Criticism

Antonio Romoleroux: the heartbeat of opposites
Sonia Kraemer, Ph.D.
Quito, 2024

Antonio Romoleroux (Quito, 1968) has forged a heterogeneous and multifaceted career that places him as one of the most prominent artists on the Ecuadorian scene and, at the same time, has managed to leave a mark on the international scene. His work is distinguished by its constant search for technical innovation and exploration of complex issues, as well as by its commitment to the ecosystem, resilience and human rights.

A nomad of aesthetics, he is recognized for his ability to move through and through various stylistic currents, from abstraction to photorealism, creating an artistic corpus that transcends conventional categories and reflects his concern to understand the multiple aspects of the human and the universe that surrounds us. In thematic terms, Romoleroux has explored a wide territory that ranges from the darkness of human helplessness and torment to the interpretation of nature and the ancestral collective identity of myth.

Particularly noteworthy is his connection with the spiritual world of the Amazon, where symbols and signs are intertwined with animal spirits and nature: abbreviated forms are suggested to discover the jaguar, the anaconda, the butterfly, the snake or the frog. Through his work, Romoleroux seeks to reconnect with that world lost in oblivion to understand the Amazonian semiotic ecosystem, a leitmotiv that reflects his paroxysm for the jungle and its mysteries. From the dreamlike journeys of the shaman and the coexistence of fauna in the cosmic order, the human being can reintegrate himself, where the linear and measurable world of the West breaks down to enter into otherness.

Amazonian philosophy is based on the interrelation of the whole, where the individual is part of a network of natural and universal relationships. A principle of correspondence between the macrosomic and the microcosmic is recognized. The gods are immanent, they live among us, and life is understood as the flow of energy that manifests itself through complementary opposites. Knowledge is a collective wisdom transmitted orally and through rituals, such as ayahuasca or yagé, and is the result of a transsensitive experience. The central concept reflects a deep and experiential understanding of nature that prefigures ideas about space-time similar to the conceptual understanding of quantum physics.

Contrary to the postmodern tendency that the artist must become a philosopher or a mere producer of the concept of the work without getting involved in the artisanal process of the same, Romoleroux walks against the current when he works from the origin of the materials, knowing the basic and original process of the same. For example, his development of the technique of handmade paper with abaca fibers (Musa textiles) as a base for inserting the etching on copper is a political statement, more than a matter of taste or material choice. Opposites coexist: paper and metal, hard and soft, city and jungle, fragility and hardness.

Antonio Romoleroux has a profuse artistic practice in his long career, which is evident in his hundreds of individual and collective exhibitions. He has won numerous awards for his artistic and human quality and has also developed curatorships and conferences. Today I could say that he is a paradigm in the path of creation to discover and develop permanently without giving in to passing fashions, incessantly seeking his own and authentic language. The challenge of this artist is to build a trench of resistance against globalization and the irremediable massification of culture, and he has developed his vocation in the dedication to transcend the limitations of any kind in its most stereotypical forms, such as machismo or nationalism.

Art attempts to provide answers, it represents the artist’s Self as well as the Non-Self, that is, the Universe that surrounds him, and it is precisely the work of art that possesses a cathartic force and the link that connects the artist with the other: the spectator. Antonio Romoleroux has that rare ability to approach the threshold where the truth plays at hiding and through his perception he helps us to get closer to the essence of everything. Art thus becomes a way through which human beings can delve into the origin of all things, revealing the underlying truth as a path to self-knowledge.

Exhibition “The message of the models to humanity” Kunstraum artescena
Nuria Silvestre
Leipzig, Germany
November 19, 2021

I know that we are transgressing international and physical borders. I am happy to be able to share these brief, but intense moments, with you and above all enjoy the Artist’s creations that I hope will reach many, wherever it may be.
As a politician and activist in favor of human rights and nature, I celebrate being able to enjoy art as a means to create social awareness. Through it you are sensitized, your soul is touched, you are moved and you reflect and delve into other spheres. Perhaps at first unimaginable for the observer, but surely very important, especially on this topic.
“What is your message to humanity?” What a transcendental question, so intimate and personal. You, Mr. Romoleroux, show us a great variety of bodies that become inevitably beautiful. The impulses of the models through their words, their smiles, unlikely postures, their handwriting, their looks, make us reflect on the magnitude of existence, of humanity.
I would highlight the relationship that I sense between author and protagonists. What and how much has been the connection between artist and models, the “good treatment”, the respect, providing a safe space, to achieve this openness? First of all, towards themselves, towards their own desires and their own will, in my opinion, in a profoundly free way. Extraordinary self-acceptance, which demonstrates in a radically new way, the self-love and control they have of their lives, without shame and with great courage. What wonderful messages. All. Examples? The image of Luna with menstruation, breaking taboos and stigmas. The powerful Judith with her fist raised. That nameless face, a half smile, a heartbreaking story of overcoming, of resilience. Demonstrating the survival capacity of women and how necessary it is to give voice to these experiences, thus overcoming taboos and fears, calling for solidarity.
Because bell hooks said, “being oppressed means the absence of options.” That is why these images of freedom are immensely empowering, they give strength and hope. Hope for change towards the end of patriarchy, towards the end of the oppression that we experience at all levels.
Today more than ever we breathe the air of change. Feminist movements are drivers of social changes, of important legal, educational, and artistic changes in this case. All fair and necessary. Can you now imagine our world without the feminist movement?
“Not one less”? Did those Argentine women imagine in 2015 the magnitude of the expansion of their energy? Its strength has reached millions of women around the planet. In Leipzig we have supported the movement by demonstrating, there have been audiovisual and photographic representations, etc. Other global movements such as “Fridays for Future” are beginning to be interdisciplinary, involving the gender perspective, racism, discrimination… it is very necessary for this to be the case.
Martin Luther King said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable web of reciprocity, bound in a single garment of destiny. What affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
That is why it is so important that we cooperate, that we are supportive, that we seek that understanding of the strange and unknown, through respect and understanding that it is a process, in many cases “for life.”
It’s been more than a decade since I arrived in this city, thanks to a joint publication we met Helena. We spoke in German and tried to work on our “migratory grief” in a group of special women. Looking back, I realize the support network that we sought from the beginning, the importance of positive examples, the resources that we add as a female community in the diaspora, and of course, the strength that unity and representation provide.
I can only thank you, Mr. Romoleroux, for the visibility that you have given to the female perspective in his work. I wish you much success and admirers who share this feminist spirit, which desires nothing more than equality and social justice.

Exhibition The message of the models to humanity
Kunstraum artescena, Leipzig, Germany, November 2021
Helena García Moreno

On this occasion it is a pleasure for Kunstraum artescena to present the exhibition: “The message of the Models to Humanity”. A proposal in which the woman’s body leaves the scope of an aesthetic object, to give way to its own language, approached from the intrinsic feminine point of view. That separation that has occurred to the female body as a visual objective in the plastic arts throughout history, now unites with the essence of the model’s voice and personality. In such a way that the female figures masterfully drawn by the artist begin to narrate their interiority and tell us who they are. There is no doubt that it is a testimony and invitation to reflect on the view from within. This is only possible due to the sensitivity of its creator, who has questioned the traditional way of conceiving the female figure in the artistic world. And now he creates a new realm, building a bridge between the model and the viewer. But first, the artist has allowed himself to understand the feminine, making the model express her internal reality. Now it is she who speaks in her work; who stops being a ventriloquist of the whims of the other; who stops meeting her idealized needs – both in the purely aesthetic sphere and in the virtuous sphere that society demands of her -. It is she who stops being a puppet and desire. It is she who stops being “the one she talks about.” This time, she takes over her own voice. In such a way that the artist does not have a mere aesthetic expression of the female body, but goes beyond it. She surprises the public with the reality of a feminine world that the cultural and social world is not accustomed to seeing. It is in this way that we go from being external spectators to internal spectators. And it is perhaps for this reason that the exhibition could cause us some discomfort when we leave the usual gaze and face the real woman. With this, the exhibition undoubtedly confronts us, it stirs our interiority rooted in prejudices or beliefs about the feminine. A concept that, being daily reduced to a body, in this exhibition displays its essence and true weight. Because in this exhibition, the models are no longer a packaging. They stop being an article, an ornament. They stop being a model, a multipurpose thing after the artistic session. For this reason, there is a paradigm shift, an abysmal difference between the creator of past centuries and the contemporary creator, who stands in solidarity and is committed to the recovery of human dignity for all. In this way, as viewers, we can empathize, only if we allow ourselves to cross the limit of prejudices. Understand from the inside; by perceiving the dimension of those who are the owners of those female bodies to whom we owe respect. Without a doubt, these are bodies empowered through their stories. Those stories that are a product of the reality that has tanned and strengthened them as human beings. Those bodies far from the usual models of idealization, both aesthetically and morally. Away from the inhuman and exploitative objectification of pornography. System of pornography, which strengthens the tortuous twists and turns in the mind of the repressed or misogynist proselyte, or the abusive voyeur; misunderstanding of human sexuality and paraphilia, as symptoms of a sick world. In that sense, the public encounters a language of expression that leaves preconceived contexts, thus making the exhibition “The Models’ Message to Humanity” an opportunity to glimpse the wisdom and complexity of what it means to be a woman; his real existence and not idealized or restrained by the corset of what society has imposed on him through centuries. Their languages and stories give the public the opportunity to get closer to the feminine and its human understanding. In order to perhaps, with this, heal or begin to heal this twisted and unjust history that humanity has carried on the shoulders of women.

