Art Madrid'24 – 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

Mixed media on canvas

51 x 51cm

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.

 

Francesca Poza. Courtesy of the artist.

ARTE & PALABRA. CONVERSATIONS WITH CARLOS DEL AMOR

Thread is one of the most seemingly fragile materials in existence, yet a combination of threads can be indestructible. It is the triumph of fragility over brute force.

Among its many virtues, thread has its meaning, both real and imagined. It is a word that oozes poetry and makes us think of following a trail, sometimes infinite. Francesca Poza (Mataró, 1965) adds the written word to the many virtues of thread, giving her works a firmness that is always delicate but almost impossible to break. She weaves between letters and memory, pieces that seek to establish what has been lived, to leave a trace in a world that is increasingly ephemeral, more fleeting, more liquid, more elusive. In his work, poetry, literature and time intertwine in a harmonious way, resulting in creations of beautiful originality that are as subtle as they are powerful.

Perhaps Francesca has managed to give an answer to what Carmen Laforet wondered in "Nada", when she said: Who can understand the thousand threads that unite the souls of men and the reach of their words?

The poet reborn. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

If you had to define yourself as an artist, in one sentence, how would you define yourself?

I could define myself as a multidisciplinary artist who poetizes matter.

The thread even predates the advent of writing, perhaps it's not exact, but I like to think that it began to "write" by spinning... Then came the written word, and in this encounter full of history and ancestors is your work. Spun words, sounds good, doesn't it?

Spun words sound good, the subtlety of the thread that organizes time, the connection, the continuity, the rhythm of literature without reading, because it is a very recurrent phrase in my work, that as the weft is made and unmade, the work and the poetry reappear.

As if they were chains. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

Why does everyone say that you are unclassifiable? Don't you think we live for labels? It's nice to be difficult to classify. Do you feel like a "freak"?

No, I don't feel like a freak. I like the fact that I am unclassifiable. It's difficult to define me as a sculptor, an engraver, or a weaver. I try to make poetry with the material I have, to make the fragile speak to us, to transport us; the paper as matter and the thread as symbol, to penetrate us.

When one stops in front of your work one has two sensations, well three, one of tranquility, the other two are paradoxical because the first impression is one of fragility, however, after a while you realize that these "threads" are strong because they are united and have made common cause. It's a bit like so many things in life, isn't it?

Yes, that's really what I'm looking for, to express peace and tranquility above all. We are going through very difficult times and I like to express the good that people have inside us.

Testament of Oscar Wilde. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

Memory is an intimate territory that sometimes betrays us, and forgetting is its main enemy. Is your work against forgetting?

Yes, the art of remembering and forgetting is a recurring theme in my work, because I had and still have the idea that we have to be something, that something has to remain in our memory. So I try to create a poetics that is embodied in different aspects of creativity. You could say that this essence of a series of needs, of leaving a permanent record, is because we don't want to be forgotten, and this is a way I have of expressing myself.

Your work is very poetic... What do you think is impossible to poeticise?

There is nothing impossible, nothing that cannot be poeticised. And yes, my work is poetic, why weave, what for? Poetry and weaving travel in the imagination and come together. Visual art, manual art, in short: poetry.

Music of broken windows.Hahnemühle paper 300gr. 2023.

The thread leaves a trace, the words leave a trace... Your work leaves a trace. Where do you want it to go?

Words leave traces and I want my work to leave traces: the feelings and sensations of the viewer. That the work of art is not just for decoration, but something that when you wake up in the morning, you look at it and you feel different again, that it leaves you with something to feel.

Where do you think your work is going?

My work itself, I don't know where it's going, it leads the way, it guides me day after day. I would like to be able to continue weaving poems that travel in the imagination, to enter and leave through the multiple paths that the material and the feelings take me.