France presents Juvenal Sanso’s exhibition

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Days of Black, and then Color: the Early Expressionist and Later Works of Juvenal Sanso. Reuben Canete, Sansó Pioneer of Expressionism, Galerie Joaquin catalogue, 2009

The Alliance Française de Manille and Fundacion Sanso, in cooperation with the Embassy of France to the Philippines, present an exhibition of the works of the renowned visual artist, Juvenal Sanso entitled The Triumph of the Spirit: a healing inspired by the coast of Brittany.

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The exhibition which opened on April 20 at the Alliance Française de Manille Total Gallery was led by Gilda Socorro Salita, Director of Fundacion Sanso, in the presence of H.E. Thierry Mathou, French Ambassador to the Philippines. This collaboration is a fitting tribute for this year’s commemoration of the 70th year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and France.

The exhibition Triumph of the Spirit is a meditation on several texts chosen in relation to Sanso’s early works, the post-war trauma that is the springboard for his creative process, and the timelessness of the message of hope, particularly in this time where recent attacks to Sanso’s beloved Paris have been made. In essence, this exhibit, which celebrates the spirit of the artist, is construed as an act of solidarity to the people of France, and is a celebration of the strength of the human spirit against adversity. This exhibit also celebrates the healing Sanso experienced inspired by the coast of Brittany.

Another component of this exhibit is his transition from his black period to his Brittany Series, which is an admiration of the coast of Brittany.

There will be five groups of artworks that will be exhibited, Artworks 1 are all for exhibition purpose only. Artworks 2 are prints from the Black Period which will be for sale. These will include the Black Series prints reprinted by Fundacion Sanso as special edition prints for the Sanso 70 Years in Art Retrospective, as well as a few acrylics on canvas works sourced by the Fundacion Sanso. Artworks 3 are en plein air paintings of the coasts of Brittany from the Fundacion Sanso Collection. These works are not for sale. Artworks 4 will be Brittany Series paintings supplied by Sanso’s official gallery, Galerie Joaquin, who will partner with Fundacion Sanso for the project. A series of photographs of the coast of Brittany taken by photographer Abby Frias will augment the exhibit to serve as a counterpoint to Sanso’s paintings.

The art of Sanso, a Spanish painter who has lived many years in the Philippines, is a vibrant one with an ample and grave poetic presence. This artist has lived all the tragic realities of human existence; but, through the magic of his love for art he has sublimated them to the point of being able to offer us, beyond all atrocities of war, dramatic events and desolations (these were his subject of meditation in his earlier works) a great harmony.

Though young, Sanso can be considered a master in modern pictorial creation; he has an accomplished craftsmanship, an inborn taste for beauty, balance, the lyrical lines and color. Even when his art finds its sources of inspiration in the simple realities of life in flower bouquets, landscapes, skies, he transcends them, overtakes them, and leads us to knowledge of veiled light, so beautifully divinated.

A multi-faceted artist, Sanso has through the years, painted oils, watercolor, acrylic and his favored ink and dry brush medium. He has produced fine etchings in a very dynamic, strong-lined style. He has also distinguished himself in textile design, print making and photography, as well as designed sets and costumes for several operas in France and in the Philippines. Sanso is one of the most innovative, respected and highly in demand artists today.

As a way of giving back to the art community in his adopted country, Juvenal Sanso has played a significant role in encouraging young Filipino artists to excel in their field. From 2008 to 2009, he served as artist in residence for the Art Interaction program of the Shell National Students Art Competition. In 2015, upon his guidance and with his generous support, the Fundacion Sanso (Sanso Museum) was established in San Juan City.

After 50 years of living in Paris, in 2008, Juvenal Sanso, although he maintains a studio in Spain and in Iran, decided to come home and establish permanent residence in his beloved Manila.

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