Worlds of Exile
2023, Hutchinson Modern & Contemporary, New York.
Worlds of Exile was conceived in three groups of works and three genres: portrait and genre painting, landscape, and historical painting. Aja Espil looks to science fiction, art history, and the history of Argentina, as his main sources of inspiration. In doing so, he produces a narrative that recalls his memories of migrating to Spain. He worked on the series during that transitional time, a moment when he questioned his surroundings and place of belonging.
“The title of this project was inspired by a book I was reading, Planet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin. I worked the entire series while I was moving from Argentina to Spain. The paintings thereof are very much inscribed in the context of discovering new territories, between worlds and exiles.”
“There's something about the illusion in painting that made it feel more real to have the characters on a stage. It is probably the same stage that the curtains open and close onto. The whole thing is about layering, that's the way I work. I like to spend a lot of time painting and looking at the painting, and in spending time in front of it, I come up with these ideas of adding different elements. This overlapping of reference creates the overall narrative. The stage is another layer and most of the objects that surround the characters, all of which come from memories, are as well.” Read the full Artist in Conversation, with Karen Grimson +
“For a very long time I was fascinated by satellite images. I find them to be pretty close to abstraction because they represent something that we never see but nevertheless we can recognize what it is, what it represents. I started painting satellite views of Argentina thinking of it as the ultimate landscape, an extension of this traditional genre rendered possible through our current technological artifacts.
The pandemic sort of opened my eyes to the landscape and my surroundings. Landscapes to me are the most interesting and challenging thing to paint, because they are about recognizing the world around us, taking a point of view towards nature and interpret that nature in one way or another. In that sense, I like the contrast between a space landscape and a terrestrial one.”