Exhibition Materialization of the spirit
House of Ecuadorian Culture, 2020
Camilo Restrepo

From the essence of the life memories of the Amazonian peoples we get this magnificent sample: materialization of the spirit, the work presents a semiotic study and interpretation in which the spirit of the sacred becomes visible through the sign, which is materialized in The stylization of the pictorial work is that the soul of the material elements is stripped of its structure to be shown in the cosmic universe of form, texture, line and color, which only the capacity of the resources of art and mind, analyzed from the artist’s subconscious, can transform the dimensions of the ethereal and invisible body of nature, into magnificent pictorial creations. The hidden beauty of nature constitutes the core of that enigma, of that mystery of the spiritual; Each work is an oracle that leads us to a deep look to find the aesthetic truth of the harmonious richness of art. It is admirable the way in which the artist allows us to have that immediate connection to travel through the codes of sublime truth, contained in each sacred element that makes up the universe that surrounds us. Looking at the work of Antonio Romoleroux made with various techniques of drawing, painting, engraving and sculpture, with creative and innovative procedures in which he mainly uses handmade paper and metal, is to stop in time to analyze the envelopes of the tangible body, his proposal It speaks through the sign and the symbol that leads to the interaction between the static and the moldable, which stores the life and existence of that vital seal that engenders the beauty of earthly representations that are the harmony of the senses, the body and the spirit, these conscious and subconscious we see intertwined in the organic and inorganic materials that weave the form of life of each work of art with abstract, figurative and neo-figurative expressions of faces transformed by the diversity of emotions that float in dimensional spaces of each body, thus Romoleroux leads us to reflect from the depth of consciousness and find this inner being, his work also leads us to reflect on the equity of human rights, through the representation of women as a model in the teaching of knowledge of what constitutes artistic creation, although from the first expressions of art we find the female representation not as an object of study, but as an essential, essential being, of life, of beauty, sublime and that with modernity and in The contemporary world, a society blind to human values, considers only anatomical objects of study. In this artistic proposal, which uses drawing, it represents women as a model spokesperson for their rights to lead us to introspection in the search for social balance.

Anthology exhibition 1987-2018, PUCE Cultural Center 2018
Hernán Pacurucu C.
Art critic and curator
ANTONIO ROMOLEROUX
The complexity of an artist

“The complexity of thought, as well as the reconstruction of reality by the knowing subject, necessarily leads us to transdisciplinarity as a research method and as an epistemology of research and knowledge, which helps us penetrate into the knowledge of life, existence, knowledge, human development, education and the disciplines in which scientific knowledge has been compartmentalized. In the increasingly complex society, its antagonisms, disorders and conflicts necessarily entail a bond of spontaneous and voluntary fraternity. There is no other guarantee against the fragility of complexity than the permanent self-regeneration of complexity itself. That is to say, if we want to be free, we have to bear the risks of freedom.”
José Manuel Juárez/ Sonia Comboni Salinas
“when we talk about complexity «… It is about facing the difficulty of thinking and living»”.
Edgar Morin
What has not been said about his work
It seems that everything has been said from a critical perspective about the work of Antonio Romoleroux; However, it also seems that the most obvious thing has been ignored, that holistic approach that allows the artist to navigate between dissimilar waters without his epistemic project shipwrecking in said attempt.
The plurality with which in principle his work would be caressed does not obey the world of variety, rather it obeys the intricate “complex essence” in which the artist formulates his aesthetic project.
Some time ago, the young Romoleroux, a prodigy artist – one of those that the famous art critic Arthur Danto says is no longer in the making – and who at 26 years old already managed to obtain the “Mariano Aguilera” First Prize for Painting; and already having multiple awards at his young age, he created a devastating need to seek new directions once success consolidated him in his most admired formats, such as those of the series My essence in your senses that precedes the Award, and which consolidates him as a renowned artist, works such as Sacred Tree (1995), Natem (1994), Own Dreams (1995), Don’t Give Up (1996), Use of Magic 81995), Mango (1999), Fértil (1999 ), Liquid (1999), Today (1999), Curare (2000), EN (2000), Wet Forest (2005), Fourth Path (2005), You are sacred (2005), Bioindicators (2006), Antonia (2006) , His soul lives in the light (2006), among others and which culminates in the great pictorial sculpture My essence in your senses, (2007) an installation that summarizes all the archeology of this series. They will remain in the historical memory and the sharp retina not only of a specialized critic, but they will keep fortune in the memory archives of an entire country.
This series whose conceptual core is fed by the fragility with which paper – created by hand – replaces that breakable nature while copper multiplies the strength of an overwhelming city; However, the paper (nature) maintains that onslaught of a city that corrodes it even when it cannot sustain itself without it: an excellent metaphor for life without life.
Resignification of the complex
The arbitrariness of the epidermal, courted by the unusual sense, would advocate for a perennial Romoleroux embedded in the masochistic self-satisfaction typical of the accumulation of awards, in what modernist criticism would consign as an author’s style, even more so the spirit of the artist rooted in the rebellious sense of it will never allow itself to precede itself, establishing the intent of a copy of the copy of the copy.
Quite the contrary, Antonio Romoleroux emerges as a dissonant figure in his own production, nourished by that holistic view that allows us to value the complexity of thought, to understand that his work is not possible only from a single view, but from understanding that tangled fabric that is intertwines and configures a whole diverse system of works, self-portraits, sketches, series, photographs confined with thoughts, criticisms, complaints, apogees, peaks and outcroppings of a future of the artist that allow us to know that Romoleroux is not just a technique, it is not only a style, nor is it a theme, but rather a set, sometimes neo-baroque, of that combination of all of this. In short, to understand the artist and his work, one must understand him in all the fullness of the complex, and the complex understood not as something complicated, difficult or tangled, but rather as that understanding of the world as an entity in which everything is interwoven, the complexus, that is, what is woven together.
And it is that: “what is woven together” gives the sense of individuality (individual = what cannot be divided) to the character in his own complex worldview, only in this way can we understand that both Systemic Identities – one of his earliest series – does not compete with Spiritual Amazonia, – a set of oil paintings, engravings and sculptures – or that the I consent is not a testimonial photographic whim that narrates the adversities they experienced, as well as the overcoming and how they became stronger from it.
emerges from the whim of the engraver-painter. Likewise, the message of the models to Humanity cannot be understood without understanding the systemic thinking that imagines the instability of nature itself in the reconstruction of our relationships with it, so the philosophical-cosmovisual configuration of the artist’s holistic thinking decants in a unique plastic proposal that reformulates the history of art in a kind of extensive range of dissimilar “understanding of the world” that has to do with the complexity of life and its relationship with this given world.
Aesthetic nomadism as contemporary behavior
So Antonio’s future is constituted by those comings and goings that quantify the complexity of his being, but define him as an insatiable contemporary who, like Gabriel Orozco, Koons or any contemporary visionary, does not allow his aesthetics to be pigeonholed into a product. , which can be taken to the infinite designs of marketing and of course the market.
In this sense, this escape becomes an efficient nomadism in that it rejects the narrowness of aesthetic methodologies and all the historical apparatus that attempts to measure the work of art, in its most inquisitive desire (art criticism and curatorship) to slip between the interstices of the style, beauty and technique to make us understand that we have a turbulent artist, impossible to be classified in any section in the box of history and that his object of study lasts a long time, understanding that today at fifty years old he does not exist. investigative methodology or instrument of witchcraft that allows us to know the processes of change that will anticipate their new ways of looking at art.
The portraits of him, a world apart
The author’s captivating log highlights the complex and isolated world of his portraits, such as Self-portrait (1988), Self-portrait egocentrism (1990), Self-portrait schizophrenia (1990), Self-portrait (2012), among others.
The same ones that testify in the freshest way to the satirical world in which the individual unfolds, once again giving the unavoidable clues and leaving in the thick forest that trail of crumbs that allows us to follow the psychological trail within that changing cosmos in which it seems that establishes his “world system” so unmistakably Romoleroux.

Anthological book: “Antonio Romoleroux”, 2018
Antonio Romoleroux and his searches
Marco Antonio Rodríguez

