Argentine visual artist, Ernesto Morales began exhibiting his work at 18. His raw talent alone sailed him from Spain to France, Germany and Rome, where he subsequently lived for four years, thriving as a professional artist. In 2010, Morales earned the rare privilege of holding two major retrospective exhibitions at the Buenos Aires Museum of Contemporary Art and Scuderia di Palazzo Santa Croce, Rome, respectively. The success of these showcases helped materialize another large-scale solo exhibition in Genoa, Italy in 2011. Morales has since moved to Turin where he lives and paints in his private studio. His work is passionate and poetic; his stoic landscapes energized with gestural brushstrokes that oftentimes enshroud mystical species that are symbolic to the artist.
Inspite of the grasp of the English language, Eliteror managed to get Ernesto to air his thoughts, on his first exhibition in Asia.
What are you most looking forward to in regards to your first Asian exhibition, ‘The Invisible Bridges’?
I am very curious to observe how the public reacts to my work come Opening Night. Since I began as an artist—some 20 years ago—my paintings have only been seen by a South American or European audience.
This will be the first time my paintings have the opportunity to engage in conversation with an Asian audience. I know there are many differences in culture—perhaps even taste—so I am eager to see how my paintings will be perceived.
It is very important for me to create a bridge between Oriental and Western culture; now that I have this opportunity, I want to eavesdrop on the dialogue between the people and my paintings.
What do you consider to be the most career-changing moments of your professional life?
I have been creating art since I was only 8, since then there have been several momentous events. Off the top of my head: my first exhibition. I was only 18, studying Fine Arts in Argentina. I won the top prize in a national art competition [involving hundreds of young participants]; the prize was a chance to exhibit in the Contemporary Art Museum of Bueno Aires. It was needed [validation].
The second: when I held an exhibition in the Contemporary Art Museum of San Paolo in 2002.
Upon moving to Europe in 2006, I had the chance to exhibit in Spain, France and Italy, in art galleries and contemporary art museums alike. Probably the most career-changing one took place in 2009: a retrospective exhibition in one of the most prestigious contemporary art museums in Rome. This was the first show that honored my long career, showcasing my early paintings from the beginning of my career to my [then]most recent works. It was a great honor.
What is your most important artist tool?
My colors and my brushes.
Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Music! The first thing I do when I enter my studio—before I begin painting or even mixing my colors—is I switch on the music. I paint listening to different [genres of]music—Jazz, Classical, Tango—and it helps to set the mood. That said, reading, too. I cannot begin my day without first feeding my mind with anything from a short story to a poem. Sometimes I even read the [philosophical musings]of great thinkers, just to give me something to think about throughout the rest of my day.
What qualities do you look for in people you collaborate with – or in other artists?
For me, it’s very, very important that the people I collaborate with are professional, efficient and, most importantly, sincere. They have to respect me as an artist and respect my work. Each [of my paintings]is the product of months of sweat and thought, beginning with the creation of my paint. So they cannot treat the finished piece like just a commercial product. They have to be as passionate about my work as I am, and if possible, seek to involve themselves in my creative process.
[Other artists:] To me, from my experience teaching young artists [at a Fine Arts Academy in Argentina], a “good” artist must possess the perfect blend of technique and imagination; one must not compromise the other.
Which is more important: creativity or efficiency?
Both are very important, but at different stages in the process. For example, creativity is very important when I am painting, of course. After, when the painting is complete, efficiency becomes very important; I need to actively promote my work and seek further opportunities with museums and galleries to continue supporting myself and what I’m passionate about even if I have so little control over how successful my works eventually are.
Can you describe how you approach bringing the elements to life – how do you know when a painting is finished?
It takes several months to complete a single painting. I make my own paints from scratch, extracting pigments from plants that I collect on my travels and nature walks. The grinding of the pigments and oils, alone, is time-consuming. [When I begin painting…] I can start with a red base, applying it on my canvas before I add more layers of color – the final piece may end up green, or blue.
After about 4 months, I feel like ‘alright, I am satisfied. It is finished’, but after some weeks, I find myself revisiting the piece and adding more details.
For me, painting is a very intense, very intimate relationship between me and my work; [so ultimately,]it is the painting who tells me when ‘she’ is finished.
I can only stop refining her when she tells me to stop: ‘I am finished’.
Sabiana Paoli Art Gallery is the proud product of decades of experience from owner and director, Sabiana Paoli, who has worked as curator for some of the most esteemed art galleries across the globe. The gallery is home to select artworks from various established artists from around the world; namely Italy, Russia, Poland, China and Singapore. Cultural fusion is paramount to Ms Paoli who seeks to function as a bridge between Europe and Asia. In the intimate space of her gallery, she’s held regular exhibitions that warmly welcome art-enthusiasts and the self-professed “art illiterate” alike, actively promoting the dynamic exchange of ideas between artists and guests.