It can be said that Alexis Duque’s work using ink, graphite and acrylic has a remarkable similarity to the drawings by city planners in their attention to the finest detail and reliance on few colors. But that is where the resemblance ceases. Alexis’ work puts forth a very different proposition about cities. Where the architect wants the city to shine like a beacon and hide the exploitation and waste underneath, Alexis exposes it, but he does so with irony, humor and at times stark reality. Our common notion is that communities are made up of people who live in an infinite variety of dwellings. Alexis turns the concept upside down and the architecture resides inside the person or thing. What does it mean to have one of Jeff Koons’ balloon animals, or Frida Kahlo, a sphere or Mickey Mouse become the form of expression comprised of an intricate mesh of interrelated deteriorating buildings? Possibly the message is that we should never forget that the problems associated with urbanization and globalization, are always with us—an indistinguishable part of who we are as a human race.
According to Alexis, he depicts imaginary cities inspired by slums and shanty-towns of developing countries, overflowed with consumer goods. They expand in uncontrollable growth and an accumulation of waste. His work explores the chaotic and unavoidable processes of urbanization in our globalized and overpopulated world corroded with consumerism.
Alexis works from hundreds of photographs and proceeds by layering, starting by loose and light sketch directly on the canvas. He then proceeds to draw very fine lines using ink or graphite. When the drawing is done, he paints using acrylic in watercolor-like technique. The same technique applies to his three dimensional work. He applies drawing and painting techniques similar to the ones used in paintings to sculpture.
Born in Colombia, Alexis was educated at the University Antioquia and has shown extensively around the world. He is the subject of numerous critical articles .