Argentinian artist Valentina Liernur creates large-scale paintings of women with vivid, heady colour palettes. Using layers of oil paint, Sharpie, denim, and gaberdine, her works are inspired by fashion advertising, media portrayals of women, and the distinct culture of Buenos Aires.Read More
Liernur was born in 1979 in Buenos Aires. She studied Drama Writing and Visual Arts in Buenos Aires, before attending the Städelschule in Frankfurt. From 2018–2019, she served as Professor of Analysis of Artistic Production at the Torcquato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires.
While Liernur works with both abstract and figurative painting, she is most known for her voyeuristic portraits of women in everyday scenarios. The painting Cortado (2019), for example, pictures a lone woman sitting at a café table with a coffee mug. Wearing sunglasses, she looks away from the viewer with her arms crossed. Similarly, Estación Bulnes (2019) shows a bored-looking woman waiting for a train. Like much of Liernur's work, both paintings are nearly monochromatic. Rendered in a vivid yet limited colour palette, they are painted only in blood-like tones of red, black, and purple. The resulting mood is at once hellish, dramatic, and illicit. Underscoring this sensual mood, Liernur's 2019 exhibition Scarlata at Ruth Benzacar Art Gallery in Buenos Aires presented her paintings alongside leather couches in the gallery space.
Liernur often paints from photographs, drawing both on found images and her own snapshots taken around Buenos Aires. Occasionally, she uses herself as a model, as in Selfie con Carrito (Selfie with Stroller) (2019), which shows the artist taking a photo of herself and a young, faceless child in what appears to be an elevator mirror. The work speaks to the familiar temptation of reflective surfaces in an age of the camera phone, and the subsequent compulsion to make records of mundane moments.
Another important source of inspiration is the Argentinian comic series 'Valentina' (1965–1996). The comic's heroine—after whom Liernur was named—is a hyper-sexualised time-travelling photographer, and a pertinent subject for Liernur to explore the often reductive depictions of women in popular media.
In her 2021 solo show Juro Que at Simon Lee Gallery in Hong Kong, Liernur once again exhibits paintings of women rendered in vivid red tones, juxtaposed with leather couches in the gallery space. A notable departure from Liernur's characteristic red palette is Romana (2021), a picture of a shy-looking child adorned with hair clips, and rendered in grey, blue, and green.
Liernur has been exhibiting her work since 2003. Her solo exhibitions include Sumisión, Reena Saplings Fine Art, New York (2016); and ahhhhhhh, Campoli Presti, Paris (2015). She has also participated in group shows including Call Giovanni, Revolver Gallery, Lima (2019); The Vitalist Economy of Painting, Galerie Neu, Berlin (2018); Portadores de Sentido, Arte Contemporáneo en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico (2018); Theft is Vision, LUMA Westbau, Zurich (2017); and En el ejercicio de las cosas: Donde nunca estoy, donde nunca fui, Centro Cultural Casa de Vacas, Madrid, Spain (2017).
Elliat Albrecht | Ocula | 2021