NEWS

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MEASURE


Measure: Solo Show by Jojo Serrano

“I have a soft spot for secret passageways, bookshelves that open into silence, staircases that go down into a void, and hidden safes. I even have one myself, but I won’t tell you where.”
-Luis Buñuel

Don’t believe Jojo Serrano when he says his works have no meaning. No matter what, don’t believe him.

Standing in front of one of his paintings, it’s easily understandable why. His works have a depth that is so in-your-face that one has to wonder why he doesn’t budge on his, “My work has no meaning.” stance.

Case in point: Johnson’s Pyramid. This homage to architect Philip Johnson mainly consists of interrelated triangles set in a garden. Intriguing from the very first sight, the geometrical shapes bring to mind goal post, playgrounds, and other famous pyramids such as the one found at the Louvre among other things. The artist, when asked about these shapes, the triangles in particular, gave his standard answer, “They don’t mean anything.” What is interesting though is that he himself wonders why these triangles keep resurfacing in his works, even prompting him to say, “Tell me more about my subconscious.”

The same goes for another of his pieces: Chandelier House. It’s one of those paintings that immediately offers a story: cast in dark gray, a house hangs from chains as ornamental chandeliers larger than the house itself loom over its roof. If a Paul Éluard poem were translated into a painting it would look like this one, Éluard known to be one of the founders of the Surrealist movement. Don’t tell Serrano that this composition is gloomy though – he will not agree, and instead will choose to focus on the sheer number of things to be seen in his painting. He’s right, because as dark as Chandelier House is, it is also extensively intricate, almost feminine, even pretty - perhaps as "beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella."

The grandest piece of the show, Cornucopia, is a Surrealist wet dream. All the objects that he constantly uses in his art are there: the mysterious brown parcel, which upon closer inspection turns out to be based on the Surrealist artist Man Ray’s photo entitled The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse, the wooden board with a hinge which is a blown up mouse trap, the stool with a rag hanging by its rungs, a sight usually seen at a house under construction. It is a mosaic. It is a mental tunnel, tumbled and shackled with subconscious arrays, a work that would make Breton’s automatism proud. It truly is a giant masterpiece.

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