Laberinto Gris presents our newest exhibition that explores Eastern culture through the fantasy world of artists Luis Royo & Romulo Royo with the contribution and collaboration of Ph. D. David Almazán and his provate collection of japanese Ukiyo-e prints.
Komorebi 永遠 is the japanese expression to refer to the sunlight streaming through the leaves.
Eterno 永遠 in spanish means everlasting, timeless.
And through paint, the artists make their characters and scenarios shine and last forever.
A haiku made with paint
The idea behind Komorebi Eterno is to bring up all the oriental tinted works artists Luis Royo and Romulo Royo have worked on together and also on their own, with very different and distinct styles that mix up in various book publications such as Dead Moon, Dead Moon Epilogue, Malefic Time 110 Katanas or Tokio 2038 and exhibitions and international art fairs such as Art Miami, Gige Beijing China, ARCO Madrid, etc.
Luis Royo, with such a taste for illustration gives all his oriental pieces his patent intriguing details while Romulo Royo works marvelously big canvasses filled with explosions of color and veiled tones.
The works both of them have made along the years show how well these two get along with the brush, and how beautifully they channel oriental cultures mixing them with their world of fantasy.
DEAD MOON EPILOGUE, LUIS ROYO 38,3 X 48,3 CM (15.07 X 19.01 IN)
LUNA Y LA SOMBRA, LUIS ROYO 50 X 70 CM (19.69 X 27.56 IN)
EL TROVADOR DEL INFRAMUNDO, LUIS ROYO 50,5 X 76 CM (21.85 X 29.92 IN)
The works that started it all
Luis Royo and Romulo Royo began the journey together of creating a fantasy world inspired in Asian culture, giving rise to a very fascinating love story between two lovers, Moon and Mars who can´t be together due to their rival families.
The works were created in three different studios located in Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza resulting in several pieces and two books: Dead Moon, an illustrated tale and Dead Moon Epilogue, explaining in depth the origins of the Dead Moon Universe.
YOUR SEXY BEAST, ROMULO ROYO 162 X 130 CM (63.76 X 51.18 IN)
Blooming side by side
Soon both artists would incorporate oriental aesthetics and culture into their solo series and projects resulting in a delightful mixture of plastics and influences.
The series Tomoe Gozen by Romulo Royo focus on the samurai warrior, or onna bugeisha, that fought during the Heian Period in Japan. Appearing in the Tale of the Heike, the female warrior inspired many poems, books, films, and also, Romulo´s works.
Your Sexy Beast also by Romulo Royo, not only features Asian pop culture but also exposes some of the influences the artist had as a child growing up such as Star Wars, Doraemon, comic culture, etc. making up a series alongside I Love Bam! and Born to Kill.
We also see these cultural influences in other works by the artist like DEMO-CRAZY or his series Flowers and Thorns.
TOKIO 2038, LUIS ROYO & ROMULO ROYO 162 X 130 CM (63.78 X 51.18 IN)
SOUM, LUIS ROYO 50 X 70 CM (19.69 X 27.56 IN)
Numerous pencils and colored sketches composed Dead Moon Epilogue, by Luis Royo. The oriental ambience once again floods the pages of the author´s book, transporting us to the land of Louyang.
The quick traces of graphite and the splashes of color make up copious sketches and drawings submerged into the Dead Moon Universe.
On a more erotic tone, The Green House and The Green House Shibari series, focuses on the Japanese style of bondage practices were the artist centers our attention on the anatomy and shape of the body in multiple hanging positions while tracing ancient Japanese illustrations also depicting shibari practices.
Oriental inspiration never really leaves the work of Royo as it keeps appearing even far from series, in other personal projects, headpieces, attire, poses and faces keep reminding us to the captivating and exotic Asian heritage.
110 paint strokes
Malefic Time 110 Katanas became the second instalment of the trilogy Malefic Time, that has gained popularity all over the world being published in several languages. Following Luz´s adventures through a post-apocalyptic and devastated Tokio in 2038, the book also led to publish a supplement for the role game of Malefic Time, Plenilunio, under the title Tokio 2038.
Both artists collaborated again in this publication with many more pictorial challenges in diverse formats and media.
It goes on and on
The taste for oriental culture gave both artists the impulse to make countless pieces in very diverse formats in paper and canvas and mixed media resulting in Laberinto Gris having a large archive of more than 200 creations to work with.
From large canvases to small artisanal papers, Luis Royo and Romulo Royo have worked with acrylic paint, ink, aerograph, graphite, watercolor, and of course oil paint, giving their special touch to each and every piece, providing them with bright, luscious colors.
Curator for Komorebi Eterno at Laberinto Gris
Neo-Japanism in the work of Luis and Romulo Royo
At the end of the 19th century, the term Japonisme came to be used to define the influence of Japanese culture in the West. Since the middle of this century and the opening of Japanese ports, Japan was rediscovered. The fascination for the Japanese became a fashion, but it was also one of the fundamental ingredients in the renewal of painting, illustration and other arts.
The push for the collection of Japanese art (especially ukiyo-e prints) gave impetus to the extensive and profound influence of Japonisme, marked by fantasy, colorism, the delicacy of the drawing and the exotic setting of heroic and gallant Japan: the Japan of the samurai and the geisha.
As we move into the twentieth century, a more complex and, in a certain way, elitist aesthetic arrived: that of the Zen world, which was first associated with informalist abstraction. Other references appeared; the extreme sobriety of stone gardens, the transcendence of the tea ceremony and refined concepts of simplicity such as wabi and sabi. But the appeal of the popular ukiyo-e prints was never entirely replaced by this black and white Japan. The Great Wave of master Katsushika Hokusai continued to permeate art around the world.
And from Pop and Neopop art, the influence of Japanese folk prints regained its vigor. The vertiginous economic development of Japan in recent decades and the success of Japanese industry (in technology, design, cinema, animation, manga, video games, etc.) explain the context of a new stage in which Japanese influence is produced in a more globalized world and in which the lines separating high and low culture have become blurred. Advertising, television, commercial products and, in short, mass culture show an intense tendency towards Japanese culture.
David Almazán Tomás
Ph. D. and Professor in Art History and Anthropology