Luis Romero Talks About His WorkMonday, November 30, 2020
Hello, my name is Luis Romero. I’m a Venezuelan artist born in Caracas, where I live.
I’m going to tell you about my work Ausencia [Absence]. Ausencia is a polyptych composed of seven modules, done in the techniques of drawing and engraving.
I made this work in 1995 with the assistance of the Rijksakademie graphics workshop, during my residency at that center located in Amsterdam.
Often absence is defined as being far away from a place, since the work comes from the Latin absentia, which in turn comes from the verb abesse, meaning “to be far.”
An absence always occupies the place of an earlier presence. Thinking of the dialectic relationship between these two concepts, as well as the particularity of this process of abstraction or extraction that requires a previous presence in order to manifest itself, was what led me to make this work.
In the process other references or ideas crossed my path, such as Malevich’s Black Square, the Ka’bah at Mecca, the empty tomb of Jesus Christ, and Bill Viola’s Tiny Deaths video.
In five of the seven modules that make up the work an empty chair appears, drawn in graphite, that fills up almost the entire canvas. In the lower part of each of the paper modules you find the word “Ausencia” printed in low relief with no ink.
Absence, the non-material, the not visible, the immaterial—these are the protagonists. In any case, what’s found in this work are ideas of finitude, of pain, of memory about that which does not survive or “exist” in some other way.
As the Jesuit priest Michel de Certeau says: “A presence, when it disappears, imposes an obligation to write.”
Engraving and charcoal on paper
67.00 x 52.00 cm (26 3/8 x 20 1/2 in.)