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Música para un murciélago

Cristina Lama

313 Bowery, New York, NY
October 26, 2023 – December 3, 2023

Cristina Lama, Cohabitantes, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm
Cristina Lama, Ausentes, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm
Cristina Lama, Erba miseria, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm
Cristina Lama, Muestrario, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm
Cristina Lama, Sobre una tapia, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm
Cristina Lama, Araña de saco, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm
Cristina Lama, Craneo, 2023, Oil on linen, 16 x 13 in, 40.5 x 33 cm
Cristina Lama, Bochorno, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm
Cristina Lama, Mata de flores, 2023, Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in, 200 x 200 cm


Amanita and Villa Magdalena are pleased to announce Cristina Lama: Música para un murciélago, a presentation of paintings by Spanish artist Cristina Lama opening on October 26th, 2023, which marks the two galleries’ second collaboration together. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s most recent paintings, which evince her signature atmospheric compositions as well as some of her most iconic themes: aquelarres, deconstructed faces, fiestas, still life, and totemic subjects. Lama’s body of work has an underlying Baroque nature that pays homage to the cultural legacies of Andalusia, the region’s art historical past, and the exaggerated spirit of its everyday life.

At the heart of Lama’s attitude towards painting is an abstract sensibility that deals with narrative only loosely. Although figures appear, the representational value of her work is mostly subordinate to the material aspects of paint and the fluidity of language, which are the artist’s primary concerns. She relies on intuition more than anything else and insists that realistic imagery is only a pretext to her experimentation with different arrangements of line, form, and color, a constellation of elements within the picture plane that have equal significance. She compares her process to that of a composer; a successful picture depends on striking the right chords and creating a certain kind of harmony.

From an unstable ground, invented scenes and characters begin to emerge. Lama’s gestural backgrounds often shake and vibrate, reinforcing the illusionistic character of her oeuvre. Ruido, which translates to noise, is the term the artist uses to refer to this formal aspect. These uncertain environments are conducive to an array of mirages that materialize through different settings of color. Distinct temperature levels can be observed in the paintings on view, as is the case of Bochorno and Azotea, where indecipherable mise-en-scènes come to life amidst an aura of sultry weather. The varying tones of red are a loose interpretation of the sweltering sunsets of her native Andalusia, where for a large portion of the year the heat is suffocating. This part of Spain has a climate that is practically an extension of the Sahara desert, with meteorological phenomena like the calima; a haze that brings dust and sand from the dessert and turns the sky orange.

The crowded iconographies we see in Lama’s paintings take their form and inspiration from various sources: street life, folk tales, art history and popular religious festivals in Spain. In various pictures we see witches and bats rendered in a style that remind the viewer of cartoons or children’s illustrations of scary short stories. The works are a contemporary reimagining of Goya; specifically works like The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters and other examples from the series of etchings and aquatints, Los Caprichos. Cloaked figures evoke the traditional attire of Spanish priests during Holy Week in Seville and simultaneously channel Guston’s revolutionary late cartoon paintings. Moreover, Guston’s seemingly innocuous visual mediations on the injustices of American society can be compared to Lama’s innocent, childlike representation of subjects that are normally synonymous with death. Faces begin to melt and lose their contours, as they turn into scenes with multiple happenings that reinvent the excessive theatricality found in religious paintings all throughout churches in the south of Spain. Cristina Lama’s paintings are psychological spaces susceptible to all sorts of magical incidents. Anything counts, all sorts of beings are welcome, and all rules have been broken.

Text by Cy Schnabel

Cristina Lama (Seville, Spain, 1977) currently lives and works in Seville. Recent solo exhibitions include Vigilia, Galería Veta, Madrid (2022); Room with a View, Villa Magdalena, Donostia-San Sebastian (2021); Shelves and mirrors, Delimbo Gallery, Madrid, Spain (2019); Olhar da Criança, Cordeiros Galeria, Porto, Portugal (2018), Lagrimas de San Lorenzo, Costantini Art Gallery, Milan, Italy (2017); Surroundings, JM Gallery, Malaga, Spain (2016); Leonera, Cavecanem Gallery, Seville, Spain (2015); Que cómo dormirán los vecinos de este pueblo, Galería JM, Málaga, Spain (2012); Ángulo muerto, Galería Begoña Malone, Madrid, Spain (2011); Amarre, Christopher Cutts Gallery, Toronto, Canada (2006); and Fulanas y Menganas, Galería La Caja China, Seville, Spain (2006), among others.

Cristina Lama's work has been shown in national and international contemporary art centers such as the CAAC in Seville; the CAC Málaga; the MIAM in Sète, France; the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, Italy; as well as in galleries in Italy, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, USA, Mexico and Canada.