Mendes Wood DM São Paulo presents 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 the maximum amount of 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.
Paulo Nimer Pjota (São José do Rio Preto, 1988) lives and works in São Paulo.
His recent solo exhibitions include The history in repeat mode – image, Mendes Wood DM,Brussels (2017); The history in repeat mode – symbol, Maureen Paley / Morena di Luna,Hove (2017).
His works have also been included in collective institutional exhibitions such as Painting | or | Not, The KaviarFactory, Lofoten, Norway (2017); Soft Power, Kunsthal KAdE,Amersfoort (2016); Here There, Qatar Museums – Al Riwaq, Doha (2015); ImagineBrazil, Astrup Feranley Museet, Oslo (2013) / DHC / Art Foundation for Contemporary,Montreal (2015); 12 Biennale de Lyon, Lyon (2013).
Mendes Wood DM would like to thank Coleção Ivani & Jorge Yunes for their generous involvement in this exhibition with the loan of antiquities.