Long ago Nazario Luque (Castilleja del Campo, Seville, 1944) adores the ceramics of the Cartuja, of which he has a collection of half a thousand pieces. Chance has wanted his new retrospective show, simply titled Nazario, is displayed in the same place where they were manufactured: in the Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art (CAAC), where it will remain open to the public until February 28, 2022. And he, of course, delighted: “The CAAC is the best place in Andalusia. My work would also be good at the Reina Sofía in Madrid or in some a good space in Barcelona, but here there is no other better than this one “.
Ocaña: seventy years of the transvestite painter who “went dressed in the sun”
His return to the south as a prodigal son is reflected in the exhibition, which begins and ends in Seville. The city from which he left at the age of 30 to seek his fortune in Barcelona, but which became one of the hallmarks of his work. “That Andalusian culture attracts me is something that can be seen in all my work. You see any drawing of mine and it has an Andalusian root, I’m not going to have it from Galicia!”, He jokes. “I can have something of Catalan, for all the time that I have been there, but there is something that is acquired in childhood and adolescence and always accompanies you. When I went to Barcelona, I already had my personality formed”.
The collection of two hundred pieces highlights that Nazario who would become a benchmark of the counterculture, especially with his irreverent and provocative comics, but it also tries to make known somewhat less publicized aspects, such as that of a painter. Not only does he not get in the way of being a cartoonist, but it also makes him very proud. “There are artists who despise the comic when they have dedicated themselves to design or painting, but it is not my case,” he asserts. “I had a great time making comics, I liked to write and these were a way of doing it. All my work has been a mixture of painting and writing, from the 70s to the 90s. Then I started doing watercolors, still lifes , still lifes, and it was quite an experience “.
Freedoms and setbacks
What the comic was also for him, as is evident by contemplating originals by Purita jierro panties or Ali Baba and the 40 fags, a space of freedom. “My work was always quite transgressive, I made my stories regardless of whether they were going to be published or not, because at the end of the Franco regime it was very difficult to publish what I did. But I did them because I felt like it and I had to do them, to denounce the repression that homosexuals and women suffered, “he recalls.
For this reason, Nazario has remained in the imaginary of the time as a gay myth along with colleagues who are equally transgressors such as Ocaña or Camilo. He, he assures, does not like to be pigeonholed next to these names. “I coincided with Ocaña, we went out, they put us in jail, we lived many adventures, we did the first gay demonstrations in the Ramblas … But I had my independent life, with my stories for El Víbora and El Rollo Enmascarado. Sometimes we went in the same car, but we were very different: he painted and I drew, he was uninhibited and I was shy, he didn’t drink and I was almost an alcoholic… “.
When he takes stock of the achievements and setbacks experienced so far in terms of freedoms, the author of Salome and Turandot He is critical: “How can I not be surprised with the steps back that we take, if they have closed my Facebook page six or seven times. I no longer dare to put a cock for fear that it will be closed again. the networks you can not pass the least, It’s a situation almost like Franco’s, when you had to go through a thing called prior censorship, or you exposed yourself to having a magazine kidnapped. Now they punish you with a week without being able to hang anything. ”
Is it important for the veteran artist to be in networks? “Although I am alive and looking good, I have an age not to publish many things. But it is always good to publicize what you do, as the integral of Anarcoma that I took a while ago, or the one that I am preparing with all my work in color, with the title New rare women“, he comments, to immediately return to another setback: the growing homophobia that is experienced in Spain, encouraged by a rarefied political climate.
He points out without reservation: “Vox has made people not ashamed of declaring themselves to be a façade, xenophobic or homophobic. They are proud to hit gays or mess with migrants. I don’t know how to solve this, with education? Yes. , but the outbreak of these people I think we should stop it in some way, because it is not acceptable that we have to go out into the street with fear “.
The truth is that Nazario, at 77, does not stop: he has published several installments of his memoirs, and had it not been for the pandemic, he would have held two more exhibitions in Seville, one with photos – his passion in recent years – and another with his collection of paintings of friends, from Ceesepe to Mariscal. Now he has been able to get rid of the thorn with the CAAC exhibition, which includes a selection from his collection of postcards … and of course, from his ceramics from the Cartuja.
“In 2008 I left painting, when the galleries I worked with closed due to the crisis. In addition, I had reached a degree of virtuosity that would have led me to repeat myself. So I began to write and take photos, and that is what I am now. I am pleased”.