Chifa, Karaoke, Telo l Gabriel Acevedo Velarde
11. September - 1. November, 2014
Arratia Beer is pleased to present Chifa, Karaoke, Telo, Gabriel Acevedo Velarde's second solo exhibition at the gallery. The artist's latest project brings together the political potential of pop music and his keen interest in the blurry area between the individual and the institutional space.
Acevedo Velarde's recent exhibitions have gravitated around the conflict between the aspirational wishes of ordinary citizens, the space of the State and the local mythology of modernity. For example in Paranormal Citizen (commissioned by the Museum Reina Sofía, Madrid, in 2013), the artist produced a feature film in the format of a TV show. In the show, janitors, building guards and other employees of public offices are interviewed about their encounters with ghosts in the Peruvian Palace of Justice, the Ministry of Work and other state offices.
Acevedo Velarde's interplay between a critical and a playful approach towards the production of pop culture takes a step forward in this exhibition. Three music videos produced by Estado Sincopado (Syncopated State) - Acevedo Velarde's one man band, incorporate electronic and Latin music and are edited in a collage fashion that references William Burroughs' cut-up practice. The first, entitled El Peruano Trome, depicts a “verbal battle” of rhyming fragments extracted from two Peruvian newspapers: El Peruano (the official, State-sponsored newspaper) andTrome (the top-selling gossip tabloid). In Psicotécnico the second video, Acevedo Velarde takes apart a training brochure used to prepare students and prospective employees for the psychological exams given by universities and companies to evaluate applicants. The result is a visual and aural poem where the free association of random rhymes creates new meanings. For the third video Chifa, Karaoke, Telo the artist photographed billboards placed in the avenues surrounding Lima's airport. The images are edited to compose verse-images which lampoon Peru's celebration and desire for modernity; as in the slogan: “Welcome to Peru/ a new country./ Innovation and talent/ in the service of the new image.”
As a counterpoint to the videos, 32 monochromatic paintings are displayed in sequence. What at first appears like austere abstract paintings are at a closer look, depictions of graphic signs which bring to mind the regimented visual sign system found in what Marc Augé defined as “non-places”: the lobby of a hotel, airports, shopping malls. The exhibition space is thus transformed to obliquely evoke such a non-place of consumption, circulation and (fictitious) communication.
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