Jorge de León
Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City (FR11)
Jorge de Léon has dedicated himself to a long practice exploring urban life, and Guatemala’s political and social violence.
For Frame, Proyectos Ultravioleta presents new paintings and drawings by Jorge de Léon. These works produce a complex representation of daily life in Guatemala. Looking at images from the pulp press, de Léon’s newest body of small-scale painting represent a landscape marked by makeshift solutions, violence, chaos, and impending disaster. And yet, despite the salacious representation of these regular occurrences, the artist finds moments of humor and optimism. In an ongoing series of incisive ink drawings on paper, he uses personal reflection to question the troubled state of affairs in the world today.
Jorge de Léon comes from a family of artists, but was forced to live on the streets as an early teen, and soon joined the ranks of a local gang as a means of survival. It was in the gang where he learned to draw by tattooing himself and other members. Subsequently, after suffering several stab wounds that nearly cost him his life, de León signed up for art school in Guatemala City. There, he started to use art as a means to understand the social realities that enveloped him in his youth. Although not well-known outside Central America, more than twenty years later, he has a rich oeuvre that spans drawing, painting, video, sculpture, and performance.