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Synthesis between contradictory ideas and the plurality of the object as image I

20/02 2016 – 26/03 2016

A common atmosphere of collectively composed panels – including street murals, vernacular constructions and public bathrooms – permeate Paulo Nimer Pjota's entire body of work. By leading a study of popular iconography that deliberately seems conducted by multiple hands, the artist produces in the tension between randomness and a meticulous compositional practice. The results are intense sceneries that emulate a collage of several layers. 

With a penchant for working on large surfaces, Pjota makes use of canvases, sacks and large metal plates as a support. For the most part, these materials are found in junkyards and scrap heaps after a process of searching, negotiation, appropriation and displacement. Naturally, the pieces feature graphic – and spiritual – marks from their previous functions, directly influencing what could come about afterward. In these spaces, visual narratives emerge that combine art history with the complexity of the contemporary social imagination. While they underscore the cliches of figurative and landscape paintings, they blend together with banal, easy to find elements. 

As evidenced by the works found in this exhibition entitled Synthesis between contradictory ideas and the plurality of the object as image, they are whirlwinds of references and thoughts that traverse a series of fields of research, study and experience. Led by movements that vibrate with consternation, irony, contemplation and protest, they create anachronisms that address the handling of icons and indexes and their roles in the power relationships have afflicted us throughout history. We thus witness the juxtaposition of stickers with still lifes; Ancient Greek vases with superheroes; modernist sculptures with African masks; archaeological artifacts with soda cans. 

Out of this turbulent heap, stories are built. Impregnated with metaphors, analogies and suggestions, they absorb and reformulate the world as a constellation of bodies suspended in the void. Though superficially there is some disorientation, each gesture points to a precise allegory and complex connections. Nonetheless, rather than clear and linear, they end up as chaotic situations; instead of adhering to a single, fluid understanding, innumerable alternatives of contextualization encircle one another. In effect, it becomes possible to reconfigure our sensibility with that which is most prosaic in our surroundings. 

Two of the artist's main interests, the conflict inherent to peripheral areas of any urban context and the shared perceptions of a globalized planet, are constantly shaken up here. Attracted by the historical processes that involve these subjects, Pjota delves into the language of the ghettos and mass cultures, emerging with an extensive repertoire, which is later made instrumental in characterizing sensations of violence and uproar. His overall concern is with the very cultural formation of these ordinary places, where he seeks to dialogue with traumas and public catharses in a free manner and without judgment of value. On this point, high and low culture, art and vulgarity, the canon and slang are presented side by side, there is no nuclear importance in the narrative flow: simply a variety of voices speaking together in a combined rumble. 

Aware of the mechanisms and contradictions of the so-called Digital Era, in which countless images are generated every second while simultaneously compounding inequalities, he mocks the way we formulate information and distribute our affections. In his cosmology, the structural relationship between the parts and the whole is no longer supported by a division of classes. And to the extent that his global fables are inundated by insignificant phenomena and fibers of fabrics that are marginalized by traditionally representative fundamentals, they also point to new possibilities for social interaction. 

Paulo Nimer Pjota (São José do Rio Preto, 1988) lives and works in São Paulo. His solo exhibitions include, Synthesis between contradictory ideas and the plurality of the object as image, Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo (2016); Sistema Relacional, Paço das Artes São Paulo, São Paulo (2013), Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo (2012), Mostra do programa de exposições – Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo (2012). Pjota's work has recently been featured in group exhibition incluing, The World is Made of Stories, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, (2015/2016); Cidade Inquieta, Sesc-Rio Preto, São José Rio Preto, São Paulo (2015); Imagine Brazil, DHC/Art Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal (2015/2016); 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil – Southern Panoramas, Sesc Pompéia, São Paulo (2015); Here There, Here There, QM Gallery Al Riwaq, Doha (2015); Entre-temps... Brusquement, et ensuite, 12e Biennale de Lyon, Lyon (2013) Paperview, John Jones Limited_Project Space, London (2009), Volúvel, Museu de Arte Contemporanêa do Paraná, Curitiba (2008), from others. His work is included in permanent collections of Rubbel Family Collection, Miami; Foundation Pinault, Venice; Domus Collection, Hong Kong; MAC-Lyon, Lyon; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Centro Cultural São Paulo; Lodoveans Collection, London; Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo; Pinacoteca de São José do Rio Preto, Piracicaba.  

– Germano Dushá

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