2003 – the year of Ovid by José Antonio Suárez Londoño

I have just visited the Colombian artist José Antonio Suárez Londoño’s brilliant, bright and colourful retrospective exhibition Muestrario (‘Samples’) at La Casa Encendida in Madrid. Here is the catalogue, with a substantial and representative selection of Londoño’s intricate and surreal sketches throughout his career:


Since 1997, Londoño has kept drawing notebooks based on reading a particular book or author during that year. Authors have included Franz Kafka, Rainer Maria Rilke, W. G. Sebald, Blaise Cendrars, Patti Smith and Brian Eno. Back in 2003, it was our own Ovid who had his year in the limelight, with his masterpiece the Metamorphosis (sic). You can see how his tales generate weird and wonderful drawings by flipping to pages 64-67 of the beautiful book produced for the 2012 exhibition of Londoño’s work at The Drawing Center, New York, below:


If you look at page 62, you can even see how Londoño annotates Ovid’s Book 11 account of Peleus and Thetis to pave the way for his diary of remarkable drawings (from underlined words like ‘snares’ to the notes of his daily activities in the margins). Although I guess we have Kafka’s English translators to blame for the fact that Londoño and his exegetes refer to Ovid’s Metamorphosis, right?

For more (in Spanish) on Londoño’s current exhibition in Madrid, go here.

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