Julián Burgos's painting is consistent with his European training, particularly marked by his studies and life in France. The wonders of classical baroque painting inspired in him a desire to appropriate the techniques of the masters and to meddle with the formal language of great landscapes, mythical representations and the representation of the body. His immersion in baroque art is also characterized by the freedom to make iconoclastic use of diverse languages, analogous to Latin American baroque architecture, in which formal religious stylistic motifs were associated with tropical fauna and flora.
Julián Burgos makes elements of today's consumer culture surreptitiously emerge from the dramatic and theatrical compositions of the Baroque. The curator Eugenio Viola interprets it like this: “the artist's work is an example of meta-painting due to the way in which the medium participates in the politics of representation, in the techniques and in the strategies of significance of the painting itself.”
Returning to Colombia, after several decades of living in France, the artist reviewed his Latin roots to focus thematically on the field of painting from a renewed perspective. His pictorial series make reference to heroes and myths (including some Colombian heroes), idyllic landscapes, mythical or eighteenth-century social scenes of the utmost frivolity.
The arrangement of multiple figures is characteristic of his work, giving rise to manifestations of excess, movement and complexity. The figures occupy the entire pictorial space of the canvas, creating a tight composition where each element is tied to a classic relief.
His repertoire of visual references includes the popular imagination of comics, mass advertising, and figuration arising from the Internet, among other elements. From the baroque he incorporates color, movement and technique; From the digital era, he takes the idea of the loose stroke over the already created image, applying gestural forms reminiscent of the digital pencil, such as 'erasing,' where a line takes on the characteristics of thickness and rounding characteristic of computerized drawing. These actions, apparently destructive, belong to layers of information that arise from the dual activity of digital visual exercise and pictorial action.
The history of art, which interests him so much, also includes tools of the current era. Each painting is full of key elements. which are artistic references crossed in time: or pure pleasure and fun in the game of creation/destruction. During the pandemic he produced a pictorial series on Rubens' 'The Descent of the Cross', where one of the works was selected by the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá for publication in the newspaper El Tiempo, as representative of the Colombian artistic production created during the confinement.
In 'The Descent from the Cross with a Hot Dog Stand', a work from this same series, the composition contains dissimilar elements such as hot dogs, advertising logos and other elements that counteract the sobriety of death with the irreversible movement of contemporary society. . In his words, “It's art on top of art. There is nothing more baroque than the jungle, where on top of a tree another species of tree grows and on top of that a moss grows in which something else grows.”
Ana Patricia Gómez