With the 2015 award of the Cervantes Prize, Fernando del Paso’s place among the greatest of Spanish literary figures was cemented. Acclaimed as both novelist and essayist, the Surrealist-influenced del Paso was also an internationally exhibited artist whose work, both in ink and paint, offers precisely rendered, dream-like images that juxtapose and merge the real and the fantastic.
“I dream that I paint, and I paint the dream,” said del Paso in my interview with him. “When I wake up, on what side of reality will I be?”
The tension between light and dark preoccupied del Paso: “A painting, in the first and last instance, is an endless struggle between darkness and light, from which light always emerges triumphant Even if we paint a completely black picture, in order to see it we have to surround it with light.” Likewise, the effect on him of using only pen and India ink versus colors; the former gave him joy, the latter, nightmares.
He reveled in fantasy. A musing: “A temptation: to paint a picture, show it to no one, take no photo of it, and paint another picture on top. The same, and paint another on top, and another, and another to infinity. So each painting, in order to exist, would have to kill the former, and contemplated by only one person in all the universe.”
Dozens of del Paso’s magical, monstrous, sometimes humorous pictures are presented in the interview that follows and you are fortunate to be, if not the only, then among the few in the universe who gets to contemplate them. Enjoy.