CURRENT VISIONS OF POP CULTURE

Hispánica Contemporánea, Barrou Planquart, 3 punts and Norty Galleries

 

It is well known that since the mid-twentieth century, a large group of British and American artists responded to the gravitas and authority of Abstract Expressionism, so clinging to the trauma of World War II, with a totally opposite type of art: Pop art. The same happened in the national context because the transcendental shapes of Informalism would give way to the most vital expressions of the “narrative figuration” movement. This is how new iconographies and languages emerged from the mass media, the "pop culture" and the thriving consumer society, particularly figurative and characterized by the intensity of colour.

Mel Bochner

Meaningless, 2015

Monotype with collage, engraving and reliefs on Twinrocker paper

131 x 119cm

Although more playful and often only focused on the representation of a specific aesthetic, many of the pop works also had a critical intention and, perhaps, this is one of the most defining features of the Pop art continuing movements. From the neo-pop of the eighties until the present time, many contemporary artists continue to expand this path opened by Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, among many others.

Paul Rousso

Four Flavor Crush, 2018

Mixed technique

89 x 107cm

An excellent representation of contemporary Pop art can be found in the space that Art Madrid will have in the Hispánica Contemporánea Gallery (Madrid-Mexico City). Within its broad proposal, the following stand out: North American artists or creators based in the United States, many of them consolidated such as Mel Bochner, of whom the gallery will exhibit a selection of famous monotypes made from collage, stamping and the relief, from which the artist continues to send powerful messages from the vigour of the word, its typography and the contrast of colour. The works by Paul Rousso are still impressive creations; the artist who, through his particular technique "Flat Depth" -based on different tamperings and techniques with which two-dimensional objects acquire three-dimensions-, will once again show the sensuality of the wrinkled and oversized waste, the visual strength that can exist in any depreciated magazine, ticket or package.

Peter Anton

Splendor Variety, 2017

Mixed technique

90 x 90cm

Mr. Brainwash

Einstein, 2016

Técnica Mixta sobre metal

50 x 50cm

You can also enjoy the immense sweets of Peter Anton or celebrate life with the latest works by the popular Mr.Brainwash (Thierry Guetta), whose enthusiastic motto is "life is beautiful". Elevated to fame for his starring role in the fake (or not) documentary led by Banksy, "Exit through the Gift Shop" (2010), Guetta continues using appropriation, graffiti and icon or "celebrity" character to send good vibrations. Much more critical and satirical is the work of Fidia Falaschetti, an artist who literally dismantles popular characters and objects inviting us to rethink our consumption habits, those so close to a kind of naturalized schizophrenia.

Hispánica will also present pieces from the great Manolo Valdés, who since 1964, as a member of El Equipo Crónica, stood out for his most critical and ludic pop art, always specialized in the Spanish painting masters. Also, the gallery will present the mysterious sculptures by Xavier Mascaró; the geometric and vital pieces by Rafael Barrios; or the magnificent works by Hugo Fontela, made with a marked personality and surprising sensibility.

François Bel

Adios Trump Break the wall, 2018

Acrylic glass

27 x 18cm

Very pop and more urban is the selection of the gallery directed by Virginie Barrou Planquart (Montlignon), very interested in spreading a "positive aesthetic". From François Bel you can see some of his striking "Big Bangs", daydreams characteristic of our current way of life, so individualistic and materialistic, frozen in movement inside synthetic glass urns. Industrial materials also stand out in the works of Grégory Watin, created from a more urban and gestural point of view.

Stéphane Gautier

Follow your heart, 2018

Mixed media

80 x 80cm

Graffiti, photography and collage dominate Jo Di Bona's works, a renowned urban artist who is presented as a "Fauvist of modern times". Finally, the Barrou Planquart selection closes with works by the designer Stéphane Gautier in which he appropriates the imaginary and childish codes to convey positive messages but not without some reflection on advertising strategies.

Alejandro Monge

Suitcase, 2018

Fiberglass, pencil and paper

77 x 44cm

Nick Veasey

Easy Listener, 2018

Photography on DIASEC

150 x 119cm

In the wide range of the gallery 3 punts (Barcelona) you will discover a variety of languages and techniques that could be linked to Pop Art. From the revival of the more eighties Neo-pop starring iconic characters behind colourful backgrounds, Silvio Alino, to the multicoloured iconography so characteristic of Okuda San Miguel, Guest Artist of the last edition of Art Madrid. Popular culture or daily life also star in the surprising pieces by Nick Veasey, a pioneer in risky creation through x rays; as well as the appropriations of everyday objects made by Alejandro Monge, a well-known artist at Art Madrid for his provocative and critical accumulations of money bills.

Gerard Mas

Call Center Lady, 2016

Polychrome alabaster

48 x 38cm

Samuel Salcedo

Hey Mickey, 2018

Polychrome resin

33 x 15cm

Some of the realistic sculptures of the expert Gerard Mas although maybe not so at first glance, give a feeling of urban or pop art. From Renaissance ladies turned call center ladies, rats or dogs on pedestals to sheep sheared in a capricious way in order to pay homage to Malevich. Two other masters of sculpture are Samuel Salcedo, whose resin sculptures impress both for their hyperrealism and for their message; and Kiko Miyares, an artist also focused on the representation, and deformation, of the human figure through woodwork. And if we continue discussing master’s technique, Ramon Surinyac also stands out in the pictorial field throw his beautiful landscapes.

