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Lazy Workaholic

2023. 3. 17 – 5. 24
Edu Carrillo

Lazy Workaholic Installation View, Solo Exhibition by Edu Carrillo at L21 Palma, Courtesy of L21 Gallery and the artist. Photography by Juan David Cortés.

“Lazy Workaholic” is the title of Edu Carrillo’s (b. 1995, Santander, Spain) second solo exhibition at L21 Palma. Entering the gallery’s largest room, we bump into monochrome circles scattered across the walls, and the canvases. Dots that spatter, but also agglutinate, his new body of work. We risk following them as if they were the breadcrumbs that Hop-o’-My-Thumb left to lay a trail back home. We try to tie together what we see and what the artist tells us.

This project is the result of a prolonged pause that Carillo imposed onto himself after the frenetic and obsessive activity of the last few years. He now presents the result of his contemplative reflection on what comes before painting and, from what we gather, it is not painting. The artist puts the problem of painting on stage: What does it mean to paint unceasingly? He asks himself as he questions his own process to open up other ways. With this exhibition, he makes clear, perhaps, the distance between what he was doing and what he wants to do. Hence the coloured dots that invite us to take a walk around the studio, to waste time lying on the sofa smoking, watering the plants, eating an apple, or reading a book. It seems that you always must have an excuse to procrastinate, even if you end up doing many other things.


Some of the paintings in the exhibition present Edu Carrillo’s well-known character, the protagonist of many of his canvases, resting, perhaps thinking. The large right hand holds his head. The tools of doing and thinking meet. The best ideas come when we are not doing anything. Leisure – of which the ancient philosophers spoke and which has nothing to do with its current meaning – is limited to designating the time we do not dedicate to work. When we are not engaged in any task, we dive in silence into a void that gradually fills with unexplored possibilities. Silence does not produce, and, for this reason, it is fertile and incubates the unexplored.

Lazy Workaholic Installation View, Solo Exhibition by Edu Carrillo at L21 Palma, Courtesy of L21 Gallery and the artist. Photography by Juan David Cortés.

Is perhaps the studio a safe harbour that the red dot stickers (gomets) arranged across the space help us to reach? There are two fundamental moments in the studio. On the one hand, the feverish activity, like an ant that can’t stay still. On the other, right the opposite: inactivity, taking distance and contemplating, like a bird gliding across the sky, without the need to move its wings. In the tedious wait it is possible to brew a kind of experience of doing that does not rule out any unexplored possibility, that acknowledges what is new… As Mladen Stilinović said: there is no art without laziness.


The works in the exhibition go along with the fact of presenting an extensive, intense, and intimate project, emerging from the need to take a break. To get out of the spinning wheel and take a walk to stretch one’s legs. It is as if Edu Carillo had strayed from the intensity of the studio to wander around his work. To rest for a moment before plunging back into painting.

Lazy Workaholic Installation View, Solo Exhibition by Edu Carrillo at L21 Palma, Courtesy of L21 Gallery and the artist. Photography by Juan David Cortés.

It is a luxury to wander aimlessly and alone. The waste of time can prove to be very profitable. As Chesterton said, there is one thing which gives radiance to everything, and it is the idea of something around the corner. It is the fascination of the new, experiencing the sensation of discovering and recognising that “I don’t know what”. Surely something that, in haste, had gone unnoticed. In the case of painters, their practice is divided between thinking about what to paint and painting. The feverish, infinite, and continuous work that painting demands… Hence the duality of the title and its apparent contradiction.

“Gomets” are small stickers used in galleries to indicate the availability of a work. They are also widely used by children and other fanatical customers of the best equipped stationery shops. Sold in various colours, they have many uses, whether functional, playful or decorative; and they never disappoint. In this project they function as decoys or footprints. Time can be wasted following them until the contradictions fade away.

With this exhibition, Edu Carrillo represents the important moments of painting excluded precisely from the act of painting. Small, unnoticed actions of non-painting. Strategies of procrastination and, at the same time, of care. Carrillo appropriates the duality between the obsession for continuous doing typical of all workaholics and laziness, the contemplation without doing anything at all. A “No” can define us much more as conscious humans than affirmative (and blind) action. Edu Carrillo points here to his frequent revisiting of Bob Black’s pamphlet, The Abolition of Work, which proposes a playful revolution. On the other hand, the reflection on his practice refers to Enrique Vila-Matas as he makes literature by staging literature itself. But there are also many other references, such as small tributes to Philip Guston, among the most explicit.

Francesco Giaveri

Complete text available on the Gallery’s website.

L21 Gallery
Hermanos García Peñaranda 1A
07010 Palma
Islas Baleares, Spain
+34 971 577 238

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