"Queen Elizabeth II" by Kepa Garraza

The work “Queen Elizabeth II” by the Basque artist Kepa Garraza has recently joined the Salvat Collection of contemporary art. Made with compressed charcoal on paper, the artist once again shows his virtuosity in the technique of drawing.

As a result of the enthusiasm and commitment to contemporary art of the Peris family, owners of Laboratorios Salvat, in 1994 they acquired the first work that would constitute the Salvat Collection of contemporary art. Each year the Collection incorporates a large-format work by a relevant living Spanish artist that has been executed that same year. With the passing of time, this collection has become a clear representation of the most interesting Spanish artistic creation of recent decades. With the clear desire to bring contemporary art closer to its collaborators and friends, the work incorporated that year is reproduced as a Christmas and New Year's greeting card that Laboratorios Salvat sends to countries all over the world.

KEPA GARRAZA, "Queen Elizabeth II" (2022) Compressed charcoal on paper, 180 x 150 cm.

Graduated in Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country, the Bradford Art College in England and the University of Barcelona, Kepa Garraza (Berango, Vizcaya, 1979) began his exhibition career in 2004. It is from this moment onwards that he received various study grants and awards. He has shown his work in art centres such as the Museo Patio Herreriano in Valladolid and the CA2M in Madrid. He has also exhibited at the Artium in Vitoria, the DA2 in Salamanca, the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastian and the BilbaoArte Foundation in Bilbao. He has also exhibited in art spaces in other countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Peru, Chile and Germany. For this, he has been recognised with various awards. His work is now part of the holdings of significant public and private collections. Firstly, Kepa Garraza's work reflects on the nature of the images we consume every day. Thus, his work questions official discourses and questions the processes of institutional legitimisation. In this way, the reflection he proposes draws on his interest in the processes of construction of the historical narrative. Kepa thus invites the spectator to question the information obtained from the official media. His reinterpretation of reality is always ambiguous and confusing. It is full of subtleties and grey areas that invite the spectator to rethink the historical account and the chronicle of reality. Moreover, the artist's ironic and acidic gaze offers alternatives to the reality we know and proposes a healthy exercise: to always doubt the official version.

 "Through the series of drawings that make up 'Propaganda' I want to analyze the aesthetics of power and its codes of representation throughout history. For this purpose, I have used a series of images that have been used as political, military or revolutionary propaganda from ancient Egypt to present day. The selection of these images corresponds to personal preferences and to a very specific way of reading and understanding history. Therefore, art history has a basic importance in the development of this project, since an important part of the images that I will use as references to make these drawings belongs to paintings and sculptures that have been used as a political tool along the centuries. Photography and cinema are obviously two other direct reference sources, especially for those works that refer to events that took place in the 20th and 21st centuries. With this project I intend to reflect on the role of art in our society, highlighting something that is not new: the political and social dimension of art and its inevitable influence on how history is told."