003 and 2004).
His work is also present in numerous public collections around the world, among which we can mention: Akron Art Museum (Ohio), Asociación de Amigos del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Centro Cultural São Lourenço (Almancil), Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporáneo (Santiago de Compostela), Colección-Fundación Caja de Madrid, Colección Fundación Coca-Cola (Madrid), Colección Fundación La Caixa (Barcelona), Grounds for Sculpture (New Jersey), Instituto del Crédito Oficial (ICO, Madrid), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Barcelona), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Patio Herreriano (Valladolid), Museo de Bellas Artes de Álava (Vitoria), Museo de Castrelo (Vigo), Museo Marugame Hirai (Kagawe, Japan), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Fundación Caixanova (Vigo), etc.
His numerous public works include: Mis Sofás (Pontevedra, 1988), Sireno (Vigo, 1991), Homenaje a Castelao (Alameda, Santiago de Compostela, 1995), Miarritz (Biarritz, 1997), Astronauta (Valdemoro, 2001), Vértigo (M50 Highway, Madrid, 2004), Simeón sentado (Torre Espacio, Cuatro Torres, Madrid, 2007) and Dama de Navalcarnero (Navalcarnero, Madrid, 2007).
Courtesy of the artist and Galería Marlborough, Madrid