The man
Antonio Romoleroux (Quito, 1968) is a lucid and simple, tortured and easy human being, whose cardinal passion in his life has been – and will be – visual art in a multivariety of achievements: drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, engraving, silkscreen, lithography and an original proposal in which he melts abaca paper worked by his hands, encrusted by copper imprints of various shapes, in whose background the music of our hidden Amazon, so dear to our artist, vibrates. (Antonio frequently travels to the most secret places of that region and extracts ideas and textures from the unfathomable beauty of it). To his visual creation we must add his other passion: his endless studies on ‘Resilience’ and his practical practice giving seminars or assisting people who draw on his knowledge of this discipline.
In the seventies, on my tours through Quito’s bookstores, Pomaire by Susana Romoleroux was, without a doubt, the one that attracted me the most. Susana and her sister Martha – Antonio’s mother – made strenuous efforts to bring books of the highest quality and to be up to date with what international publishers were publishing. In addition, intellectuals and artists of the time were regulars at the bookstore and there I became friends with several of them. In its narrow corridors, between shelves full of books and walls plastered with beautiful posters, Antonio always appeared drawing on all kinds of supports. He used to open his eyes excessively and I don’t know why, the eyes that Margaret Keane painted come to mind.
Love, perplexity, amazement, bewilderment, creativity, sharpening of his sensitivity…: the universe of Antonio’s childhood. Books whose spines exhibited precious reliefs and letters, a variety of papers that are now in museums, plates that illustrated them, art, artists… Husserl emphasizes that consciousness and the world exist at the same time: essentially exterior to consciousness, the world is by essence relative to it. Antonio’s case proves this assertion. To know is to explode beyond oneself, towards what is not oneself. Romoleorux is a dissatisfied being like every genuine artist. The searches for content and forms mark his work. But not satisfied with the visual series, he continues reading, thinking and spreading Resilience.
Studies
At the age of seventeen, Antonio moved to the College of Plastic Arts at the Central University of Ecuador. His drawings and paintings of him from his childhood and adolescence were collected by his aunt Flora, a fond memory for our artist. His thirst for knowledge led him to an incessant search that opened up various aspects of the visual arts. In addition to the subjects at school, he studied metal engraving at the Grafi-K workshop, screen printing with the Spanish Antonio Sánchez and stone lithography with the Brazilian Saverio Castellano, and, without giving up, omitting Saturdays, Sundays and holy days , worked for two years with Oswaldo Guayasamín.
The fruits were not long in coming. In 1987 he participated in his first group exhibition and received his first prize in the National Engraving Competition of the Municipality of Quito, a distinction that his works earned for four consecutive years. In 1991, at the age of twenty-three, he won First Prize for Painting in the National Competition of the Ministry of Education and Culture. In 1995, at the age of twenty-seven, he won the Mariano Aguilera First Prize for Painting, a contest promoted by the Municipality of Quito with solid prestige. In 1996 he was honorably mentioned at the Cuenca Biennial.
contest whose importance has acquired worldwide fame and in 2016 it received the Honorable Mention at the First Pan-Amazonian Show in Manaus, Brazil.
Resilience: brief note
Antonio Romoleroux trained in this discipline as soon as books on it came into his hands. He learned concepts, processes and techniques (if the expression fits), regarding this system that does not focus only on individualities, but on the subject who suffered a severe trauma and his environment or social context: family, work, economic ties, friendships… , decisive in his recovery. Deaths of loved ones, marital dissolutions, violence, goodbyes… are treated through this medium. The word finds its root in the Latin resilio: rebound. It differs from resistance (the most cited), or other more distant ones, such as instinct or emergency. This opacity of resilience creates confusion.
Antonio, who has become an expert, treats people with the desire to get rid of psychic lacerations resulting from tragic experiences. In his report on this matter I become his disciple, such is his wealth of knowledge and his lively enthusiasm for this recent healing resource. Resilium: <>. The jump is not from one moment to the next, it requires time, and a multiplicity of collateral exercises. Meaningful and positive adaptation in adversity. Master inner conflicts, those that tear apart the most hidden wells of the being, and emerge victorious. Processes and actions that in the twenty-first century gain more followers every day.
There are materials that bend without fracturing and recover their original shape (the bow that shoots an arrow). Resilience operates in individuals and human groups. The tear suffered by a person or the tragedy that befalls a nation (wars or natural disasters). In our time this process has multiplied, whether individually or in groups. From Neuroscience it is considered that the most resilient people have greater emotional balance in the face of catastrophic situations. The same thing happens with human conglomerates (the cultural factor gravitates powerfully in these situations. Fortitude beyond resistance. Human beings will always seek escapism for their suffering, but the resilient process flows in the field of science. Sequence of processes in which environments are essential.
The work
Antonio lives in a house in the north of Quito, austere and warm. A wonderful portrait of his son radiates that energy, and, of course, that of the artist. Tall, reticent and familiar, a solitary man who has not lost his bonhomie that he spreads by the handful to those who approach him. Whenever I have met him, when I said goodbye, I never wanted to see his face, I was always afraid of seeing him evaporate, dissolved in the air. Vivacious, transparent, generous, clear, Romoleroux is an artist who lives dedicated to his creative craft and has obtained recognition inside and outside the country. Reflection, sobriety, and modesty flow from his personality. A primordial light that some of his works radiate would seem to be typical of his human essence. “I am me and my circumstance, are we as free as “We think?” Ortega y Gasset’s hackneyed phrase haunted my memory as I circulated through the spaces of the Romoleroux workshop house. The home in which the artist was born and raised was decisive for his passion for visual creation, there is no doubt.
He called the first cycle of his work Systemic Identities. Before delving into it, it is worth remembering a work that – premonition or certainty? -, would mark his route. The sculpture in the National Competition of this art dating back to the nineties consisted of a mobile made with welding and painted iron. Astrolabe?, as the notable twentieth-century visual arts historian Hernán Rodríguez Castelo puts it?, is very possible. For me it consists of an artifact that has its roots in our ancestral cultures. Did Antonio know Estuardo Maldonado’s Hypercubes? Whether or not he knows about Maldonado’s historical proposal based on our original cultures, Antonio achieves a work towards there, that is, towards our roots.
In a first step of this cycle Antonio gives in to the temptation to delve into his inner labyrinths. Intense readings of Franz Kafka and Pablo Palacio, fundamentally, influenced that cycle. And those of Sociology of Art, which until now is one of his passions. The Series covered all printmaking techniques: etching, aquatint, drypoint, silkscreen, stone lithography, and a set of works in which he fused several techniques (silkscreen and lithography, the most valuable). After this experience, Antonio dedicated himself to researching pre-Columbianism: the art of our mother cultures.
From this ‘experience’ (an experience that becomes part of the being), he worked on marble sculpture, but, above all, he unveiled a proposal that I consider very much his own, perhaps unique in our visual arts. Melt the handmade paper of abaca fibers woven by his hands to give it the appropriate consistency and texture, with copper etching and aquatint and soldered with silver in large formats. Some of these works go beyond ‘traditional’ dimensions and tend towards muralism. They resemble cloaks of ancestral gods. Beautiful, imposing, they exhale remote times and look breathed with life of their own. Imperial but austere, sober mantles, whose beauty lies precisely in that patina that gives way to time past and perhaps to come and that Antonio achieves with the prodigy of his art. It is worth remembering the giant engraving formats of Antoni Tàpies, but we are certain that no one else has tried this form, except Romoleroux.
Spiritual Amazon is another of our artist’s transcendent series. Medium format oil paintings resolved into masterful scrolls in which Antonio frolics and enjoys color, revealing himself as a master of color. The foundation of it: the semiotics of our Amazon. And we must reiterate it ad nauseam, this miraculous region summons one of the greatest biodiversity on the planet and its inhabitants maintain it by articulating old sustainable practices inherited over time from generation to generation. Although this is not the right space to elucidate the blurry issue of interculturality, it is essential to clarify that the native peoples of our Amazon generate valiant efforts to keep their practices, customs, languages, traditions… The signs used by Romoleroux in this series correspond to a kind of intellectual and spiritual phagotization that the artist has carried out with the stylized native pictography. Jaguars, anacondas, frogs… that glide in Antonio’s works, are considered sacred animals in the aboriginal peoples of our Amazon.
And perhaps along these same lines, another of Antonio Romoleroux’s series appears: Skin of the Jungle. This series brings together portraits in drawings and impressive and impactful formats. Some of the models are men and women from the deep jungle that Antonio zealously travels every time he can. Others have a high and deep level of awareness regarding the importance of the biodiversity of the Amazon. The concept is rooted in an admirable utopia: bringing the jungle to the city and not bringing the city to the jungle, all resolved in the formal and conceptual contexts of contemporary art.
My essence in your senses: another of Romoleroux’s creative cycles. The material already mentioned in previous paragraphs, that is, handmade paper cast with engraved copper, made with abaca fibers and which symbolizes nature with its harmony, wisdom and health. Copper in its city connotation as an industrial material that generates damage, greed and stress. Paper is a symbol of fragility and metal of strength. However, paper is what contains metal (fragilities transmuted into strengths). The signs engraved on the copper are stylizations of multidiverse Amazonian cultures in which Antonio has delved with the avarice of a solitary miner. The paper represents East Asia, the metal represents the West and the signs represent our America, especially the South.
The Conscious Self is an interdisciplinary series that contributes to the social function of art with a collection of visual and testimonial portraits of people of different ages, socioeconomic and cultural conditions who have lived experiences of resilience, understood as human capacity, individual and group ability to overcome adversities, in fact, emerge from them fully strengthened. The testimonies written by those who have been favored by this discipline are complemented by their portraits. The images and testimonial texts were made in Ecuador, Chile and the United States.
Currently, Antonio is working on a series called Message from the Models to Humanity. Female nudes resolved from a vivid and modular realism. The artist asks a single question: what would be your message to humanity? The answer is written in the drawings that the artist makes. Visualization and delving into human beings (women) who radiate beauty due to their physical qualities, but at the same time, in the process of executing the drawings, they reveal what they feel within themselves. Internalization and probing into the recesses of their personalities. Capture of their thoughts, feelings, volitions… The models have only been treated as ‘objects’ for art, but their interiorities have never been captured.
In the title of this essay about Antonio Romoleroux I included the word searches. It is, without a doubt, the one that best defines and concerns his visual creation. And every genuine artist – and Antonio is one – knows that his path lacks horizons. What is a path where After finding one, close and far at the same time, another and another appears, thus, his life is condemnation and liberation, and his art a vast space without limits. So be it.

Exhibition: “The power to transform the world”, IAEN, 2019
For the journey of the thought of art of Antonio Romoleroux
Umar Klert Ghov, 2017

It is the privilege of few to achieve in their pictorial works what Étienne de Condillac stated, regarding that “The art of expressing thoughts is the first of the arts. Antonio Romoleroux, in most of his creations, achieves this, and brings us closer to the aphorism that reads: “Art is the internal message expressed by an individual who has the power to reach the sensitive fiber of others through the emotion”. Now, there is a considerable difference in what has to do with the concept of art and the thought of art; Judging by some of Antonio Romoleroux’s works, we take it for granted that this has achieved depth in his creative being.
It is important to highlight lateral thinking, that is, thinking that seeks solutions to problems, not following the logical guidelines normally used, relying precisely on ideas that are out of the ordinary. Thus, the proposal in all the paintings of the Spiritual Amazon series seems to flee from the effective existence of nature; But the painter immortalizes in his work not the sounds of the jungle, not the fauna and flora literally; but the signs that describe the biological diversity of the Amazon. Taking into account the characteristic features of geometric form, despite the individual particularity and fragmentary appearance, the approximation to the subjective effect is evident, which constitutes the reason for being of this pictorial work.
Of course, this artist does not work for his own pleasure; rather, in the reality of this creation, the commitment, responsibility and, above all, his deep and determined response to the systematic attack suffered by this natural portion of Planet Earth can be seen. In these works of the Spiritual Amazon, a strong influence of Enlightenment can be seen, which Sartre, the great existentialist thinker, summarized in this phrase: “Freedom and individual power can only be recovered through collective revolutionary action.” There is no doubt that Antonio Romoleroux has achieved profound changes in pictorial art, surprising the world with an unprecedented work: the narration of the spiritual existence of the Amazon Rainforest.
Denis Diderot said that “simplicity is one of the main characteristics of beauty; It is essential in the sublime.” This is evident in the painting “Nature and I”, since it lacks unnecessary accessories to avoid distracting the viewer’s thoughts. In this work, the colors speak, they express a deep feeling and as real as life itself and the design of the forms are definitively established in time and space, undoubtedly with a particular purpose: to stimulate emotional intelligence and consequently deepen the universality of the message. This painting is a sui generis inspiration, since in it the truth has been conceived from the movements of the lines, whose orientation in space establishes the ideographic and phonetic visual reality of the natives of the Amazon Jungle.
The most obvious thought in this painting (Nature and I) dilates the abstraction of truth in time, thus favoring the universal construction of the idea; so that the evocation of colors and shapes is established in reality, emulating human existence on the horizontal plane and very close to the four-dimensional dalliances due to the evident timelessness in the symbolization of natural beauty.
We will say then that the inventive faculty of the painter Antonio Romoleroux is not only in the theme, the colors and the balance, specifically in the canvases of the Spiritual Amazon series; but the idea is so relevant that he reminds us of Pierre Proudhon’s thesis when he states that “… The idea that had formed the work was more important than its formal qualities.” That said, in my opinion, the preponderance of the social destiny of this painting, the object of this analysis, is inferred, since the stimulus of reason, which is fundamental for awareness, is obvious.
Having carved out this wonderful path towards reason, the purpose of this work is the contemplation of ourselves “As an individualized substance of a rational nature where the superiority of spirit over matter is raised.” This freedom of Romoleroux’s thought enhances the dignity of art, in these moments when the overvaluation of academic thought has ruined the reason of the heart, whose versatility, as is common knowledge, is destined to enrich the conception of art in all its manifestations.
To quote Kant, shall we say that Romoleroux’s work revolves around the practical use of reason? Of course yes, just read what emerges from the term “Art for Art’s sake” and from there the conclusive judgment will be: that we are faced with a pictorial creator of philosophical depth, which characterized the great masters of painting. universal, which enhanced the force of reason and the will of the spirit over the ephemeral nature of “aesthetic pleasure.”
The cerebral acuity of the author of this work is evident not only by his skill in the different techniques of visual art, but also by his vision of the world and understanding of the harmony between nature and thought. The presence of deep traits of faith in man as a transformative and changing entity. The existence of a thought forged in the chimerical reality of the common good. Romoleroux is very clear that art must save us. That the purpose of art is the exaltation of human beauty in the generality of everything that exists in the universe.

