Five questions to Sergio Lucena

Five questions to Sergio Lucena

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Sérgio Lucena was born in 1963 in João Pessoa, Brazil, and now lives and works in Sao Paulo. The versatile artist studied drawing and painting techniques with Flávio Tavares. The starting point of his pictorial work was the representation of invented and fantasized beings and the mysterious relationship between light and shadow.
How did you get into art?

Since I was a child I loved drawing, it was a natural thing, I never thought of it as art, in fact I had no idea what art could be. So drawing was part of my subjective world. In my early childhood I lived with my grandfather on his farm, in the interior of the Brazilian Northeast. Many years later, already living in João Pessoa, capital of my state, Paraíba, I met a painter, Flavio Tavares, who introduced me to the world of art. It was the first time I saw painting in my life, I was 17 years old. In his studio, looking at his work my eyes lit up, my heart felt warm and, simultaneously, I discovered art and discovered myself.

How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?

I'm primarily a figurative painter. But I don't think that figuration works as a representation of reality, in fact, I think reality is something more complex. Ultimately, reality is the correspondence between the outside world with what happens inside us. For me, art seeks the communion of both worlds. Therefore, my origin close to nature, the countryside culture, the people, their festivals, their mythologies, their spirituality composes the core of my work and it all is what makes it particular.

How do you go about developing your work?

I think that when it comes to art I don't do anything pre-conceived or in a practical or objective way. I try to experience things, observe how things act inside my body and my mind and I try to formalize this as painting. A landscape, the sea, a river, a mountain, a field, an animal, a person, feelings such as love, enchantment, doubt, all of this is poetic substance and material for my painting. Then I realize that I don't develop a work... it's actually the painting that builds me.

Who or what influences you? 

Nature is the permanent influence, light is my challenge and what drives me. So, from flamenco painting, through Turner, Monet to James Turrell or Anish Kapoor, all the artists who dealt with the light and mystery of nature are my influences.

What are you planning to do next?

It is with great joy that I announce my next solo exhibition curated by Claudinei Roberto Silva, at the Museu AfroBrasil Emanoel Araújo, in São Paulo, SP,  Brasil “Sergio Lucena - Na Raiz do Tempo a Matriz da Cor”. In this exhibition we will present a brief overview of my 40 years of painting, with an emphasis on my current work. Regarding the exhibition that opens in October 2023, the curator comments: “This project includes profane and sacred festivals, African-based religiosity, caboclo syncretism, architecture with a popular and northeastern bias, intersections, crossroads and the meetings. This synthesis, presented in the paintings, subtly suggests a narrative in which what we conventionally call “high art” and “popular art” coexist harmoniously and powerfully. The false dichotomy that opposes the “popular” to the “erudite” is eroded by Sergio Lucena's proposition, as the artist does not recognize the preponderance of one school over another.Instagram