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Pepe Mar, Hunga Bunga

Freight + Volume
530 West 24th Street, 212-989-8700
July 27 - September 1, 2006
Reception: Thursday, July 27, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Excerpted from “Guanajuato” by David Castillo, 2005.

Mar’s technique is complex, bizarre, and vicious, infusing his works with color, glamour, and fashion. His collage monsters are like mannequins—slowly “painted,” coiffed, dressed, undressed, beautified, colorized, and “monstrosized”. He incorporates the detritus of everyday consumer life into his work.

The artist’s monsters present a serious addition to the discourse of art by presenting something known (collage, assemblage, ready-mades) in an enlightened way. Collage has been described as subterfuge because it functions as something that it is not physically: paper as painting or paper as traditional sculpture. It deceives, like Mar’s monsters, in its completed form. Alfred H. Barr was among the first in America to draw serious attention to collage, calling it “not merely a surface enrichment but an emphasis upon the sensuous tactile reality of the surface itself.”

The artist’s work is directly informed by Basquiat and Warhol (a master of consumer culture and what it encompassed best: money—- “Dollar Signs,” 1981). The aggressive nature in Mar’s work is reminiscent of such Basquiat works as “Notary,” 1983 or “The Italian version of Popeye has no Pork in his Diet,” 1982. Further influencing his work is Mar’s need to shop idly, strolling, and randomly selecting from consumer culture. There is also a direct influence in his art from circuit music. Losing oneself in the trance of dance music in a club is directly related to losing oneself in collage: there exists a musicality of color, form, and movement.

Mar’s art expresses a hybrid of emotions—from the fun of dressing up to the desperation of staring blankly, unable to do anything else. His monsters are escapists, fleeing from their points of departure, and allowing the viewer to escape through them into a fantasy of color and form. His individual objects transcend their origins to become objects of contemplation as whole sculptures. Mar’s work places objects of desire on display, objects that are a legacy of our culture and a “cut-up” critique of the fetishes of our affluent world.
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