Lluís Barba constructs his huge photographs with minute attention to detail. During the last twenty years he has developed his distinctive iconography, each work including visual references as people, paintings and his own artworks are transferred to new compositions. Just as artists have for centuries teased their audience with allegory andsymbolism, so Barba’s jigsaw of iconography presents a maze of allegorical pathways,the symbolism of the historical sources overlaid with that of the contemporary characters, reinforced by our own personal knowledge and experience and the gravitasafforded by column inches, art criticism and saleroom prices. In Barba’s work we canread the growth of celebrity currency, commentary on recent history and also his ownpersonal reflections: like many historical artists, Barba’s work is also ultimately a giantautobiography. We see photographs of collectors or visitors gathered from trips to international art fairs, including images he has been asked to take by people viewing his own work; there are his motifs such as barcodes, imprinted on his characters; and the rainbows and flowers, his symbols of hope. Wry humour and ironic cross-references colour his visual commentary, as we are invited to navigate between images in the contemporary world, instantly recognisable art historical references and the ever-changing landscape of celebrity icons. When you stand in front of one of Barba’s enormous photographs you are literally in the space of the art as it spreads out before you, sometimes extending into the viewing space with flooring or sculptures spilling from the image.
Born in Spain and educated at the Escola Massana Centre d’Art, Barcelona, Barba has exhibited his work in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Canada. His work is held in major public collections and his private collections include, Jorge M. Pérez, Miami, Rick & Kathy Hilton, California and Wendy Fisher, London.
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