Exhibition: Das Bewußte Ich by Antonio Romoleroux
Embassy of Ecuador in Berlin.
Helena García Moreno
Berlin, September 16, 2015

Antonio Romoleroux’s proposal on resilience is a contribution to contemporary art, exposed to the public since 2013. For this reason, his aesthetic contribution through resilience goes beyond the local confines of Ecuadorian, South American and continental territory towards the universal. . But what is meant by resilience in combination with the human being? The notion of “resilience” is currently spreading with enormous scope in regard to cities and towns that have overcome extremely complex difficulties. Resilience is that physical quality that makes certain bodies subjected to great pressure, nevertheless, able to keep their original structure intact once the squeeze or abuse disappears. In the same way, there are certain people who, without being aware of it and thanks to that internal mechanism present in all human beings, have managed to improve themselves. This means that, at critical moments in their lives, they have managed to survive. Additionally, there are certain personal characteristics of survival, among them hope, that emerge at the right moment. Especially when there was someone next to the traumatized person to encourage them. And in this context, Romoleroux’s work is pertinent. Thus, resilience emerges as a psycho-emotional phenomenon, when a person is lucky enough to have external support. A person or group located physically and emotionally outside the conflict or harmful environment causing suffering. This support would consist of a kind of reference or secure attachment, if it were a child (in which case the responsibility should fall on the State as an entity obliged to guarantee the integrity of the minor and ensure their inalienable rights) or an adult. who inspires and contributes ideas to another to help her overcome adversity.
This is how people get ahead, when they cannot count on the support of their nuclear family, because either they have lost it or because, having one, they have had to flee from it to preserve their physical, mental and emotional integrity. (just to name a few circumstances of the human condition and its dysfunctions). Furthermore, this list could include all the vicissitudes of various kinds that human beings could eventually suffer during our existence.
However, avoiding suffering is mostly possible. For example, when we stop feeding the belief of failure. A concept that is usually imposed both in our immediate environment and that can eventually be extended to the social or professional sphere. The fear of failure can be due to an individual or collective subconscious compulsion, deeply rooted in culture, for wanting to appear something that one is not in front of others. Being a kind of concealment of what one is, in order to evade the feeling of shame that causes us to face certain aspects of our personality or condition, considered unacceptable within social norms. This refers to what Carl Gustav Jung would call “the shadow, with which the person could work to consciously integrate their shadow. In this way, the fear of failure is expressed by constantly trying to fit into an idealized model or imposed by a social environment, whether family or an extended community with rigid belief schemes. The reality is that the fear of failure hides a feeling of inferiority or any type of childhood wound and makes us people obsessed with controlling and regulating the lives of others, in a phenomenon that in psychology is called “projection.” Thus evading our responsibility and commitment that, above all, we should have with ourselves to be happy and at peace. Accepting our essence unconditionally and letting other people be as they can and want to be, without judging them.
On the other hand, a person who is capable of transmitting serenity and guiding can illuminate and change the life of another for the better. In this sense, today there are support groups all over the world with extensive professional experience in the field of psychology, whose purpose is to accompany and sustain resilience processes.
The resilient and positive attitude lies, above all, in believing in the individual’s internal faculties to make use of them, in order to recover self-love, connect with their creativity and with gratitude towards life, despite everything. This new posture towards life gives the person autonomy. In addition to developing his empathy and solidarity, it also allows him to live with ethics and enthusiasm.
But when does the conscious being emerge? Resilience is a gradual process of comprehensive healing that, in addition to restoring the individual’s well-being and psychological balance, makes him aware of his own valuable existence. Through self-inquiry, the person allows themselves to leave conscience (reason), that system of moral thought rooted in culture that is based on good and evil and that, therefore, judges instead of understanding in depth. Therefore, once someone begins the path of awakening, he leaves behind erroneous beliefs and conquers his own power. He has even escaped from that cultural corset under the famous phrase of Jean-Paul Sartre: “Each man is what he does with what was made of him.”
Being conscious, therefore, goes beyond the matrix thoughts of Western culture, in a transcultural exercise and in a transpersonal praxis to rethink not only the meaning of existence, but the ability to return to an internal state of harmony. and fulfillment through meditation practices and positive psychology. In such a way that the person expands the notion of consciousness, recognizing the greatness of his being, the sense of deservingness, of being loved and valued for the simple fact of existing, like every living being. This is where the notion of consciousness emerges and the importance of the exhibition “The Conscious Self” by Antonio Romoleroux.

Exhibition: “My essence in your senses”, Sara Palacios Gallery.
Romoleroux’s work
Rosalía Arteaga
July 13, 2013

On this bright day of July, I have the satisfaction of presenting the exhibition of an extraordinary Ecuadorian plastic artist such as Antonio Romoleroux, I can guarantee that we will not remain impartial when we contemplate in detail and let our eyes penetrate the works of the artist Romoleroux and witness the lateness with which he delivers each painting, with recurring themes such as mandalas, or when the artist wants to bring the jungle or the forest to the city, with a kind of dreamlike approach that adds richness to the already complex and well-made lines. .
The artist’s spirits are present, through each of the paintings in which I want to perceive a commitment with nature, with the environment, with the environment, with the earth, which transforms his painting into an invaluable ally of those of us who denounce a point of no return in the face of climate change, and in which there is only room for adaptation, mitigation, and, sometimes, sacrifice.
There is the look of the Huaorani child, disturbing, as if not to forget it, nor what it means, nor what it intends in the ancient forest, harassed by so many indescribable dangers, in which the hand of “civilized and civilizing” man has a responsibility. undeniable. The cubist Huaorani boy is a painting that is difficult to remove from our retinas and memories.
In this same sense, Romoleroux recreates the texture and beauty of the spondylus, letting us walk through the ribs of the valves, which at one time served as currency to barter goods, and which now recover their value as artistic objects of great value.
One cannot remain impassive before the work of Antonio Romoleroux, the artist of abacá and copper, or rather of abacá and metal, who subjects the materials to thaumaturgic rites that make us delve into the themes of nature and even more. there, to those who relate it to the actions of a Demiurge who is taking over surfaces and arriving, even in the midst of simplicity, to saturate the spaces offered to him.
The painter’s passion for Amazonian themes is another aspect worth highlighting.
Magic overflows the work of Antonio Romoleroux, in each of his rigorously crafted pieces, in which innovation is present at every moment, leaving the aftertaste of what is seen as finite, but which feels infinite and even unfinished.
It seems that the textures of both the paintings and the installations would like to jump from the wall or the spaces in which they are placed, into our hands, to allow themselves to be felt, recognized. allow oneself to be felt, recognized, caressed, so that the artist’s work can be appreciated in all its dimensions and magnitude.
The work prior to the creation of the work of art, in the case of Antonio Romoleroux, is incorporated into the work itself, in the production of the abaca fiber, the paper, the canvases, the mixtures with metals, achieved with the work of the mind and spirit to transpire in fusions, in sensorially wonderful experiences in each of his paintings.
The Romoleroux intaglios are of shocking beauty, I cannot fail to mention them because I feel seduced by these intaglios with oil illumination, which demonstrate the intense and detailed work that this ancient form of engraving means, also used to guarantee the safety of documents such as banknotes, but which is used magnificently in the art presented by this artist committed to his cause. The intense colors captivate us and lead us to think about rituals, about magic, about the power that symbols, like the rotating signs that the Mexican master Octavio Paz told us about, entail for human beings.
Signs in rotation, magic that penetrates, captivates, intrigues, sways in the waves of the imagination, perpetuates itself in its very core, is watered through the interstices of the soul. Signs in rotation, sniff, permeate, dissolve into myriads of lines and curves, adopting unexpected turns, some in sequences that seem like spells. Rotating signs that spell out hidden codices, murmur unspeakable secrets in the ear, stop to allow the passage of untouched, unblemished surfaces, allowing the eyes to pierce, scan, enter and cause a myriad of unpredictable sensations and perceptions.

