Spanish painter displays wax works in Beijing

By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-03-17 08:41:17
Spanish painter displays wax works in Beijing

Spanish artist Jose-Maria Cano is showing his encaustic paintings in Beijing.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Spanish encaustic painter Jose-Maria Cano is displaying his works at an ongoing retrospective show in Beijing.

His paintings, made by mixing color with hot wax, exhibit the two main themes of his art-materialism and spiritualism.

Cano's show, Differences and Similarities Between Reality and Truth, which continues through March 23, displays 11 series of some 200 paintings he produced since 2003, including his well-known Wall Street 100, a collection of large-size images of public figures whose photos appeared in the Wall Street Journal. He started the series in 2004, long before a meltdown hit US investment banks.

For his Beijing exhibition, Cano, 57, added two special sections. The RMB series presents massive Chinese currency notes in denominations of 1, 10 and 100. The Beijing series features one landscape painting of the present-day city and its landmark buildings, and another from 1930s China, based on the Tintin book The Blue Lotus to show the changes in cities here.

The paintings of bank notes offer audiences an unusual way to clearly see the details of money, something they pay little attention to daily. One needs to see "the beauty of the money itself", Cano says.

"The portrait of Mao Zedong on a 100 yuan note is beautiful. So is the color and the watermark," he says, adding that he makes money paintings just like he would paint colorful gardens.

Besides the yuan, Cano has also painted pounds, marks and euros. He says it's an ironic way to show beauty because rich people are considered "beautiful" and painters are "obliged to paint beauty".

Cano has visited Beijing a few times, and it is the first time that the Central Academy of Fine Arts, an art school that produces well-known artists, is hosting his works at its art museum.

During his first visit to the country in 2006, he went to Shanghai and saw how the economy was growing, he says.

On display are also many wax paintings inspired by newspapers' layouts.

It takes months to produce an encaustic painting, he says. He has dedicated more than a decade to the art form, and now has a distinctive style.

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