Monday, 26 August 2013

Art Is Trash: "Police and Horse"

 London West Bank Gallery
133 - 137 Westbourne Grove, London
15 - 23 Aug 2013

All photos: NoLionsInEngland

When mountains of rubbish started to take on a sculpted human form in Shoreditch, Londoners fell head over heels in love with trash art.  The work of Francisco de Parjaro is literally rubbish!

Francisco De Pajaro

He takes our rubbish, reassembles it into a cartoon figure and breaths life and personality into it.  Problem is,  there is almost no point in trying to find it the day after because what the artist Francisco has given, the bin man hath taken away.

In a recent guest post on Vandalog extolling the virtues of Art Is Trash’s street art, I wrote how wonderful it was to find a street artist working with ephemeral structures in a manner which clearly had no commercial agenda at all.  The day that was published, a show was announced so that will teach me. 

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Although his material is rubbish, his art is a long way from being crap.  Pajaro has done a brilliant job of bringing his street work into the gallery without diluting its impact.  About two thirds of the gallery is taken up with art and installations which connect very physically to wall, floor and ceiling and will be almost impossible to sell, they are created and installed where they are for the sake of art, the market has not been a factor in their creation.  Of course, that means about a third of the stuff is conventional selling art!

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Art does battle with the twin evils of money and authority in tableau assembled on the walls around the gallery.   Pink naked artists fart over police while broken chairs become the cavalry for art in its charge against authority.

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 The sins of indulgence and excess spend much time in the crosshairs of Pajaro's gun.  The extravagantly modified blonde in this piece with her tummy tucks and botox lips has overdone the boob jobs to the point of explosion.

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The installations are crudely executed yet amusing in a risqué way.  You may think that the framed painting embedded in the construction is for sale after being detached but check the bestial orgy taking place in the detail here, no wonder even the pink naked lady looks shocked.

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Some are just amusing and insane interactions with the fabric of the gallery, like this film projecting monster who looks like he’s about to rip out the source of power sustaining his very existence.

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One or two of the canvasses would lose all meaning without the associated image painted on the wall.  One or two would take on a totally new meaning and not necessarily one you’d want to display in front of the children, you’ll have to use your imagination.

A second thread to Francisco de Pajaro’s art consists of crazy little tableau of stick figures riding horses.   In a number of cases these drawings on the streets have looked a little “top shelf” and should your mum take the vicar to see this show, there may be some blushes upon close inspection of some of the cavalry on the walls here.  The ones painted directly on the wall appear to relish letting their equine hormones run away with them but the versions paint on canvas look like sweet little exercises in nursery art.  Not my cuppa to be honest, too twee.

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A motif that recurs through the show is the single white sock, mainly on the feet of coppers.  Pajaro says that this white sock was commonplace in the 80s and his mum made him wear them when he was a kid, to his disgust.  Curious thing to be haunted by!

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Although Art Is Trash seemed to be at war with authority and rich people, it is possible to take away some of his art in exchange for money.   Several pictures and mirrors had their frames painted on the outside in an energetic and aggressive way, this painting in particular with its nods to Basquiat in the layers and tribal tones looked stunning, not to mention a bit tidier in its eecution than the others which tended to be too messy.

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A small collection of intricately detailed stick figure drawings on canvas capture the eternal art v. authority battle.  

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El Arte Es Basura

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All in all this is an exciting and stimulating show with hugely energetic and colourful work on the walls from an imaginative artist/performer.  Unfortunately, like the work on the street this show has turned out to be surprisingly ephemeral so I apologise for writing this after the show closed.

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