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Opening Friday, June 17 at 7 p.m.

Robayera Room – Cudón – Cantabria

The artist José Luis Serzo is the protagonist of the first solo exhibition of the season in the Sala Robayera, which is entitled “The temptations of Courbet” and opens on Friday, June 17, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at its usual headquarters, in the old schools of Cudón (Cantabria). With the support of the City Council of Miengo and the Ministry of Universities, Equality, Culture and Sport of the Government of Cantabria, this monographic event includes a multidisciplinary selection of more than thirty works signed between 2017 and 2022, which form the backbone of the most recent production of the painter from La Mancha based in Cantabria.

In this exhibition Serzo uses the figure of the painter Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) – the greatest exponent of the realist movement of the nineteenth century – as an excuse to talk about his desires, fears, memories, dreams and impulses, proposing a break with “that Judeo-Christian tradition that insists that we fear almost everything”. The artist appeals to the collective unconscious that connects all human beings and that is often repressed in the depths of our being, recounting “that life that we do not dare to live or that we do not believe possible”, as Lidón Sancho Ribes explains in one of the texts that accompanies the catalog of the exhibition. In this way, guilt dialogues with pleasure and fear with an intense eroticism that merges with the unmistakable features of the Serzian universe: a very personal iconography, sublime scenarios and landscapes, masks, flowers, garlic and its characteristic crimson curtains, as well as a whole repertoire of references to some of the most dazzling episodes in the History of Art: from Renaissance and Baroque echoes to winks related to romantic, symbolist and surrealist aesthetics, but also to cinema and popular theater, also introducing a lucid and sensitive reflection on his own artistic practice.

inauguración robayera

The art critic Alfonso de la Torre, for his part, emphasizes that Serzo exercises painting as a “limit experience” where excess dwells, seeking the “mysticism of the irrational”, in an infinite conversation with Courbet and “a complex narrative that being someone else’s is his” (heteronimy has always been very present in his work). The artist also reveals the “essential artifice” of painting, resorting to theater, allegory, play and humor, which constitute some of the essential ingredients of his work to build “an accumulation of complex stories with different layers of meaning.”

Serzo’s work addresses narrative figuration through original staging where characters and objects jump from one plastic language to another, creating a fictional world that has its own mythology of characters as bizarre and eccentric as charming and a whole repertoire of gadgets with which the author touches the keys of our creative imagination, making us connect with our memory and our emotions.

Owner of his own discourse, independent and alien to the fashions of the mainstream, José Luis Serzo dares to play with the great concepts and restore them through an overflowing fantasy, hence the effectiveness of his proposal, which amazes and seduces us with the most beautiful risk that any fiction entails: let the images take over us.