Bortolami is pleased to present Heads / Torsos, Nicolas Guagnini’s fourth solo show with the gallery and his first at 55 Walker. The exhibition consists of two series of small oil paintings; one of hyper-stylized heads and another of torsos. These new works spring from psychedelic drawings Guagnini produced over the last 18 months, before translating the motifs into oil paint on canvas.1
Guagnini’s Heads paintings are suspended between symbol and illusion. From Mesoamerican glyphs to commercial illustration, surrealism and graffiti, the Heads, as in all the artist’s work, allude to a layered set of visual references. High and low, flatness and illusionary depth, cohere seductively in the paintings. Particular allusions are made to artist and writer Asger Jorn’s seminal essay “What Is an Ornament” (1948), which argues the ornamental as, and derived from, nature’s formal language. Guagnini’s figures are a byproduct of dynamic ornamentation, in which the figure dissolves into...ornament itself, with each swirling arabesque resolving in a human profile. Set against smooth gradients and set upon a horizon line, the heads appear monolithic despite their diminutive scale; Guagnini’s dynamic ornamentation proposes a monumental object.
Guagnini’s Torso series, heavily influenced by Thangka, Tibetan anatomical medical paintings, proposes a correspondence between interior and exterior, organizing color within swirling, organic motifs. The pictorial idioms of post-impressionism and early Dubuffet dovetail with his surface treatments—he daubed, scraped, and combed oil paint to create impastoed, textured surfaces. Free of the gradient environments of the Heads paintings, the Torsos appear disembodied. While operating separately, the Heads and Torsos can’t help but write a thorough line, generating a visual narrative of organic processes inside the body. Though disassociated, the mind and body echo one another. The ambiguous snaking line of, or within, or on, the body.
Nicolás Guagnini (b. in 1966 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) has lived and worked in New York since 1998. Guagnini’s video and performance work will be the subject of a forthcoming solo exhibition at Mishkin Gallery at CUNY Baruch in New York. Next year, he will have one-person shows at MACRO Rome and FRAC Grand Large – Hauts-de-France, Dunkirk. Recent solo exhibitions include Twilight of the Idols, Tarble Art Center, Charleston, IL; The Walrus, 3A Gallery, New York; Union Gaucha Productions, Artists Space, New York. Recent group exhibitions include Therapy, MALBA, Buenos Aires; 100 Drawings from Now, The Drawing Center, New York; Publishing as Artistic Toolbox: 1989-2017, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; Sinister Feminism: A.I.R. Gallery’s 12th Biennial Exhibition, curated by Piper Marshall, New York; Bread and Roses, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Dancing Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Sao Paulo; Descartes’ Daughter, Swiss Institute, New York; A Drawing Show Curated by Dan Graham, Micheline Swajcer, Antwerp; and Notations: The Cage Effect Today, Hunter College Art Gallery, New York. He was a founder of Orchard Gallery (2005-2008), the film collective Union Gaucha Productions, and his writings have been published in October, Texte zur Kunst, and the recent catalogue for Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts. He also designed DICKFACE, a typography available at dickface.me
Entrada actualizada el el 05 oct de 2021
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