Exhibition: “Sacred Nature”, Cienfuegos Gallery
Quito, April 28, 2012
Mariana Vaca de Raad

Discovering the multiple richness of this artist’s pieces, exhibited in the “Colectivo Cienfuegos” art gallery, is to confront the artist’s duality in the use of materials and the symbology to which he inexorably leads us.
Each piece by Romoleroux is a whole, in which two exhaustive realities come together: man and nature, in a clear assimilation of spirit and matter, added to the meticulous handling of materials made with virtuosity and coupled with innovative methods of his own experimentation.
Entering into his creative universe is to go back to a remote past in force, as a regenerative process of images immersed in the primitive habitat in which ancestral codes of the Amazon jungle prevail such as the frog –fertility-, the snake –sagacity-, the jaguar – power-, the butterfly -metamorphosis- or another such as the spondylus shell -commercial and divine value-. Mythical beings of our habitat, whose spiritual connotation refers to a living culture that nullifies space-time timelessness.
The diversity of natural materials used by the artist: abaca paper, copper, marble, spondylus shell, assimilate in their textures the radiance of the jungle landscape, plant and animal life, the stealth of the jaguar, the parsimony of the anaconda , the vitality of the frog, the luminosity of the butterfly, the roughness of the spondylus.
The sparkles of copper dazzle, whose engraved designs subjected to oxidation processes, transmute dispersed tones into light and dark, with horizontal, vertical or geometric planes. Empty spaces partially inserted with curvilinear lines or carved grooves that produce a visual game of multiple images. Polished copper sheets to catch the light that splits into amalgams of orange, reddish, yellow, brown, turquoise, brown, and violet. Or in relief, in which the polychrome stands out like a glare of light on the design.
The textures achieved, after manual elaboration of the abacá, complement the casting of the copper with the handmade paper, conducive to the total fixation of two contrasting materials: fragility of the paper vs strength of the metal, achieved by the creator thanks to a novel and personal technique of hardening of paper fused with copper or with the spondylus shell.
The pieces made of shelled marble, exquisitely polished to achieve harmonious shapes such as those of “Peace Makes Love” or the “Oracle”, possess enormous inner strength that radiates and subjugates the observer.
Installations such as “My essence in your senses”, a wonderful confluence of textures, colors, iconography and sounds, transmit great vital energy in movement.
Romoleroux’s work allows the common viewer to intuitively perceive the connotations it carries, whose signs refer to a transcendent nature for the life of primitive man immersed in his environment, at the same time dependent on the ecosystem that gives and receives from those who inhabit it. , in a vital conjunction of reciprocity.
Antonio Romoleroux’s exhibition moves sensorially and impacts spiritually and intellectually, not only because of the preciousness of his creative work but also because of the suggestive titles of his works: Nature and the Self, Spirit of Water, Sacred Forest, Wet Forest, Bioindicators, Reciprocity , Spiritual Nature, Peace makes Love, Oracle, My essence in your senses.

Exhibition: “Nature is sacred and human beings are also nature” Ministry of Culture and Heritage
The pieces of Antonio Romoleroux
Julio Pazos Barrera
Quito, March 4, 2009

I think out loud in front of these 21 pieces from a series of 50 worked by Antonio Romoleroux during these years. My thinking demands that I place them in the contexts that are interwoven in their organisms. It is said that the word context was taken by the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier from an essay by Jean Paul Sartre.
At this moment it is only important to know that contexts are the great components of culture and that they are encompassing, but also differentiating. The artist and his work process cultural contexts in the senses of production and consumption, in a constant dynamism.
But first, a brief reference to the nature of the objects that, once touched by light, are reconstructed in our eyes. At first, attention is drawn to these artifacts that in appearance may seem like paintings, but in reality they are not like the classic canvases with homogeneous surfaces framed with thick golden moldings. These artifacts are located a step away from the sculptures or carved boards with which the ancients covered the walls.
The first thing that stands out is the quality and texture of the supports. Old materials that Romoleroux has rediscovered and subjected to creative work. From old China is the invention of paper; From the very ancient bowels of the earth is copper. It is appropriate to comment on them: handmade abaca paper appears with the appearance of solidified foam; brightened sheets of copper appear, polished and scrubbed in order to manipulate the flows of light that illuminate them; spondylus shells of two kinds appear, red princeps and violet calcifer, polished so that they reveal their shapes designed during long periods of underwater existence; The set is completed with color baths, sometimes clarified with white and other times very close to the primary tones.
The peculiarity of the treatment of the supports lies in their assembly. The details of the insertion are frankly secret, because capturing the metal sheets or shells with thin sheets of paper requires patience and accuracy. We observers do not know how this technique works.
Returning to the contexts, it should be said that the rise of materials to the artistic dimension is the product of the linking of several of them. I will not expand on such a broad problem, I will only summarize some information. One is the historical context, in this case, the history of artistic forms and in particular of assemblage in Quito art. Few assembled artifacts are preserved from Hispanic times: three Virgins present the procedure of appliques of stuccoed and colored fabrics on canvas, these are the Virgin of Chiquinquirá in the monastery of San Diego, a Virgin in the side chapel on the Gospel side in the Guápulo Sanctuary and a Virgin of Quito, embroidered and colored on canvas, immersed in a tangle of small silk flowers, from the collection of master Oswaldo Viteri.
From the first century of the Republic I only know the work entitled El Pudor, which is more of a collage than an assembly, by Juan Agustín Guerrero, from 1852 and which is part of the album that belonged to Mr. Wilson Hallo.
Around 1960 and by the artists of the VAN group, the assemblages of Enrique Tábara, Gilberto Almeida and Aníbal Villacís are memorable. The trend was called pre-Columbianism. The thick artifacts were achieved with applications of stucco, sand, shells, metal circles, marble dust, etc. In fact, these textures were reminiscent of the stone surfaces of Ingapirca or the oldest of the Manteño chairs…
A powerful assembly of ropes and fabrics glued to a hard surface is the painting Los Cargadores by Mario Solís, which belongs to the collection of the Central Bank of Ecuador. Surprising assemblages obtained with old brocades and rag dolls were composed by Oswaldo Viteri.
On this path, away from the classic easel paintings, typical of modernity that began in the Renaissance, the pieces by Antonio Romoleroux are located. He assembles shells, craft paper and copper sheets. By the way, with the differences inherent to his inventiveness and with the insertions of the intaglio and the engraving. The continuity of the proposal reveals a conception of art based on the search for other means of expression, that is, those that allow him to transmit his theoretical concerns and the values that constitute his life experience.
Another context is that studied by Cultural Anthropology, which was developed in Ecuador in the 1970s and which currently combines the contributions of ecology. Antonio Romoleroux’s reflections are concentrated in this context. It is believed that pre-Columbian man did not separate his existence from the flow of nature, that is, from the cosmos. Man was not the king of nature of the Renaissance conception, nature which he could modify as he pleased. Pre-Columbian man respected the natural environment and his wisdom consisted of discovering its secrets in order to apply them to his own existence. Not breaking the rhythm was preserving good health. Today we would say that it was another utopia. But, we understand a little late, nowadays, the high price of causing the disappearance of the ozone layer and having cut down forests, etc. Scientific advancement will save the human race, it is the ideal of our time, but in the meantime, we can only look at the early sunlight located on the edge of the abyss.
Of course, the artist Romoleroux does not have to write an anthropological essay, first because his language is that of the plastic visual code, and second because his field is that of intuition and not logic. His activity is to propose enigmas so that the observer can appropriate them, enjoy them in silence or attack them with his invectives. Thus, its rectangular shapes, of supposed windows, may mean the attempt to capture the diversity of the world within the framework of a sober and minimalist consciousness. The contrast between paper of plant origin and processed mineral can manifest the opposition between the countryside and the city. In this sense, the paper that frames the copper plate would mean that the city depends, to function, on the countryside and the jungle. From another angle, the presence of the spondylus and the simulated petroglyphs takes us back to the distant time of man marveling at natural beings and the display of constellations on clear nights.
Another context is that of postmodernity understood, in this case, as the liberation of techniques. These artifacts elude classical perspective, the representation of volume, focal lighting, but recreate the visual planes originated in modern interior design; They suggest an unlimited notion of space. We do not see here the chromatic rose, but a personal selection of ochers that tend towards brown, off-white, the dazzling reds and lilacs of the shells and some indigo. The brush will not be the extension of the hand but the spatula and other instruments invented by the author. It is postmodernism that opposes the illusory mimesis of sculpture and the human body in Ingres’ paintings. It is postmodernity that juxtaposes distant contents with new venerations. As never before, the distances between the forms of the contents give rise to the active participation of the observer, to their emotional resonances and to their concepts always limited by the logical factor of words and syntax. There is no need to convert the suggestions that incessantly emanate from the works into discourse.
I think out loud and avoid altering the perception of observers with qualifiers that, despite flattery, will age slowly like apples. I do not classify Romoleroux’s works under the heading of conceptual art because the observer only responds to the visual stimulus, that is, to the signifier and not to the artist’s intentions. First, and in this case, the emotions that the works trigger provoke states of relaxing contemplation, of liberation from the nightmares that unnerve us at any time and in any place. Then will come the reflections and, therefore, the concepts, as in all art, always from the exclusive harvest of each observer. Artifacts hang from the walls of this room, luminaires that Romoleroux has extracted from the atmosphere of his inner world and that he has generously installed in the sensibility of those who are used to dialogue with the voices of the cosmos.

Exhibition: “The Self is Spirit”, by the Ecuadorian artist Antonio Romoleroux.
Santiago de Chile, April 28, 2009
Juan Antonio Bolumburu

There is no doubt that the exhibition that we are inaugurating constitutes a relevant sample due to the extraordinary quality of the artist, winner of various awards and recognitions.
Antonio Romoleroux, has arrived at our Institute with as a letter of introduction one of the best reviews in his country and where he has exhibited outside of it.
At 41 years old, he is considered among the most successful artists in Ecuador and this pictorial exhibition reflects it.
It is pointed out that his proposal largely seeks to open the debate around the balanced relationship that must exist between man and nature.
In his works, painted in acrylic on handmade Abacá paper, cast with copper etching and aquatint, there is an evident ancestral, almost shamanic sense, linked to the Amazon.
This sample of such unique characteristics, of a style that bears the seal of its author, has been possible to present in Chile thanks to the Embassy of Ecuador, the personal management of its ambassador, whom we publicly thank and through him the Government of his nation.
We give special emphasis in our thanks to Ecuador not only for the friendship that unites the Institute with this nation, but also because we have been distinguished with this exhibition.
My thanks also to Mr. mayor for his presence at this ceremony, to the ambassadors present, for having the kindness to accompany us on such a special opportunity.

