During the exhibtion Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2018), various visitors asked museum personnel if there was, perhaps, some error regarding the birthdate of Luchita Hurtado: those immensely contemporary paintings couldn’t have been painted by an artist from 1920. Hurtado is almost 99 years old and, she says, she has lived many lives - she was married three times (the second and third matrimonies were, respectively, to artists Wolfgang Paalen and Lee Mullican), she has lived full-time in at least three countries (Venezuela, Mexico and the United States), she has traversed the fundamental artistic movements of the 1900s, from Surrealism to the Dynatom Group and Magic Realism, spending time with some of the art world’s greatest figures - Frida Kahlo, André Breton, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, just to name a few. And besides being a painter, she is a poet, activist, feminist and ecologist. She has actually exhibited her work rarely, especially given her 80-year career. Now, she has chosen London for her first personal exhibition in Europe. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery hosts the results of her journey traced between heaven and earth in brushstrokes, pencils, inks and pastels, joining, in her own special way, her senses and her soul. Pointing out the way, already as a child, was “the odour”, perceptible only by herself, of a butterfly leaving its cocoon - a magical event right in the middle of reality itself. The exhibition features both old and new works which narrate her lengthy exploration, varied yet coherent, which arrives right up to recent months. Her intense painting is influenced by cultures both near and distant, from pre-Colombian totems to abstract art, in order to see the world with new eyes and gather the resonance of the cosmos just within her reach.
Francesca Grego - © 2019 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London