Francisco Leiro (Cambados, 1951) belongs to the group of twentieth-century artists who staged a turning point in Spanish art during the early eighties. The euphoria that surrounded the birth of the young Spanish democracy manifested in art in the shape of a plural explosion that included artists such as Ferrán García Sevilla, Juan Muñoz, Manolo Quejido, Susana Solano, Juan Uslé and Miquel Barceló.
Leiro’s work emerged in a climate dominated by the ideas of Italian Transavantgarde and German Neo-expressionism, although there is a much more complex set of relationships that would include Surrealism, Galician Mannerism, Romanesque sculpture, polychrome tradition as well as the impact of popular art and contemporary European sculptors. His early work mixes surreal elements while giving signs of a kind of light Pop Art. In the Eighties, the artist becomes interested in the mythology, cultural traditions, facial features and psychological peculiarities of the Galician people to then focus on the relationship between body and fixtures, always through his particularly scathing gaze. Despite this conceptual framework, Leiro is inspired by patterns in his everyday life. He exploits the physical gestures of the people who surround him and he abandons himself to his laconic sense of humour as well as his ironic way of seeing things which is often exaggerated to the point of surreal. Towards the late eighties Leiro moves to New York where he has lived since in between long stays at his study in Cambados.
In Leiro's work one can perceive areas of concern, sharpened and focused registers of attention. This allows him to perform jumps and create new tensions, as well as make two different arguments simultaneously. In this exhibition at the Palacio de Cristal, Leiro proposes especially attractive creatures and spaces that make up a total of eleven works produced over the last ten years. Light, the protagonist in this space, exploits the marked colour contrast of his sculptures. They are pieces where humour and irony in a strong sense of the surreal predominate, with which the author is able to create a collection that combines the universal with territory. The artist delights in taking risks, as he has done this time by facing the overwhelming height of the building and using the monumentality of his pieces to challenge its scale.
Museo Reina Sofía Publications
21 February - 24 June 2024
The Practice of Art
1 December 2023 – 10 March 2024
Ulla von Brandenburg
29 November 2023 - 11 March 2024
15 November 2023 - 4 March 2024
The Turning Point
4 October 2023 - 26 February 2024
23 February – 7 June 2024
What They Saw
Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999Library and Documentation Centre