Book: Antonio Romoleroux, 2007
The work of Antonio Romoleroux
Dr. Inés M Flores

Time and at the same time the idea of timelessness, which concern certain contemporary currents of thought, are in some way behind the work of Antonio Romoleroux, developed between drawing, painting, engraving, assembly and casting of copper with handmade paper…
After overcoming the first figurative stage inscribed in surrealism and hyperrealism, he began to stylize, until he conquered the current abstract and vigorous freedom. He faces a passion for the problem of space, going from wide voids to surfaces variegated with signs, often divided into geometric quarters that house strokes and ideograms in relief. It happens that the artist has been interested in the traces of aboriginal cultures, in the form of symbols and signs, especially from the Amazon. Previously, Romoleroux had generated his own sign lines, purely for aesthetic purposes. This further led him to the investigation of ancestral semiotics, which he now finds priority in his works.
In his work there is a relationship with the metaphorical and the allegorical; not as a story, but as fragmentary but coherent data, which offer us clues for reflection on existences that seem exotic to the common viewer. The signs and symbols he uses represent animals, birds, insects of the jungle, and perhaps say things that beyond the environment to which they belong it is not even possible to imagine.
Regarding the technique that this artist currently uses, we must highlight, on the one hand, his dedicated work with acids on metal and, on the other hand, the manual production of paper and its multiple processes, which continue, chained, until reaching its final form, with unique material conditions. He channeled his creation into new forms, committed to graphic techniques, hand in hand with the most elaborate artisanal procedures, until achieving splendid textures or stupendous luminosities, thanks to the virtuous fusion of handmade paper and copper. This, linked to the meanings of the Amazonian world, where there are residues and testimonies of ancient experiences, traces of lost forms, which place the image and the object in circumstances absolutely foreign to our world. In any case, as in magical corners, the plant fibers and metal extracted from the bowels of the earth, when united, end up in a work of art.
Of course, the sign does not reach here the real representation of its contents, but it is articulated with the traditions of the ethnic groups that use them, and in whose life magic is an important factor. Romoleroux adopts this kind of ancestral writing, to load it with his own thoughts, so that it serves to express his personal attitude as an artist. He works in his workshop, drawing, making paper and combining it with copper to obtain a support on which he engraves his mysterious messages. It seems that his hand is guided, unconsciously, by the spirits of the jungle, whose inaudible voices try, perhaps, to warn us about the dangers of the destruction of the primitive forest. But we are left only with the admiration that the artist’s strokes and the original technique he uses produce in us.
Romoleroux’s work reveals great talent, as well as an obsessive dedication to a work that he has been building since his earliest youth, going through different stages and in a tireless process of solitary research, which has allowed him to reach the high levels that he now records his artistic production. An original, consistent and admirable production, which cannot be compared with anything we know. That is why it is possible to decide that Romoleroux, with his recent work, is unique and as such occupies a prominent position in the concert of national art.

“The Owl” Magazine #24 2007/2008
Antonio Romoleroux
From the eye of the beholder
By Julio Pazos Barrera

Umberto Eco proposes, regarding the analysis of narrative (Six walks through the narrative forests, 2nd Ed., Barcelona, Editorial Lumen, 1997) a double pair of entities; model author and empirical author; model reader and empirical reader. Transferring this semiotic model to the analysis of plastic art is possible if we consider that the arts in general are systems of signs that are used to communicate certain messages. Thus, the author or model artist takes the reader or observer into account and instructs him. The empirical artist ignores the observer. From the other extreme, the reader or model observer follows the instructions of the model artist, on the other hand, the empirical observer ignores those instructions and is only interested in the end of the story, that is, he makes a cursory record of colors.
THE MODEL ARTIST
Antonio Romoleroux has written texts that enable the appreciation of his work (Catalog, Recent Work, Art-Forvm, Quito, February 8 – March 2, 1996; Record, Multimedia Production by Cynthia Bravo, Quito, 2005) Above all on the record , the concepts are soberly expressed.
It alludes to the materials he uses. These are handmade paper made with abaca fibers, cabuya, wood scraps, and copper. With them he has raised large surfaces – it is important to note that the copper sheets have been crimped into the paper – on which he designed stylizations of signs inspired by Amazonian petroglyphs. These signs are vague reminiscences of Amazonian cultures.
The conceptual instruction continues with the symbolic unveiling. Romoleroux says that the paper represents nature in that it is harmony and health. Copper, on the other hand, symbolizes the city that is production, consumerism and stress. According to the artist, paper means weakness and metal means strength. But since in his works the paper supports the metal, the message warns that weakness becomes strength, a message that exalts the value of what is natural.
Later Romoleroux notes that paper and metal are cultural symbols, the first from the Far East and the second from the West. In this symbolic framework, the artist inserts signs of Amazonian inspiration, an element with which he defines his American origin. In this way, Romoleroux affirms that his work is a “cultural and universal object.”
THE MODEL OBSERVER
In reality, there are several expert observers. They have carefully decoded the messages that the artist brought together in his pieces. Each one, by the way, projected his reading with reflections very close to the author’s intentions. However, the act of writing about the works reveals that they caused concern and forced recognition.
Manuel Esteban Mejía focuses on the setting of metal on paper, a technique that distances the pieces from “assembling.” He notes that these works straddle the line between the traditional painting and the object, a state that poses a challenge to the symbiosis of the concept and the communicative form, a strong cultural support.
Hernán Rodríguez Castelo states that the works combined natural components (plant fibers and metal) with signs of culture. The process interrelates traditional materials and techniques with current applications of laser, scanner, photography, etc. The results accumulate hermeneutical meanings that produce a “severe beauty.” Hernán Rodríguez Castelo catalogs these works in the so-called conceptual art.
Mónica Vorbeck notes that it is not pure painting. The works are intermediate forms between traditional painting and object art. The composition reveals a conventional aesthetic principle, since the represented space is divided into large balanced surfaces that enclose an interior space full of ornamental figures. Vorveck finds evocations of the past by Romoleroux, that is, cultural research and experimentation with unconventional materials and supports. According to Flores, the artist’s purpose is to denounce the destruction of nature and the symbol that represents this idea is the tree.
The meaning that Trinidad Pérez appreciates is the fusion of contradictory cultural spaces that is configured in today’s world. Reproduction of ancestral signs on paper and metal that are interpolated with the intervention of computer and laser. However, the conceptual formulation of Romoleroux’s work is surpassed by expressive, intuitive and gestural liberation.
Lenin Oña identifies the art of the Quito painter with the material and with the “distant informalism” of Aníbal Villacís and Enrique Tábara. He also finds relationships with the production of Estuardo Maldonado, in what concerns the search for graphic signs and textures. But the specific characteristic of Romoleroux’s art is the presence of decorative “minimal forms” inserted into large morphological structures. With conventional painting, the works have two dimensions in common, an aspect that is seen in the use of photography and the reproduction of the decorative naked female body with rings and tattoos.
The observers’ assessments agree with the concepts of the model author. In certain cases, observers contribute new ideas to the painter’s discourse, whether they are from the plastic, historical or critical field. Plastic is the concern that exposes the combination of traditional painting with object art. Likewise, the annotation about the geometric balance of the compositions that suggests the presence of interior and exterior spaces is talkative. The registration of decorations is located in this field. In a historical sense it is the relationship found with the informalism of the sixties. Critics They are the expressions “severe beauty”, “abrupt and suggestive contrast”, in addition to that which indicates the nuance of intuition and liberation through the rapid gestural line.
IN UNLIMITED INTUITION
Despite all the coincidences between the concepts of the author and those of the observers, there will always be an unlimited scope in the relationship between work and observer (the author is, at the same time, observer). This quality of artistic communication allows us to continue with appreciations of various kinds.
Romoleroux classifies his works according to the technique used. This perspective leads us to think about the value that the artist places on materials and their manipulation. Doing, that is, experience, is his initial motivation, an aspect that places him in the current art that combines the search for personal solutions, while proposing new perceptual experiences to observers. But the special attention to materials and supports also implies, on the part of the artist, the idea that observers are interested and come to the artist to resolve his concerns.
All the materials used by Romoleroux are known, except that which refers to the making of handmade paper. This element arouses the curiosity of the observer, who, accustomed to seeing and using industrial paper, will be dazzled by the discovery of other textures and aesthetic effects. If this first step occurs, in the next section the observer will confront the other components of the works, that is, he will process the conceptual, sensory and emotional messages involved in the whole.
Romoleroux classifies his works based on materials and techniques into the following groups: paper with copper; intaglios; oils; drawings and mixed technique. However, supports, pigments and techniques, beyond their status as signifiers, become personal and collective symbols. An organization of artistic messages could be attempted from the triad of concept, affect and sensoriality:
1) Conceptuality and sensoriality.
2) Sensoriality, affectivity and conceptuality.
In the first group, the conceptual component is presented through symbols with varying degrees of secrecy. The conceptual load comes from certain knowledge of the author, who evidences it through keys inscribed in the titles of the works; Kantu 1-2, ADN 8.5.0, Joel Ducatillon, Masaru Emoto, quantum, fractal, mandala, Sierpinski 1-2, etc. Even for educated observers these keys are difficult to decode. Since the author only states them, observers freely wander around, stimulated by color and texture. Indeed, color and texture provoke visual and tactile reactions.
Oil paintings and drawings make up the second group. The plastic messages revel in female forms, although the eye is entertained by the decorations and tattoos. The realism of oil paintings and drawings points to moral intellectual content, such as anger, envy, etc. In sanguine drawings, the representation of pregnancy is traced, in seven moments of the “Jenny” series, messages treated with finesse and charm.
IN THE CONTEMPORARY CONTENTION
The strange symbology of the intaglios evoked in a kind of overlapping rectangles attracts due to the effects of color and, above all, the luminosity of the raw color of the handmade paper. These artifacts radiate a projection that goes from the peripheral to an interior vanishing point conceived in the shape of a warm, but mysterious rectangle. The vision that obsesses the artist is spatial: bodies and cryptic shapes move in space. The female nudes float in backgrounds of pastel or raw colors. Their silhouettes double and face each other. Between these silhouettes infinite space emerges.
An overall appreciation of the art of Antonio Romoleroux allows us to see a resistance of realistic forms compared to geometric ones; These can include signs inspired by petroglyphs. This type of dispute is very current. Furthermore, to locate his art in disjunction is to distance it from any defined tendency. The phenomenon is not exclusive to the plastic arts. The artist, in this panorama, is a discovery of meanings and, at the same time, is a source of meanings open to the incessant curiosity of observers.

