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Ouka Leele enters El Prado Museum with the technical support of Epson

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Ouka Leele - By Òscar Bosch,  Foto Ventas magazine, June 2007

The Friends of El Prado Museum Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary with an event that will surely unleash new passions in all of those who love visual arts. It is a matter of a collective exposition carried out by a dozen of Spanish artists pertaining to different styles, whose names are an indispensable part of the contemporaneous creation of our country.

The Digigraphs of Ouka Leele

With the titles “My body is my Territory, Do Not Come Near Me, Do Not Implore Me, I am Going to Fly” and “Lady-in-Waiting Freed, Weightless, upon Jumping from my Cage, my Cells Vibrate to the Rhythm of the Light” the two works of art of Ouka Leele have been carried out through digital treatment with the assistance of Andrés Amorós Mayoral.

The digital printing has been carried out with the Digigraph technique, from Epson, on an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 with 8-colour Ultra Chrome K3 inks and Epson Somerset Velvet paper of 255 g, 65 x 50 cm.

Printing: Andrés Amorós Mayoral. Photographs taken with the collaboration of: Luisa María Arias, dancer, and Paula Owens, makeup. In the second one, furthermore, Nacho Duato has collaborated in the design of the crinoline, and the National Company of Dance, in his cession.

The collection, edited the past month of March, was composed of twenty-four works of art whose printing had been carried out in workshops chosen by the artists. The techniques used are very varied: lithography, etching, photography, digital photography or serigraphy, among many others.

Commissioned by Francisco Calvo Serraller, the exposition puts the entire beauty of the discourse that art maintains during time and generations, especially the dialogue between the contemporaneous artists and their admired masters, in front of the eyes of the visitors. In this way, based on the particular vision of these artists, the public may accede to a modern meditation of art from the past and an illustrative re-interpretation of its works or arts, opening up the views towards new definitions and meanings, and rediscovering the present art in its entire extension. For all of them, El Prado Museum has converted itself into the principal motive of observation: the works of art, the artists or the public, whereby the contemporary works of art that make up this collection are reflected.

In what does your contribution of Twelve Artists in El Prado Museum consist?

It is based on the Meninas by Velázquez, and on the Judgement of Paris by Rubens. I have worked with a practically nude model, and it has been a stroke of luck to have been able to count on her, since she is an

excellent dancer with a command of physical expression, which has helped me very much to capture the beauty I was looking for.

Why did you choose the Digigraph technique?

Because a great printing quality is achieved, and furthermore, Epson provides me with an embossing stamp that certifies that I have followed all of the steps of quality and technique in order to guarantee quality and a long continuance. In this manner, the collectors and the museums receive a work of art that complies with all of the highest quality technique requisites. I already take charge of the artistic part of it.

What expressive possibilities would you emphasise about this technique?

In this case I have achieved for what I saw on the screen to be the same that could be seen on paper, due to which the spectator has a true and exact view of my artistic expression. I am also pleased about the paper quality, since I have always dreamed of seeing my photos on paper with an artistic quality of a matt and velvety appearance.

There is something that is much fun. It is the fact that you can put a Digigraph in water and nothing happens to it.

What role has Epson played in this project?

Epson’s personnel are an enchanting team, always willing to help and to investigate. Thanks to them I could believe that my work could be exposed through digital means, of which I was very doubtful. José María Mellado was the first person who showed me digitally printed photographs in an amazing quality, so I let myself be led by his insistence about making tests with my work. This is how everything began.

How have you been able to live the experience of participating in this project?

I never imagined that the best dream of my young years could come true. I have seen my work in the same temple where the works of the greatest masters are stored and, above all, I have been able to create my scenography with the works of Velázquez or Rubens, forming part of them.

The Twelve artists exhibtion takes place at The National El Prado Museum, Villanueva Building, halls 51-A and 51-B. It will run from the 10th May until the 15th July 2007.