Last Thursday, February 1st, we had the pleasure of receiving the great reception of the public at the opening of the exhibition "El Sueño de la Fantasía" by Romulo Royo and Luis Royo. Thanks to the European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM) of Barcelona and its director, Jose Enrique Gonzalez, visitors were able to enjoy this exhibition in its Espacio Princesa, in which are exhibited for the first time, not only some works that are part of the private collection of the artists, but also the first works that came to light in Tuscany Italy last November, which are part of their project still in process, Homage to Goya.

Just a few months ago, Romulo Royo, a renowned international artist who has revolutionized the figurative art of fantasy and Luis Royo, one of the greatest exponents of his time in the illustration of fantasy and science fiction, exhibited their work at the Palazzo Ducale di Lucca, the largest temple of fantasy organized by Lucca Comics & Games, the international fantasy fair that welcomes more attendees year after year, making it not only the oldest fair in its field, but also one of the most important fairs in the world. 

Today, lovers of art, fantasy and illustration, can enjoy for the first time in Spain their most recent work as well as works belonging to their personal collection that had never been exhibited before, even works that have just come out of their artist's studios.



El Aquelarre, Homage to Goya by Romulo Royo among the crowd of inauguration attendees.

Tocados de Niebla, by Luis Royo is a tribute to the Portrait of Maria Teresa de Borbón y Vallabriga by Francisco de Goya.



At the opening, the attendees were able to enjoy the words of Jose Enrique, as well as those of the artists, who spoke about the future of figurative art and the field of fantasy in which they are inscribed. Their main idea is clear: the public has been consuming figurative art for many years now, which in turn escapes from reality, in the manner of the old Romantics and Pre-Raphaelites, who triumphed with their works through which they traveled to distant pasts and worlds of literature and poetry, fantasy or oneiric. 

The acceptance among the public of this art "unreal realism", as Luis Royo has called it, has not corresponded during previous years with the vague look of the elites towards this movement, which has preferred to praise a more conceptual and abstract art, in the words of Romulo Royo. 

However, this is changing thanks to international artists such as Romulo Royo, Guillermo Lorca, Jia Aili, James Jean or Jonas Burgert in the field of painting or Luis Royo, Gerald Brom, Frank Frazetta or Yoann Lossel in the world of illustration, fantasy and realism that goes "beyond". For decades, cinema, illustration, novels and comics have had a massive acceptance and great influence on mass culture, so it is logical that today it is beginning not only to have a great acceptance by critics, but also is arousing interest among academics and universities.




Romulo Royo during the presentation of the exhibition. To his right, Luis Royo, artist and Jose Enrique Gonzalez, director of the Museum. Photo: Isolda Photography.



The exhibition, articulated in two spaces in the museum, filled all its rooms with curious looks to decipher the enigmas hidden in the works of the artists. From small pencils that reinterpret Goya's engravings, to large canvases that occupy entire walls, the artists' works speak for themselves, as they both consider art to be, for them, a means of communication that has to transmit by itself. That is why in their paintings they try to provoke and invite those who contemplate the work to awaken their own fantasies and dreams, invoking the subconscious, which they consider the engine of our mind.

Among the murmurs of the visitors, comments were heard about the dreamlike atmospheres of Romulo Royo's works and the almost tangible details of Luis Royo's work.

With parallel trajectories that intersect in various projects, both artists have decided to embark again together on the project Homage to Goya, which had a great admiration after its debut in the Italian Tuscany of Lucca, thanks to its exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale of the walled city, which organized the most important fantasy fair worldwide Lucca Comic & Games as a tribute to the artists.

"I don't want to say goodbye without first referring to the words of the master Francisco de Goya: Fantasy, isolated from reason, only produces impossible monsters. United with it, on the other hand, is the mother of art and the source of its desires" were the final words of Luis Royo in the presentation of the exhibition, with which he intended to frame all the ideas that surround it.



Through circles, Romulo Royo travels through time and cultures in his works DEMO-CRAZY, Time Erased the Kyogen Theatre and There's no Future.

Attendees were able to enjoy the debut of the artists' new series in Spain, following its great success in Italy.



One of the most outstanding works are El Aquelarre, Homage to Goya by Romulo Royo, a large oil painting in which we can contemplate the magnificent reinterpretation of the original painting by the master Francisco de Goya, this time from the particular gaze of Romulo, who invites us to enter into an apparently balanced and mysterious scene. As we look at elements of the painting, we see the witches in a mystical and controlling position in antagonism to Goya's witches with expressions of suffering. This circle formed by Romulo's witches, far from its derogatory connotation, represents something beyond. In the artist's words, "Witch formerly meant a wise woman with great mastery in relating to the world of nature. I wanted to convey that meaning by representing witches in harmony with the forest". In contrast to this ethereal scene of women, a powerful central figure, Baphonet, stands on a stone monolith. The artist does not let elements of Goya's painting disappear, such as the vine leaves symbolizing the bacchanal, and the night already entering, with that bluish-greenish light in the forest.

Tocados de Niebla, Homage to the portrait of Maria Teresa de Borbón y Vallabriga by Francisco de Goya, by Luis Royo shows three female figures in different planes, with the portrait of Maria Teresa in the center, as a reminder of that courtesan woman adapted to her social environment, while behind this worn canvas, another one appears, representing Goya's "maja" with all the carnal and experiential passions at the surface of her skin. The third woman who appears is that woman of the future, challenging and dominant of the apocalyptic scene so treated by the author.




Some of the works on display belong to the artists' private collections.



Visitors can also enjoy works belonging to previous stages of the artists as is the case of the trio DEMO-CRAZY, There's no future and Time Erased the Kyogen Theatre with that circular motif in the background and a post-apocalyptic aesthetic, usual in the work of Romulo Royo, whose work in general is inspired by various current and historical references, with post-apocalyptic mixtures and classical mythology, from a current look, which offers us delicate worlds in which women are the protagonists of the scene, and in which the duality of beauty and tension is shown, where they can appear with serene faces and closed eyes as if they were inviting us to decipher their inner selves. Other times we do not know if they are participants or victims of those energies that run between good or evil.

Also of note are iconic cover illustrations such as New Malefic 2004, Secret Reflections or Hordes of Lilith, by Luis Royo, belonging to different periods of his career. From works following his mythical Beauty and the Beast theme, to some belonging to his Prohibited trilogy and also works from his renowned Malefic series. Most of these works have been covers of books or covers of music of international circulation and almost all of them show us again that apocalyptic atmosphere so frequent in his work, that arid and threatening environment and his female figures dominating it with a challenging character.

Some pieces had not yet left the artist's studio, such as the piece Athenea fleeing from Athenea, by Luis Royo. All of them will be exhibited at the Espacio Princesa, of the Museu Europeu d'Art Modern (MEAM) in Barcelona (Carrer de la Barra de Ferro, 5, Ciutat Vella, 08003 Barcelona) from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm until March 31.



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El Aquelarre, Homage to Goya de Romulo Royo entre la multitud de asistentes de la inauguración.

Tocados de Niebla, de Luis Royo junto a sus reinterpretaciones de los grabados de Francisco de Goya.





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