L'homme Jaune

Syria, 2017

Acrylic on canvas

100 x 100cm

In the Norty Gallery (Carrières-sur-Seine) the most pop proposal comes from L'homme Jaune (Yasser Ameur) and his simple but transgressive designs, such as "Syria" (2017), "Ceci est une fontaine 2" (2017) or "Connected people" (2017). Especially unsettling is the rest of the selection, more related to "raw expressionism". Inside its stand, the disturbing and attractive, sculptures, born from the imagination of Pierre Sgamma will be presented; also the paintings of Adlane Samet, who defines himself as a "painter of the moment". Closer to Art Brut, Samet's work impacts equally as much for its expressive and personal language, as for its narrative, mostly dark and cryptic.

Rusudan Khizanishvili

Conversion Device II, 2017

Acrylic on canvas

150 x 150cm

The work by Jean-Pierre Ruel also sends a certain restlessness, starring lonely and mysterious characters framed in gloomy scenarios. Norty's selection closes with the colouring contrast of the paintings by Rusudan Khizanishvili, author of compositions closer to abstraction in which, nevertheless, the figurative referent is never forgotten. The intelligent use of colour gives the overlapping forms a great emotional and enigmatic charge, enhancing the complex and fantastic ideology of the artist.

In short, a set of singular works, very different pieces in their expression forms, but in which, in one way or another, the limits of contemporary art are renewed and extended.

 

One of the proposals included in the calendar of the “Art Madrid-Proyector'20” program was the organisation of several meetings with artists within the fair. This gave visitors the opportunity to get to know their work better and open a personal dialogue with them after the presentation of their last lines of work. From Wednesday 26th to Saturday 29th of February, we had the participation of Abelardo Gil-Fournier, Fernando Baena, Mario Santamaría and Maia Navas, a group of creators who work with the moving image, but also with the installation, technological art, performance and video art.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier's work revolves around the hybridization between the real and the sensible. This artist and researcher approaches this question in his works from a perspective in which perception, image and material production merge. Both his artistic and research practice deal with issues related to land use and plant growth without losing sight of these three points of interest. This results in works that incorporate the presence of nature from various perspectives, sometimes as a space of experimentation in which to reflect on the connection between art and politics, the relationship of the human being with the environment or the criteria for landscape intervention.

During his presentation on Wednesday 26th, Abelardo told us about some of his latest projects, in which the presence of technology is key to offering an artistic interpretation of the individual's impact into the territory. All this affects issues such as agricultural techniques, the progressive deforestation or the exploitation of land resources. The result is colour-coded pattern drawings that break down the analyzed landscape and offer a more visual and technology-based reinterpretation of these human behaviours. In addition, in this meeting, the artist explained his work “The Quivering of the Reed”, an installation that mixes video image, sound and material elements, and that plays the role of mixing the sensory with the real.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier

Fernando Baena shared a talk with us on the afternoon of Thursday 27th. This artist has focused a large part of his work on performance, happening and video pieces, many of them designed to capture the result of the action and give the work a second life in a new format. The main subjects that monopolize his work range from the treatment of sexuality and gender issues, to migratory movements and the drama of refugees, the exercise of political freedom and thought ... all of them are far-reaching issues that Fernando addresses from a familiar approach, with the use of common materials and recognizable environments. Another of the characteristics of his work is the presence of Marianela León in many of his pieces, a performer who has been collaborating with Fernando for many years until becoming almost an alter ego of himself and starring in most actions that take place in public spaces.

In this meeting, Fernando was able to explain part of his creative processes and to highlight a key aspect to the performance artist: to understand the reaction of the public. In this way, the impact of a work conceived from the theoretical plane is also analyzed, the meaning of which can completely change depending on the viewer's perception. As he himself explained in the talk regarding his piece "Balsa":

"What started out as a performance with an established script ended up being a happening in which the public participated with sometimes unusual reactions".

For his part, Mario Santamaría, who was with us on February 28th, shared with us a completely different work from Fernando's. This artist is focused on the analysis of the use of data, the feeling of manipulation and lack of control over our information that is produced in the digital medium and the desire to transform into something real some ideas as ethereal and commonplace today as the use of virtual storage clouds, the location of web pages or the data flow over the Internet. Much of his work, documented on video or transformed into technological facilities, is a form of research on the impact of the digital medium on our daily lives. His desire to bring these terms to the material plane, which we handle in our language today without really understanding their meaning, has led him to visit server bunkers, storage warehouses, in addition to tracking the exact location of the servers that host his own website to find isolated places far away from humanity.

Mario proposed a material trip to this reality to demonstrate that we are facing a very fragile system, whose durability is sensitive to natural phenomena, as evidenced by some of the documentation work carried out, where he rescued images of wild animals entering these data centres and endangering the livelihood of the digital world.

Mario Santamaría

Finally, Maia Navas, recently arrived from Argentina, shared with us the afternoon of Saturday 29th in a chat in which she told us about her creative work as well as her experience at the head of Play-Videoarte, a festival entirely dedicated to this discipline that she co-founded in 2012, and that in these six editions has combined an annual exhibition with a program of activities that take place in the City of Corrientes (Argentina), at the Cultural Centre of the University Extension that depends on the National University of the Northeast (UNNE).

Maia has a degree in psychology, as well as a degree in arts and technology, and combine her artistic career with teaching. The impact of psychology among her work topics is evident, and some of her video works try to delve into disturbing and perplexing aspects of human behaviour, such as the series "Procedures" that we could watch during the presentation. In it, the artist portrays the daily lives of people affected by OCD syndrome with an excellent visual narrative that puts the accent, almost with a cinematographic vision, on the personal experience of this phenomenon.

Maia Navas, foto de Marc Cisneros

From Art Madrid, we want to thank all these artists for sharing their creative experience with us and giving us the opportunity to dialogue with them about their present and future projects.