Thursday, August 11, 2005

Gorrilla, though not Girls

Juan de la Mora is a Chicago-born Mexican-American artist living in Madrid. His background is in architecture, but his true passion seems to be stencil art. His works are precise games of colors and forms, often introduced in "low-profile" street contexts. While it is clear de la Mora spent a substantial amount of time experimenting with graffiti on the streets, it is no less clear that in his recent works he takes it to another level, creating multi-layered works with autoCAD (architectural software) and specialized cutting-plotting machines. The exhibition I saw in Montemor-o-Velho (here in Portugal) had two distinct parts. One was the manipulation of the word manipulation, starting with a line and then turning it into a wor(l)d that could be inhabited, though remaining ambiguous, something between a room, a house, an abstract form, very much in the modernist spirit. The other (partially shown here) was a grungy, funky yet surprizingly clean way of playing with stencil forms, using the theme of a gorrilla to create dense, powerful imagery. The two parts might seem completely different, until you meet the man - and discover his passion for art, architecture, street creation, freedom, traveling, and... cooking. His dream - to have a restaurant were everything would be de la Mora design. From the space, through colors, smells and tastes. Now that's a new way of understanding Gesamtkunstwerk!

What is it I like so much about the gorrillas? This particular one is called "You and I". Without it's black color (the original model was a famous albino gorilla) it seems humanlike, but also, abstract, unreal, as if it were some sort of a hidden symbol or code, or maybe a map of something. It appears out of the white as, well, sorry, but as a shroud (as in the Turin one). A shroud is the proof of existence, and that's how this feels. Also, it gives me the idea of a medical image, some sort of analysis, so the stains become even more ambiguous and challenging. How do you read a face?

The works are part of the group exhibition Reflexiones at the Galeria Torre de Relógio, in Montemor-o-Velho, which is on until October.

1 comment:

Diran Lyons said...

Good to see you are back, and with of course some outstanding writing and links. Thanks!


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