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24.08.2019 – 8.11.2019
Cenas de Casa
Curatorial text: Júlia Rebouças
Cenas de Casa (House Scenes) was the title of the book section on still life that Paulo Nimer Pjota was reading. The page was marked, the references followed the editing sequence: compositions with fruits, porcelains, musical instruments, pipes, wildlife, kitchen utensils, which were presented along with the trim and texture of the fabrics, the depiction of light and shadow, the crossed planes of tables and surfaces that work as the basis and background for the scenes. Being still nature a classic genre of painting, it is not surprising that the artist focused on its basics to work on the series now exhibited as part of the Caixa de Pandora project, in which contemporary artists develop exhibitions related to the Ivani and Jorge Yunes collection.
What brings this reference to still life to stand out in the works presented is that the echoes of art history are mixed with countless other mentions, in a vocabulary that permeates children’s drawings, advertisements, logos, popular typography, urban inscriptions.
To present the 10 paintings and one installation in his exhibition, the artist roamed freely through the various rooms and reserves that host the impressive Yunes collection. He then selected a set of vases that have been used as central elements for each work. The different origins and the varying dating of the objects matter only as a side reference, indicated in the subtitle of the paintings and denoted by the laxity of categories such as ‘orient’ or ‘regions in conflict’. Despite the accurate imagetic representation, the different scales between objects are not present in their recreations, which causes a tiny vase of coloured glass to be put on the scene as a flower holder, for example. According to the artist, what connects all these pieces, despite the differences between them, is the possibility they have to be seen as ordinary objects, such as those that fill containers arriving daily all over the world and flooding popular markets with their Made in China stamps. If each of the chosen vases retains their importance as objects by their ability to synthesize power and value, they are challenged by an artistic gesture that denies their authority.
Away from the walls and displayed on self-supported structures, the paintings claim their autonomy from the context, even if they relate directly to its surroundings. Rugs and vases have been chosen by Pjota to relate to the scenes depicted in the works. Sometimes mimetically, sometimes emulating subtle differences, objects beyond the two-dimensionality of canvases render complexity to formal choices and produce views that may be multiplied by the visitor’s willingness to create his own compositions confronted with the surrounding architectural plans. The Smiles series of paintings, by inserting a smile of pop iconography on each canvas, thus creating humorous faces, underlines the works as anarchic characters that phagocytize their references as criticism or irony, but nevertheless honoring them.
While giving it the name Cenas de Casa, Pjota also asks whose house we are dealing with. There is, in his works, a recurring tension in between private and public spaces; this is something that is also present in the absolute de-hierarchization of icons of the supposed “high culture” and “popular” manifestations, or in the fusion between the auratic instance of the learned artistic entity and the mere dilution quality of the product for mass consumption. The street is, in the author’s language, the place of idiosyncrasies of difference. From there come the slogans which, in a gesture of insubordination and urgency, are inscribed on the walls, the doors, the banners, and which are brought to the artist’s works. It is also from this collective space that emerge elements almost always unnoticed for their ordinary character, such as stickers placed on newsstands, the stripe of a graphic sign, the drawings on the dishcloths sold at traffic lights, the codes in graffiti, the several layers of paint cleaning up the façades, hiding stories and seeking an order that almost always tends to sanitation.
In the garden, sculptures have been moved to the center of the lawn and seem to relate to the potted cacti whose visual harshness contrasts with the house’s landscaping. As invasive species, the plants carry in their stems engravings of names, phrases and graphics that mark the non-conformity with the social codes of hegemonic artistic languages. Depending on the perspective, these universes of reference may seem immiscible in their structural antagonisms, or commutable by the differences that underlie any existence based on otherness.
About the artist
Paulo Nimer Pjota (São José do Rio Preto, 1988). lives and works in São Paulo.
His most recent solo exhibitions include Cenas de Casa, Caixa de Pandora, Ivani e Jorge Yunes Collection, São Paulo (2019); Medley, Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo (2018); The history in repeat mode — image, Mendes Wood DM, Brussels (2017); The history in repeat mode — symbol, Maureen Paley / Morena di Luna, Hove (2017). Additionally, his work has been included in institutional group exhibitions such as Private Passion – New Acquisitions in the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Astrup Fearnley, Oslo (2019); Trouble in Paradise, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam (2019); Sea of Desire, Fondation Carmignac, Porquerolles (2018); Going it is own way, KRC Collection, Voorschoten (2018); The Marvellous Cacophony, Biennial of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Serbia (2018); O Triângulo Atlântico, 11ª Bienal de Artes Visuais do Mercosul, Porto Alegre (2018); Painting |or| Not, The KaviarFactory, Lofoten (2017); Soft Power, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort (2016); 19º Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo (2015); Here There, Qatar Museums – Al Riwaq, Doha (2015); Imagine Brazil, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2013) / DHC/Art Foundation for Contemporary, Montreal (2015); 12 Biennale de Lyon, Lyon (2013).