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Paulo Nimer Pjota

01/12 2012 – 22/12 2012

Curator Gunnar Kvaran writes about Pjota’s practice:

Plants, crystals, skulls, flowers, human bodies, fishes, mechanical objects, crabs, body parts, isolated words and phrases float around in a variety of scales and sizes on the surface of Paulo Nimer Pjota’s canvases, seemingly in a haphazard and serendipitous way. His iconography comes from a long tradition of visual storytelling and from his experience as a graffiti artist on the streets of São Paulo, telling complex tales about human behavior and existence, and, most of all, about our relationship to the city.

However, Pjota’s narrative is never literal or direct, but rather metaphorical, atmospheric and suggestive, referring to and emphasizing the randomness of found objects, signs and materials, all of which are complemented by the viewer’s imagination. In his urban landscape one encounters a non-hierarchical, non-linear constellation of images, open narratives where one slips from one level of meaning to another, and where time and space are in a perpetual state of flux. Painted on a white background, Pjota’s sign-objects often show or suggest the presence of violence and insecurity, generated by a play of oppositions. Guns, wild animals, aggressive and frightening mouths, armor, machines and weapons come into confrontation with soft and vulnerable human bodies.

Pjota’s use of graffiti tags, unconventional materials like the metal plates that he finds in the city, as well as the large scale of his paintings, all derive from his earlier life as a street artist, strengthening his reference to the urban landscape. Visitors to his studio are invited to add their own forms and figures, words and texts, in pencil and crayons, just as people might do on walls in public spaces. These signs further disorient Pjota’s multiple narratives, which are built up from fragments and expressed through varying degrees of realism. Rendered with great skill, his imagery takes one’s perception towards the sublime, but simultaneously reveals a state of mind governed by feelings of attraction, repulsion and compulsion.

Ever since the Middle Ages, Western painting has enjoyed an intriguing and complicated dialogue with reality. Artists have researched a myriad ways of representing the real, developing new narrative structures that can both incorporate and translate the complexity of reality. They have even gone beyond normal perception into metaphysical, religious, spiritual and psychological territory, and more recently, into the surreal and the hyperreal.

During the last century, the greater complexity revealed by science and technology has rendered these questions particularly intense and relevant to contemporary artists. Pjota is no exception, inventing a new visual poetry as a vehicle to confirm and contextualize his experience of São Paulo, which can also be seen as a metaphor for urban experience on a global scale.

Paulo Nimer Pjota was born in Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Brazil. He lives and works in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Recent group exhibitions include SESC_Videobrasil, SESC Belenzinho, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2011); Paperview, John Jones Limited_Project Space, London, UK (2009); Ilegitimo, Paço das artes, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2008). Solo exhibitions include Considerações sobre o branco, Galeria Choque Cultural, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2010); Walking in the White, Anno Domini Gallery, San José, USA (2009).

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