Not many artists have the nerve to evict Jesus and his apostles from one of history’s most famous paintings, but José Manuel Ballester is the rare talent willing to match wits with Leonardo da Vinci and give a fresh interpretation of the Renaissance master’s iconic work.
Ballester has removed all the figures from da Vinci’s The Last Supper in his new photo-based series, in which he reconceptualizes masterpieces from art history by amputating all living beings and erasing any sign of action from the iconic opuses.
And Leonardo isn’t the only one who gets an autopsy from Ballester. The Spaniard also tackles familiar imagery by the likes of Botticelli, Fra Angelicio, Géricault, Goya, Michelangelo, Velázquez, and Vermeer.
The results are on display in “José Manuel Ballester: Concealed Spaces,” at the Frost Art Museum (10975 SW 17th St., Miami). It marks Ballester’s first solo U.S. museum exhibit and features 24 large-scale photographs. In them, Ballester re-creates the original scenarios where nature and architecture become the main subjects instead.
“Ballester carefully analyzes some of the Museo del Prado’s most famous paintings from the perspective of the digital camera, with the ability to transform the image captured by subverting its original intent through the magic of Photoshop and other programs,” Dr. Carol Damian, the Frost’s director and chief curator, explains.