Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Fallen Leaves

“The environment is one of the essential parts of a living being”, stated Jorge Wagensberg Lubinski, Spanish eminent professor, researcher and author, very much within the same line of thought of Claude Levi-Strauss, the prominent French anthropologist, who argued that man cannot help but be influenced by the environment into which she/he is born. This is something that Lorenzo Duran always bears in mind when he creates his delicate, awe-inspiring artworks.

Working within what is designated as Organic Art, Lorenzo Duran, born in Cáceres, Spain, and based in Guadalajara, near Madrid, gets inspiration from his passion for art and nature to produce miniature art pieces by cutting minute patterns, designs and imagery of various kinds out of leaves he collects from around the place where he lives.

A keen observer of Nature and its wonders, Lorenzo Duran came across the idea of producing leaf artworks when he watched a caterpillar patiently making holes in a leaf so as to eat. He started by trying to cut a leaf with a scalpel and, through a long process of trial and error, he finally developed a leaf-cutting technique of his own. Using mainly a surgical scalpel and a dental-pointed device to help him remove the cut parts from the leaf, he carefully proceeds so as not to spoil his rather unusual medium of work during the process.

Duran recently discovered an ancient-old technique of working the leaves, which consists of removing the plant tissue by a scraping process known as skeletonised leaves. By combining techniques and adding branches and setting them into frame-boxes, he went a step forwards in his detailed and stunningly delicate creations which, according to the artist, “get more from himself”, as a result of a personal path of introspection through which he states he has become “increasingly aware of himself, of his inside, his shadow” and his need to communicate all that through art.

Lorenzo Duran says that “using a natural element as a leaf made [him] realise that maybe [he] was facing the opportunity to reflect [his] respect for the environment”. In fact, his fascination for Nature and all its creations becomes quite obvious in his stunning, delicate and intriguing artworks, which may take him between a week and two whole months to complete. From wildlife scenes to complex geometric patterns, Lorenzo Duran constantly surprises viewers, defying their imagination and inviting them to look at leaves from a totally different perspective.

All in all, Lorenzo Duran’s delicate and awesome creations delight our senses and raise awareness to our inextricable connection with the environment, reminding us that that we must respect, appreciate and enjoy it, while also evoking the romantic melancholy which has inspired the famous French song whose English title has been borrowed for this text.

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