The Most Perfect Bathtub

Gonzalo Borja Bonafuente shows us that progress is circular in his latest work for exhibition "AZULPEROROSA". His series of images are beautiful and yet disturbing, with ambiguous scenes that challenge the viewer and their imagination.


There is a clear contrast of joy and sadness in your works please can you give me a break down of the overarching theme?

Borja: Well, the main theme is exactly what you comment: the contrast between joy and sadness, the contrast between life and death.... the contrast is the key.  All of the paintings have their Side A and the Side B and I need you to tell me which one you see.  The one you prefer or the one you choose even you can probably see both (people use to have it clear and can argue about the meaning of the painting and the side they can see).

Am I right in assuming these are all oil on linen?  please explain why you use oil and the benefits?

Borja: Yes, oil was used on all the paintings.  I always use oil for all of my paintings.  I really love the way it works and the smooth surface you can get with them.  It´s a very common comment that one about you can´t see the strokes on my paintings.  Not sure if for good or bad but that´s true and it´s something I can only get with oils.  Also, when you apply it in the right way, it´s probably the most durable medium when you want your paintings to last longer as possible.  I don´t think I will change to another medium soon.

The clouded eyes...personally i find them very haunting yet i'm drawn to them, intrigued by them. please explain to me the symbolism.

Borja: That whole series (it´s a single work made by 10 different paintings) is kind of based on "The Tree Of Knowledge" from Pio Baroja.  There´s a chapter in which Andrés and his uncle talk about a passage on the bible in which you can choose between the Tree Of Knowledge and the Tree Of Life.  If you choose life you will live a pleasant life in complete ignorance but happy and if you choose knowledge, you choose science and a lot of questions about life and it´s meaning.  Probably pain also because of the lack of answers....... .  Sorry if my explanation is not completely perfect due to my english but you can get the idea.  It´s something similar to that answer that Kurt Cobain gave to a spanish journalist when saying he was envious of that people who was happy with a beer and a football match.... .  That´s the main idea of the whole serie of paintings and also the whole show.

Is there an artwork you are particularly emotionally emotionally emotionally to?

Borja: All of them are.  Probably it´s a common answer and you expected something else from this question but I can´t really choose only one.  All of them are pretty autobiographical so I cn´t only say "this is the most accurate".  No I can´t.  All of them came from my inside and they are attached to some different thoughts or experiences.  And no, I´m not thinking about commiting suicide... .

Any other interesting moments, memories or stories connected to the body of work?

Borja: All of the stories related to the moment I start to work with the people that pose for the paintings:  From Silvia calling to her friend to get the most perfect bathtub ever, to those minutes when I started meeting Nadia in a real way before we started taking reference photos.... those are experiences I will take with me but probably are the most interesting moments for me.



See more of Borja's work here