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Emilio Fornieles: Eros and Passion

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In this post you can read an excerpt from the text I ‘ve written about Emilio Fornieles, featured artist of Virtual Gallery and  I would like to invite you all to stroll through his amazing gallery B-sides.

When I became acquainted with Emilio Fornieles and his work in the last edition of the Berliner Liste art fair, without a doubt what most caught my attention was the passion in the execution of his works and the touch of aggressiveness, as well as his command of black and white, which makes it possible to create landscapes and portraits that are charged with great force and dramatic quality and that we can now enjoy in the artist’s gallery on Virtual Gallery.

A self-taught artist, he has been learning how to capture the reality he perceives. He began to paint when he was very young, although it was not until 2006 that he decided to fully dedicate himself to it, due to an exhibition in which “he opened himself to the public”.

Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, who noticed his painting and wrote the introduction for one of his series, also has something to do with this decision. The Nobel Prize winner said of him: “a self-taught artist who is not ashamed of being one; who, stirred simply by genius, seeks and finds unexpected new paths, unexpected uses of color, and forms that, if they sometimes seem to come from expressionism, is simply because his realism wisely knew from the start to give up imposing his inherent limits on himself.”


He has received different national painting prizes and he has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Germany. He has also been in international art fairs, such as ArcoMadrid and Berliner Liste.

In his work he uses unconventional and recycled materials: acrylic paint from drugstores, wood that is sometimes taken out of the garbage, iron sheets, waste toner from photocopiers as a pigment, etc. In his creative process he opts for creating figurative order from abstract chaos; in other words, a figurative work that, depending on the time taken to execute the work, can become more or less expressive.

 He executes this process in three possible ways: to the classical style directly from the natural; from oneiric processes belonging to surrealism; or, as is usual for him, working from a photographic model that he uses as a reference, as is the case in the series presented in Virtual Gallery, which is later retouched and framed before he contributes the creative and most traditional part of the entire process, without which an artistic work is not conceived.

Among the artists he takes as a reference we find more writers than visual artists; for example, José Saramago and the humanism present in his work, as well as contemporary figurative painters like Freud and Saville, and the generation of Spanish abstract artists from the 50s, such as Feito and Millares; “however, not so much those others that cram the pages of didactic and academic books and that, once finally seen in real life, have left me feeling completely indifferent.”

Emilio Fornieles is not an artist that is easy to associate with any style. Not even he feels comfortable with that: “each and every one of us differ in everything, however tiny the difference; we would need many more –isms in this system and even then I think that we would commit much more serious errors.”

Saramago said that Fornieles’ style for a series of large portraits that the artist did was Figurative Expressionism, and that they were characteristic of him and that they are rapid works done live as a performance—some of them in only 30 minutes—of famous people, such as the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit or the curator of Berliner Liste Art Fair Peter Funken:

In the case of the series presented in Virtual Gallery, B-sides, done in black and white, the artist transports us to the Renaissance as well as to the chiaroscuro seen in the Baroque period due to the tenebristic figures cloaked in the black background, while using a very contemporary style. In these works the artist is focusing on the themes of love, sex, and passion.

In this way, the artist deals ironically with typically Baroque themes (religious and sacred paintings) in order to be profane and contemporary. He addresses themes like carnal love, desire, and physical contact.

You can read the full article here .

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