Hernán Rodríguez Castelo
New Critical Dictionary of visual artists of Ecuador of the 20th century, 2006.
Antonio Romoleroux

One of the most interesting figures of the new Ecuadorian engraving.
At first, a tendency towards a neo-expressionist drawing of social criticism and denunciation.
Very good management of techniques. IN the XXXI October Salon – dedicated to graphic arts – he presents a magnificent serigraph: head in sienna and background in ocher.
The engraving that earned him one of the four mentions in the National Competition (1990) – Letrina’s – showed that a leap had been made: it was a silkscreen print rich in expressive values, boldly new in its semiotic concept: broken forms, immersed in a chaos of color, with penetrating allusions to graphic advertising messages or those of the mass media.
His sculpture from the National Competition (1990) – welded and painted iron – was a mobile: an astrolabe with four concentric metal circles, with the ability to rotate. Historical and cultural recovery at the same time as an invitation to play.
They showed where their searches were guided by the works with which they attended the Hall of the Municipality of Quito in 1993. In Origin and Eternity, one like a blue stone, with a drawing highlighted in a white line; strokes with some sign organized in rows; in the center and below, two whistle snails, drawn with meticulousness. You could see craftsmanship and idea; All of this needed to come together into a visually solid whole. In the other piece, The Chance of Virtue, on a surface textured with strokes – in ochres. A green grid, with the central line of a serpentine shape and four eyes, alluding to esoteric searches.
Support was privileged in their searches. Women of the Soul – by Mariano Aguilera 94 – showed vigorous craftsmanship of the support, whose textures contributed to the strength of images of brutal neo-expressionism. And new expressive possibilities were attempted: in Origin of Life they were pasted submerged in paint. But at the same time he delved into old cultures – especially the Amazonian ones – to enrich his own expression with signs and symbols rich in meaning.
And the sculptor began to add metal to those two-dimensional pieces. He then won the important Mariano Aguilera prize (1995) with a work that integrated handmade paper with a copper plate rich in etching lines. The simple metallic form, a sort of elemental totem: itself symbolic and pregnant with symbolic drawings. It was a novel work due to materials and workmanship – more so because of workmanship; rich with hermetic senses, and severe beauty.
The artist had settled comfortably into a technique, style and poetics. He displayed them in a remarkable individual (Art-Forvm, 1996). A plastic expression that begins with the elaboration of the support: handmade paper, thick in material and rich in textures given by that same material. On such a rich surface, cast copper plates to which the acid has given color and the etching incision have enriched them with sign and symbolic writings. And also on the paper, traces collected from old Indian cultures are etched. And the artist, anxious to multiply these semiotic fusions of human extremes, had incorporated laser prints into such works, which significantly reproduced jungle warriors in primitive and naive nudity. He wanted to establish a relationship in the tense unity of the work of art, the most primitive with the most advanced science and technology. And all this semiotic game came together in a form rich in meanings: the tree.
In this great effort to bring distant and apparently conflicting cultural spaces into a tense relationship, as a means – in his own words – of making man live with man, the artist, while continuing to delve into the knowledge of old cultures, to extract from them wisdom that was based on signs and symbols, extended his experimentation on media and instruments to advanced photographic processes and computer work and exposed the iconic manipulation of advertising and marketing. And he ventured into three-dimensional space with installations that combined a motion detector and Amazonian music with the richness of the handmade paper and the penetrating form rooted in old Amazonian cultures.

The work of Antonio Romoleroux
Rodrigo Villacis Molina
Quito, July 31, 2005

Tireless and ascending is the career of Antonio Romoleroux as an artist. He prepared himself conscientiously to respond in a solvent manner to his vocation. The rest was left to his creativity, which soon manifested itself in a very personal way, especially thanks to his research into the signs of ancestral cultures, whose graphic possibilities he took advantage of, keeping them as simple references in a series that has not been concluded and that, for His originality has distinguished him in the environment where he operates.
Romoleroux also investigated the techniques and managed to fuse delicately worked copper sheets, in a kind of assembly with handmade paper, made by himself, based on different plant fibers, to give shape to works that, in his view, harmonize nature and the city, the wisdom of the former and the stress of the latter. He has adopted manufactured paper as a symbol of the East, metal as a symbol of the West and ancient spellings as a symbol of our continent, to create what he considers artistic objects of a syncretic and universal nature. In general, these “objects” work very well aesthetically and constitute unquestionably valuable works, in which a capricious morphology, an intense color scheme and a generous display of textures, produce, when combined, beautiful effects with magical hints.
A man of his time, Romoleroux also works with digital photography and the resources of the most advanced computer programs. As in the case of Cubist Niño Huaorani, with an Adobe Photoshop filter and copied in oil on canvas. This is a very interesting work, which must not only have required a large investment of time but also a readjustment of your optics to decipher the visual codes of the program.
This reveals the character of an artist who advances without burning through stages and whose current work – based on hard work of more than 20 years – responds to a present rich in new possibilities, in terms of techniques, but which do not have to displace the work that Romoleroux has been building, successfully, over time. They can coexist without problems, multiplying the language of this artist who has a lot to say.

Exhibition: “Awakening”, González Guzmán Gallery, 2003
Lenin Ona

At first glance, identifiable with “material” art due to his research on the nature, properties and combinations of certain materials, Antonio Romoleroux could be related to the now distant Informalism, whose echoes were felt, first of all, in Ecuadorian art through the intermediation of Aníbal Villacís and Enrique Tábara, participants in the Spanish development of that movement. He could also be enrolled in the ranks of seekers of graphic signs and significant textures, and for the same reason connect him to those artists, as well as to Estuardo Maldonado. There is, however, one aspect that he has addressed at his own risk in many works: the decorative immanence entailed by the repetition of minimal forms in a larger morphological context. Perhaps that is the deepest meaning of what he has been unraveling. This seems to be demonstrated by some of the latest work he does, photographs of female faces and bodies on which he has projected simple geometric patterns, easily related to primitive tattoos. Without considering them as epigonal manifestations of pre-Columbianism or formalist routes, their works, full of tactile and retinal virtues, preserve the skills and charms of a craftsmanship refined by a sensitivity that finds solace in the contrasts of the materials and the finesse of the execution. not devoid of primeval elegance. These pieces present little or no painting, which only has in common with this art their two-dimensionality. Hence, apart from the healthy incursion into photography, which perhaps announces a more radical renewal of languages, the novelty that recent works bring is that, in several cases, they are simply paintings. Paintings in which the emphasis is placed not only on the realistic treatment of fragments of naked female bodies, but above all on ornamental details: rings, tattoos, pearcing. A kind of testimonial warning about the decorative needs that have always been present in human beings.

Magazine: “Miti-Miti”, #3, 2000
Antonio Romoleroux: Fear-Power
León S. Espinosa Ordóñez

To talk about the work of Antonio Romoleroux is to approach one of the most consistent works of contemporary Ecuadorian plastic arts. Antonio Romoleroux was born in 1968, a significant year for all of humanity, a time in which the world inhaled and exhaled “isms”: existentialism, surrealism, anarchism, which would influence later.
The author’s creative journey goes through several stages, where a kind of experimentality can be seen. The first journey is linked to the traditional format and with marked irony, sarcasm and questioning of society as a whole. His incessant search leads him to become involved with engraving, where he achieves plenitude in his theme. This stage marks a process of search and investigation, with fundamental concerns such as: nature, myth, man and their interrelation. The materials with whom he creates his work become actors who mediate the theme. The reuse of paper, the redefinition of its use, question the vision of consumption established in society.
His vision includes a multiplicity of elements such as: myth, the circularity of time, the establishment of a mythical time, the rupture of temporal linearity are elements of the work. Memory as a search for the mythical, identity in its various manifestations. This search begins with its inclusion in the book “Amazonian Worlds”, published by the Sinchi Sacha foundation, from which moment it is linked to the entire Amazonian cosmology and its significance. This concern does not cease, and his next phase is related to trees, as an element conducive to questioning man’s attitude in his permanent stalking of nature. He uses paper, seeks a new meaning in its use and objects to its commercialization process and revalues its history. The role is to transform it into a creative element, you work it with your hands, you feel it, you fuse it; He combines it with metal, he assimilates the harmony of nature.
The creative continuity continues with the inclusion of animals: the frog, the snake, the jaguar, as sacred elements, present in the Amazonian symbology; on the path of searching for the yagés or yachas or shamans. His intention is to become a meticulous observer of nature, enter its secrets and, as such, be part of it. The presence of this trilogy of sacred animals spreads and their characteristics are humanized and naturalized at the same time. The woman, in a process of catharsis, transforms and acquires these characteristics: fertility, seduction, cunning. The erotic acquires autonomy, but in its play it includes certain characteristics of the animal. According to Georges Bataille: “Erotism is one of the interior aspects of man’s inner life, man seeks outside the object of desire.” Eroticism is externalized, takes shape, materializes, is natural. The body becomes a metaphor, it transports us in its meaning, it becomes a constant flow of signs, some with movement, in a state of rest, in an attitude of contemplation, in the mystical state that is presented from the Eros relationship. – Thanatos; life – death.
Fear – Power reveals to us a semantic game in which the cancellation of the first condition implies a growth of the subject, annuls the internalization of moral forces and forces us to rebel against this fact. When talking about power, a bifurcation of the word is observed, first as the omnipotent source that exceeds the capacity of man; while, in a second moment, power is the capacity for achievement at all times. The author has never failed to present his concern for the environment, both in the human aspect, as well as in the natural aspect, and hence his reflection on power, what are the elements that mean Power? Perhaps human acts measured by material relationships or the presence of nature? For Baudrillard, Power is the domain of the real world, while seduction is the domain of the symbolic world. In this relationship, his interest in Power and the planet is broken by an erotic game that goes beyond seduction, since it manages to immobilize and perpetuate the act, stopping it in time and space. The colors of the engraving have a sacred, vital connotation: red and black that take elements from Amazonian mythology are verified in Manduru Huarmi and Huituc Huarmi; the red woman annatto, and the black woman, huituc. Likewise, lilac and violet tones, full of vitality.
The frog, the snake and the jaguar
In a search for rupture, the frog, the snake and the jaguar are included, again, as a reminiscence of ouroboros, of the eternal return, in a kind of mutation, the woman is possessed by the spirit of the three animals in fertility, seduction, cunning and agility.
In the diptych work of the boas, desire is confronted with fertility; red flashes in front of playback. The two snakes emerge from chaos, from the dispersion of signs that will find their order in nature itself.
In the creation process, the possibility of incorporating the elements of technology, and even technology and waste, is not ruled out. This is how “Secrets” is created, through which we face a reality with a double face, with a reverse. that avoids showing itself that way. The use of a metal support in his work titled “The Secret”, whose structure is made of scrap, reveals to us that always, in reality, the technique will be present, as an inclusive and questioning option, simultaneously clearly showing the handling of art. conceptual. Similarly, in “Stress,” which plays with a word in a modern mood, but as a counterpart it is symbolized with three jaguars and dramatizes the old conflict between civilization and “barbarism,” what criteria should we subject ourselves to in order to glorify the former?
Finally, Power is shown from its most vulnerable area, from its emergence to the appearance of a surface product of a file that remains static, that one can replace, question it and live it in one’s own interiority.
Vitality is one of the most suggestive approaches, taking sides in circumstances that not all is lost, returning to events such as everyday life to deepen expectations regarding man and nature, creating a perception that includes our myths and recovery. of the human sense in the erotic.
The expression to which the artist cordially invites us is that it is no longer time for Fear, but for Power.

