Paulo Nimer Pjota and Runo Lagomarsino at Mendes Wood, São Paulo
Paulo Nimer Pjota “Medley”
Mendes Wood DM São Paulo is pleased to present the third solo exhibition of Paulo Nimer Pjota in the gallery. Continuing his research into the iconographic structures that comprise the collective imagination of art history and inhabit the universe of mass culture, the artist uses metal plates and raw canvas as a support for the constellations of images that surround him, an exercise of appropriation and co-relations.
At a first glance, the set of Western icons that move through popular and erudite culture are part of the artist’s purpose to bring together references that represent institutional authority. The icons are drawn in a hyper realistic way and bring to mind stickers that have been glued on metal plates that are often found in the streets. The mobility of these stickers reveals the fluid values and interpretations these icons can have whether they are sacred or ordinary. Placing them in a new context results in a rhythmic temporal displacement that include images of Sumerian gods and cartoon characters from the 90s.
In the work Cada cabeça uma sentença, three god’s heads from different periods of antiquity are painted with a specific blue pigment from Chefchaouen, a city in the north of Morocco. Inhabitants of the city, that is known for being covered in the blue paint, believe that the color brings them closer to God, the same God who is responsible for the ‘sentence’ that lends its title to the work.
The overlapping set of references question the right of reproducing images in different contexts and provoke a discussion about signifiers and meaning. Pjota puts into perspective the relations between power structures, the inability to be individual within a bureaucratic system and an administered freedom that functions within the limitations of a quotidian context. In this sense, Medley is an exercise of gathering iconographies of politics, history, music and fashion in order to rethink their meaning.
Runo Lagomarsino “No element, however has the final word in the construction of the future”
Mendes Wood DM São Paulo is pleased to present the third solo exhibition of the Swedish-Argentine artist Runo Lagomarsino. Lagomarsino unites new and previous works that elaborate on the legacy of colonialism, geopolitics, cultural boundaries andpower relations from an almost untraceable melancholic perspective.
In the first room, the wall is completely stamped with the words America Amnesia, reflecting on the erasure in the Americas’ historiographical process and its culturaltransformations. At the same time, the work questions the reading of the wordAmerica as referring exclusively to the United States. A Ford Falcon 78 lamp illuminates one of the walls, a lamp taken from a car model known in Argentina for being used by paramilitary government forces in kidnappings and “desaparecimientos” during the dictatorship. Forces like the Triple A (ArgentinianAnti-Communist Alliance).
A light that has no shadow.
To lighten the eyes in the darkness, to remove the melancholy, to comfort the weakness ofthe heart and to bring joy and magnitude; these are soothing properties attributed togold by a Spanish goldsmith, half a century after the conquest of New Spain.However, when Hernán Cortés told Montezuma that he and his fellow conquerors were suffering from a heart disease that only gold could cure, was he referring to thats ame weakness? Was he expecting empathy from the Aztecs, believing that they could not deny him their medicine? Or was he expressing the awareness that the Metropolisis defined only by the Other, by the gold of Other (Ouro do Outro)? Does Cortés deceive Montezuma in order to supply the crown’s treasury, or does he acknowled get he weakness of the system?
The inseparable relationship between conquest and dependence is one of theconvergence points of the works in the exhibition. The works are not presented aseffortless creations.- be them applied in the gallery space, in a branded baseboard suggesting a domesticity , or repeatedly stamped on the walls, using a bureaucratic tool – the stamp – creating a mural, or silkscreens applied vertically to the wall, contradicting the natural flow of the ink. On the contrary, the works produce friction, occupying a position where the past is not static, but fluid and negotiable.
A caravel covered by fog, an illustration from the book Primera crónica y buen gobierno written by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayalas and a clipping from a British newspaper with the caption A soft stroke and … A farewell kiss. The newspaper shows the greek actress and political activist Melina Mercouri visiting the Parthenon in the British Museum, as Minister of Culture campaigning for the temple’s repatriation. The mist that makes the horizon disappear (or the vessel), the Inca’s account that shows the extraction of an eye and therefore the ability to see, the eyes of the minister weeping over the marble that today holds the name of its discoverer; they are different gestures of resistance visible on the sanded walls.
at Mendes Wood, São Paulo
until 17 May 2018