Contemporary South African art
Pascual Tarazona, Selected work, 2020
Tarazona has lived in Madrid, Paris, London, New York and Johannesburg. He began tailoring at the mere age of 14 after leaving school in rural Spain. Tailoring created the roots of his later career in fashion. In Madrid Tarazona studied his true passion, theatre, but was unable to nurture a career on the stage due to his struggles with dyslexia and memory. So it was time for change. He worked in fashion in Paris and in London, where he also attended the prestigious St Martin’s School of Art. In 1975 Pascual came to South Africa for a holiday, on which he humorously comments, “I am still on holiday.” He moved to Johannesburg where he excelled as a fashion designer, winning the Coty Designer of the year award in 1981, and in 1983 he won the Coty Avant Garde award. But it was in 1984 that Tarazona had a change of heart and craved a new creative outlet. It was then that he studied under the tutelage of renowned South African watercolourist Joyce Leonard for seven years.
Until the beginning of 2020, Tarazona has worked his studio on a farm west of Centurion, with no television, no computer and no car. It is in this isolation, that Tarazona says he has found his inspiration, by focusing almost solely on his work with music and books as his companion. He has been producing profusely and has exhibited regularly both nationally and internationally since 1985. He has had numerous solo shows, such as at the Sala de Exposiciones de Torrent in Valencia, Spain; Everard Read Contemporary Gallery, Johannesburg; Fried Contemporary Art Gallery, Pretoria; and UJ Gallery. His works are in many public and private collections, such as the Municipio de Torrent, Spain; Unisa Collection; Sanlam Permanent Collection; Telkom Permanent Collection; and Rand Merchant Bank of South Africa.
He has recently returned to his home in Valencia, Spain.
Tarazona's work displays a Romantic sensibility. A main feature of Romanticism is the notion of and desire for another world (transcendence). Many Romantic works reveal an engagement with the unknown or a void, which links to transcendence; a sense of duality (here and there, different worlds, evident in the The Way and Desire/Deseos works, for instance); and a lone travelling figure in the unknown, such as forest, a wilderness or a landscape (evident in Tarazona's Don Juan figure). The Romantic spirit in the artist's work is intertwined with Spanish Expressionism and gushing emotional colour. A sense of hybrid identity is continued in the Africanness that seeps through in the use of raw materials such as sticks, broken glass, metal and black pigment.