Exhibition: “Paper and Metal”, Artespacio Gallery, 1999
Antonio Romoleroux
The suggestive magic of femininity
Dr. Inés M Flores

Antonio Romoleroux works with the ecological, germinal world, with a remarkable sense of synthesis. His handling of the subject is effective, both in terms of color and form, in a hazy limit between abstraction and figure. Her energy is always on fire and is fueled by great tenacity and devout dedication to her craft. She seeks the codes of nature, the ancestral symbols; She catches them, and based on them, she builds her speech, with delicate sensuality.
She is interested in that intimate sense of the living being, which transcends the purely visual and which, in her work, is governed by the strange couple of lucidity-passion.
In a gradual expansion of his thematic interests, the artist has strove to increase his perceptive capacity, through a series of possibilities for interpreting the human figure. His willingness to explore the theme of women allows him, now, to develop beautiful and dynamic possibilities, very personal, that escape any location, within the known currents.
Her feminine images, rich and flexible, enter the realm of the suggestive, with a touch of magic. And it is surprising how, in this work, the artist gives life and movement to the material surface: abaca paper processed with rigorous neatness and oil paint with direct fire, combined in such a way that the artist manages to harmonize climate and movement. .
His figures are full of plastic energy, of daring material and chromatic solutions, iridescent, in rich ranges that impose themselves on the retina with expressive intensity. The reiteration of the forms emphatically emphasizes a moment, a climax, an atmosphere.
Antonio Romoleroux is a tireless researcher, he works intensely with materials and techniques. On the one hand, fibers and metals; on the other, engraving, oil, fire. He seeks to innovate, explores new avenues, and does not stop.
He is an artist who moves with great autonomy, without being disturbed by passing fashions. He has his own north of him, and nothing disorients him, because he only pays attention to the secret compass that marks his path: his great artistic honesty. That is the secret of his success, as proven by the exhibition we are inaugurating.

Exhibition: “Mariano Aguilera Hall Winners” 1996
Metropolitan Cultural Center
Raul Perez Torres

Paper is like life, fragile and wonderful, Antonio Romoleroux told us, while he recycles fibers, cabuya, sawdust or abaca to rediscover the song of the forests. Because that murmur and that joy cover both the paper that is born from his hands, as well as that semiotics of ancestral signs, which merge, harmonize, multiply and travel that long path of the search for our identity.
Art and nature that test the artist’s philosophy, his clear need to travel through the enlightened Amazonian cultures, those shamanic songs that survive on paper, in texture, in musical refrain, reinventing a centuries-old language and boldly using, modern gadgets such as Spray, Laser, copper, photography, just to deepen the story, to define its environment full of textures and freedom.

Exhibition: “Mariano Aguilera Hall Winners” 1996
Metropolitan Cultural Center
Manuel Esteban Mejía

There is in Antonio Romoleroux a permanent interest in life and art that, inevitably, is reflected in his pictorial work. It is also inevitable that this interest is presented as a live concern that guides his thinking and his artistic action, to the extent that this attitude is, in practice, the beginning and the end of his creative search.
His work is, likewise, the constant affirmation of a spirit that does not resign itself to continuing to deal with the usual pictorial schemes, because it means giving up the adventure and vitalism that all art entails. But this does not mean he responds to impulses or the pure exercise of instinct, although naturally he does not reject them either. It is theirs, at this point, a necessary symbiosis that seeks to link ideas and realization through an intense will to create.
Strongly inclined towards experiences in matter and form, certain technological contributions undoubtedly exert seduction on him, which he pampers in his intellect and work. That is why he produces from the support, manufacturing the paper that he is going to use, which sometimes he frames and other times not, just as he applies natural pigments with full chromatic evaluation. To the organic he unites the inorganic through copper, which, in plates of different formats, he embeds in the paper, configuring a basal unit. He subjects acids to metal to obtain and impose sign forms that are references of Amazonian cultures, such as engraved paper, in some cases, and in others it is computerized photography. Thus it constitutes a whole that discards the point of view of an assembly.
Whether these paintings hang like paintings or are separated from a wall like objects is part of their intentions and searches. Whether they assume the virtuality of a tapestry or highlight its irregularity in terms of format is another. That sensor systems operate with the direct intervention of the viewer and that songs and music are heard is one of its virtues. That they offer diverse meanings based on the integrated materials, the developed signs, the chromaticity used, the texture and material density, is the challenge that the author poses to those who face it.
In these works there is a feverish desire to consider and not only overcome technical obstacles, which is why Romoleroux is not content with formal breaks, but goes to an integration where the conceptual and the formal come together, the intellectual and the craftsmanship combines energies to project a conversational image with more forceful results.
His experience is significant in current Ecuadorian art. Intelligent and interior at the same time, he maintains and expresses a latent perception of the environment, which is one of his reasons for being. That is why it is presented as easy to read, but its possibilities are multiple by including evaluations of personal meaning and collective meanings.
Nor is it a work that we can reduce to the scale of the merely experimental or circumstantial, since it is endowed with a strong cultural underpinning. By acting on the context, he challenges the viewer, with the persistence of an attitude, to link with it.
The above is not the least of his merits, but rather it reiterates the creative and intuitive capacity of this author in search of himself.

Exhibition: “Mariano Aguilera Hall Winners” 1996
Metropolitan Cultural Center
The symbolic will of Romoleroux
by: Hernán Rodríguez Castelo
Alangasi, June 5, 1996

Antonio Romoleroux won the 1995 “Mariano Aguilera” with one of his works in which he integrates handmade paper with a copper plate rich in etching lines. The simple metallic form, a sort of elemental totem; sign itself and pregnant with sign drawings. It was a novel work due to materials and workmanship – more for workmanship -; rich with hermetic meanings; and of severe beauty.
Now that, as a winner in that national contest, he exhibits individually, he presents other works in that way. In them, again, his verbal expression begins with the elaboration of the support: paper made by hand – of sawdust, with a core of cabuya and ceibo -, thick, rich in material, rich as material and rich in textures given by that same material. And with meaning inscribed in its very condition as materials or industrial or natural waste, recovered for artistic expression. On that papery surface, the copper plates have been melted, making a single body, to which that the acid has given color – some beautiful turquoise, for example – and the etching incision has enriched it with sign and symbolic writing. Traces collected from old Indian cultures are also etched on the paper with white oil paint.
And the artist, anxious to multiply these semiotic fusions of human extremes, has incorporated laser prints into works like this, which significantly reproduce jungle warriors in primitive and naive nudity.
THE game then combines in this firm unity of the work of art from nature to culture, and from the most primitive to the most advanced science and technology. All of this in an iconic message with the significant tension of the artistic message and with severe beauty as a catalyst for that message.
In this line of work – so rich, so suggestive – the exhibition offers a manifestation that starts from a familiar reference: the tree. There are several trees. A symbolic forest, in this unmistakable style.
“Hollow Trees” adds three cast trees to the support of that very material paper and the integrated copper plate: they are, in that set of nature and culture, the void: non-being. Which can be read as a gloomy announcement of ecological destruction or as any other kind of desolate feeling.
In “Vital Tree” the paper support has the shape of a very simplified tree crown. And on that large surface there are cast copper sheets – in a horizontal line, in an arbitrary and geometric line – and cast leaves – in a tree-like figure, in a natural arrangement. Added to these suggestions is the ease of access to this world of signs for the innocent spectator, who can climb the tree to pick out fruits of senses and impressions.
And another tree has laser prints of warriors and cast metal hammers in its crown. New contrasts, then, and new incitements to reading.
But they are not the only techniques and forms of expression in such an inciting exhibition: there are pieces that fall more on the side of traditional painting. Apparently a sign serialism or a sign gesture. But only apparently: these works contain interesting and significant news.
To capture them you have to start by looking at their obverse: they look like those strongly textured surfaces rich with multiplied strokes and incised drawings that were made at a time in our pre-Columbian era. But that is only on the front: what is not seen. From there the color passes to the fabric, through the incised channels. Turquoises, yellows, reds, ochers pass by; oxidation trace. The canvas collects those chromatic strokes coming from the other side – from the depth, from the unseen -, and the artist completes them either with soft pastel lighting, which respects the serial sign drawings (“Endless”), or with energetic almost gestural strokes with a vaporizer (“Selva”).
That is to say that even then there was only easel painting: the same vigorous decision to explore possibilities of materials and techniques, always trying to extract dividends of concept and sign. The same intransigent signic will.
This will goes so far that in one work the artist rolls up an enormous and rich engraving and inserts it in a metal tube… They are the two tubes – worked with acid and fire – of “El ser”, which, with that soul of work conventional art, they are a work of conceptual art. Being seen as a tough and sometimes brilliant exterior, but with a rich pulp of language…