Orcajo was born in Madrid in 1934. He studied painting at the Central School of Fine Arts in San Fernando (Madrid) in 1957. He has exhibited in important Spanish and foreign galleries, and of which there are works in some of the main museums in the world.
Artist of an intense and rich trajectory, his work, recognized in Spain since the sixties, is a commitment to painting and its possibilities, dimensioning the aesthetic value as a state of consciousness, perhaps as a social inquiry to understand the world, until reaching its most poetic location, where he makes use of the classics and their iconographies, literature and film or music, to make explicit a morality that links poetry, beauty and his concern for the fate of contemporary man.
Orcajo has been building the meditated project that emphasizes the different categories that concern man and art, that necessarily idealized dimension, which has changed for forty years his painting, subject, in all cases, to a fair ethical assessment. In this way, it is not strange to understand the title of “Beauty and Destruction” as a compendium of his entire journey, based on the previous recognition of the aforementioned binomial that he has been acquiring in the narration or in the history of his ethical commitments. Orcajo is above all a humanist in all his amplitude, and in the dissertation on the concept of style, as a result of his linguistic research applied to painting in its pure state.

I had difficulties to find the tone to approach Orcajo’s work from a simple point of view. It was there, however, with all its eloquence. My starting point was false: I tried to study Orcajo´s paintings using pictorial keys.

But I was wrong.

The key to Orcajo’s painting is music. Rock of course not; or maybe: who knows? But I’m thinking about Wagnerian music, to be accurate. And by extension, I´m thinking about all the music from the new wave of the late-romantic artistic Tsunami (I can´t find another word for “romantic”, I’m sorry)

The overwhelming power of Orcajo’s visual palette is the product of the metamorphoses that Wagner’s music (and Mahler music, of course) has done to his craft as an artisan. But look closely at his hands, up close. I just realized: Aren’t they those of the Pianist?

Orcajo studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, in Madrid. His peers back then were Antonio López, Eduardo Arroyo, Juan Genovés and Manolo Millares. He grew up in that world.


He has reached 84 years in good shape. He´s like “The picture of Dorian Gray”, I usually joke. He doesn´t get old. His work could be painted for a 20 year old boy. The size of the pieces, increasingly larger. The palette, more and more electric. The brush, more and more energetic. The speech, more and more complex. I can´t believe what I see.

He has reached maturity backwards, like Picasso (my apologies!)

I’m absolutely convinced he is the last survivor.

If Painting is dead, of course.

Erik Z

Art Critic, Journalist

More info Orcajo

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