The MEP presents “Coco Capitan: Busy Living”, the first institutional exhibition in France of the work of one of the most accomplished artists of her generation.
Coco Capitán became involved in the world of fashion at an early stage of her career, and quickly earned international renown as a fashion photographer. Often capturing her models in incongruous poses, she reinvents the relationship between self and body in fashion imagery, bringing her playful approach to the many luxury brands she works with, such as Gucci.
But the scope of her work is much broader than this: at just 26 years old, Coco Capitán is already an accomplished artist, one of the most prolific of her generation, combining photography, painting and performance with written material made up of slogans and aphorisms. This show at the MEP is not only the first ever institutional exhibition of her work in France; it is also a major exhibition that provides an extensive overview of her artistic approach.
Featuring over 150 works – photographs, paintings and previously unseen texts – Busy Living reveals the artist’s instinctive sensitivity to contemporary social issues, exploring connections between reality and perception and between beauty and subversion. She broadcasts her aphorisms via social media and reproduces them on canvas, urging us to live in the here and now despite being constantly encouraged to live in a projected future.
Conceived as an immersive journey through the artist’s world, “Busy Living” begins with a space in which several series are presented together and arranged by color. Next, the many series on display provide insight into the scope of Capitán’s prolific body of work.
Re ecting her interest in the representation and perception of the body, her “Fashion Without the Fashion” series is an integral part of the show, offering a fresh and thoughtful perspective on the familiar tropes of fashion imagery. In “Ten hours a day, six days a week” other bodies, those of members of the Spanish Olympic synchronised swimming team after a training session, highlight the intense physical effort made by athletes.
“Highway to disappearance and other death-related anxieties”, featuring landscapes of the American West photographed in the summer of 2017, focuses on derelict infrastructures acting as metaphors for the cycle of life. The installations, photographs and paintings com- prising the series ”Art and commerce after the Big Pop”, focusing in particular on Coca-Cola cans, reveal the artist’s critique of consumer society and reflect a close kinship with the Pop Art movement, which Coco Capitán has rechristened Big Pop.
The series “Middle Point Between My House and China” alludes to the highly personal relationship the artist has had with China, from her childhood (when she believed she could reach the other side of the Earth if she dug a deep enough hole in her garden) to the time she actually visited the country. Also included, a set of canvases emblazoned with her aphorisms and notebooks placed on display for the first time complete this immersive journey and provide a fascinating insight into the artist’s creative process.
The fact that Coco Capitán’s work is presented alongside an exhibition of works by Ren Hang is no mere coincidence: together they provide an alternative view of the intersecting trajectories of fashion, performance, text, and highly original approaches to the photographic image. Coco Capitán has always felt a affinity with the work of Ren Hang, and although they never met she corresponded with him on social media.Coco Capitán, Boy in Socks, 2017 © Coco Capitán, courtesy of the artist