Photo report from the exhibition in Retroavangarda Gallery in Warsaw
Alvaro Sánchez (born 1975), lives and works in the capital city of Guatemala. He specializes in collages, work as a graphic designer and writes articles about music, both for printed and digital media. He is a fan of heavy music and good wine. His artistic temperament shows in his expressive artpieces.
The main subject of his collages is always a human. Sánchez says that his collages are a personal vision of the fragility of human life. Thus his pieces are often full of themes such as Riders of the Apocalypse, skulls and skeletons – symbols of death used in many black metal CD covers. In his collages, Sánchez often shows x-rays, intestines, as if he wanted to break into a person’s insides, see their soul. Collages of Alvaro Sánchez are poetic at core, they are like a tale about the passing of life.
In his compositions, the artist uses vintage-styled pictures, advertisements, anatomical drawings and religious iconography. With amazing dexterity and freedom he juxtaposes various materials: retro photographs, pictures from old atlases, wallpapers, maps, post stamps, pieces of packages and newspaper clips. He mixes all of this with his own drawings done in pencil, pen, ink or crayons. Despite the multitude of tools and media used in these collages, they seem very fresh and spontaneous, yet under the seemingly light and humorous surface they hide a deeper reflection on human existence.
The color palette used by the artist is based on black and white, vintage photos or pictures. The gray skeletons and skulls are often accompanied by bright spots, most often orange or red, acting as accents. They appear like flames, are aggressive and eye-catching. Most of Sánchezes pieces are inspired by literature, music and film, he also draws ideas from his birthplace – the contemporary city of Guatemala and its streets. Apart from visible influences of medieval Dance Macabre motifs, Punk and Dada aesthetic is also an important inspiration for Sánchez. Dadaism, as a worldview and art movement of avant-garde of the 1920s, became famous for its collages. Artists such as Kurt Schwitters or Hannah Hoch had a big influence on Sánchez; The same was true of the punk anarchistic movement of 70s, with its artzines, t-shirts and concert posters, where collage aesthetic perfectly expressed the zeitgeist and rebellion of young people. The same type of expression is present in every piece created by Sánchez.
In the artist’s work, one can distinguish series of pieces that were created in slightly different styles. These series were dependent on the mood and time at which they were created, they also have different sources of inspiration. For example the 2020s artworks are colorful and painting-like. They hold visible inspiration with expressive abstract art and artists such as Cy Twombly or Jean Michael Basquiat. In turn, the older pieces from 2016/17 are more raw, more graphic and include many black and white illustrations joined together with expressive drawings executed in pencil or pen.
Artworks of Alvaro Sánchez were published around the world in magazines about art and graphic design. He has established his own, unique style, in which he executes also commercial work: book covers, posters, press illustrations. He manages to join commercial activity with purely artistic creation. He works in various formats, and his final pieces are always perfectly executed and framed. Collages by Alvaro Sánchez have been exhibited in countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Spain, USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ukraine, Sweden, Norway, Greece and Guatemala, as well as at the three International Collage Art exhibitions in Retroavangarda Gallery in Warsaw.
Alvaro Sánchez’s solo exhibition will be held from April 22nd to June 15th at Retroavangarda Gallery in Warsaw.
text by Anna Kłos
translation by Karolina Kłos