On November 14th 2021 will be opening an exhibition of new works at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND (Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo). “Open Your Eyes” marks the artist’s third solo presentation in Japan following his 2018 show “Do Not Touch” (at the former gallery space of NANZUKA UNDERGROUND), and “No Art Here” held concurrently at the two venues of NANZUKA 2G and 3110NZ last year.
Calleja’s works are filled with a diverse array of twists and interventions that bring surprise and humor to various events within daily life. Expressing a fondness for the works of René Magritte, the Malaga-based artist references the techniques of the surrealist master in the context of contemporary portraiture, depicting the present-day sitters through his characteristic appropriation of the “BIG EYE.” The changes in color and shifts in scene, as well as the relationship between the facial expressions of his subjects and the texts that accompany them, are aspects that the artist particularly pays close attention to in his work. Furthermore, the overall softness of the setting as well as the play with composition are emphasised further in this body of work, alluring the viewer’s eye towards the narratives suggested by the aforementioned key elements of the work.
Continuously confronting life’s difficulties through his sharp-witted creativity and determined to perceive every aspect of life in a positive manner, the new works are becoming that much more relevant in the context of the ongoing global pandemic.
Open Your Eyes can indeed be interpreted as a warning against the current state of our world that is becoming more closed and exclusive, and at the same time it is a phrase that appears to present each one of us with the incentive to recognize our own dignity. Highly approachable and could be described as “friendly words of wisdom,” Calleja’s works are permeated with a strong and warm sense of energy that brings encouragement in these difficult times. As we engage with his work and the sheer magnitude of their all-embracing nature, the artist hopes that the viewer becomes aware of their true self.
The exhibition consists entirely of new works. Along with two large three-dimensional works presented inside and outside the gallery, a selection of paintings on canvas and drawings will also be showcased on this occasion. Open Your Eyes will run until 26th of December 2021.