A statement against the self-imposed pressure on artists who create in search of originality or those who end up seeing their art turned into a product whose value is solely imposed by the market. Thus, the strategy of capitalism that manages to keep the consumer constantly expectant with the dictatorship of novelty is fought. At the same time, this is an ironic gesture given the contradiction between the title and the fact that all the pieces included at the show will be presented for the very first time.ADN Galeria in Barcelona presents Nothing New, the fourth Carlos Aires’ solo show (14.12.2019 – 29.02.2020) which shows his most recent and unreleased works. They can be considered representative of his career because all the subjects and elements which have flooded his production since he became an artist in the late nineties are present: integration of music, from old records to song lyrics, the inclusion of popular characters and money as a representation of power.Approaching Carlos Aires’ figure means to open ourselves to the possibility of art where antagonistic elements coexist; perversion, catastrophe, festivity, violence, desire, passion, suffering, death. His work is, in the end, the opening of a playful and tragic space while pointing out an unexpected equivalence between pain and pleasure. Obsessed with technical perfectionism, the artist works with different artisans specialized in ceramics, metal or wood. As a result, his works have a sophisticated finishings that contains traces of Baroque, a style very present in the Andalusian culture in which Carlos Aires grew up, as reflected by the use of golden surfaces and the great profusion of elements, from which is derived a nostalgic and kitsch aesthetic.
Lush materialization nevertheless offers a deep critique of today’s society. The artist’s ironic vision notes without falling into the vain provocation an immune consumer society which shows up unimpressed by the major catastrophes of our time. to this effect, he turns to the public imagination by using images from the mass media or different popular characters’ effigies.Nothing New is articulated in two connected spaces. In the hallway visitors are greeted by the series Bienvenido Mister Marshall: 7 linear meters of adjoining banknotes crossed by a double barbed wire which review recent Spanish history. In the main room, we find different pieces made with porcelain, such as Shadows installation, which brings together more than 100 porcelain figurines typical of Valencia in which the characters have been painted black as if they were shades.Moreover, the series “Canciones de amor para tiempos de crisis” stands out, composed of 9 large format images made with banknotes from all around the world which celebrate the universality of music, and the installation “Like tears in rain”: a wall full of found pictures which form a pictorial vibration difficult to decipher in the distance but which reveals a group of golden drops sliding down the wall when we approach it. Lágrimas de oro…Carlos Aires’ work is a Molotov cocktail prepared thus:
- Play “Sweet dreams (are made of this)” at high volume. Avoid using any other version than Eurythmics original.
- Drop a few Southern Spanish Baroque memories into a cocktail shaker.
- Add one part Goya’s spirit, one part triple XXI century catastrophe and a dash of uncontrollable spiced desire.
- Muddle hours of Buñuel, Cassavetes, Hitchcock and Lynch films.
- Pour two fresh tears directly from your left eye.
- Burn the highest banknote available over the drink, coating the cocktail with a slick of dark oil.
- Add some melting Antarctic ice cubes.
- Stir thoroughly and shake with enigmatic slow movements until cold. May cause epileptic fits!
- Serve in a beautiful bohemian glass from your grandmother.
- Top up with a non-religious speech in your own language.
- Garnish with a twist of today’s newspaper using an African raft chopping board and a Mediterranean sharp knife to cut it. War news creates a contemporary bitter flavour.
- Enjoy but just enough. Don’t snuff good old H20. Stay refreshed by sipping water between drinks.
- Dance if possible.
Carlos Aires, Put-être reine d’Angleterre?, 2018
CARLOS AIRES (Ronda – Spain, 1974)
The work of Carlos Aires is inspired by personal experience and obsessions; the collision with a contradictory, and sometimes absurd, existence is transposed into his artworks. Aires depicts an uncomfortable reality through beautiful and attractive productions, leading the spectator to a multi-layered understanding to discover a perturbing and politically incorrect dimension beyond appearance. He gives a semantic turn to established icons and values by re-contextualizing ready-made raw materials, employing fragile and yet charged objects (old vinyl records, paper, currencies), and pointing out a critical position towards contemporary neo-liberal society.
His works were recently presented individually at Centre d’art et de photographie in Lectoure; Museo Cerralbo, Madrid; CDAN Centro de Arte y Naturaleza, Huesca; Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander; CAC, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga; or Centro de Arte de Alcobendas also in Madrid. Among the collective exhibitions in which he has participated stand out¡Dulces Sueños! At les Abattoirs, Toulouse; XXV años de la Colección Alcobendas at Centro de Arte Alcobendas in Madrid; A short century: MACBA Collection, at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; En plan travesti (y radical) at Tabacalera, Madrid; Extraña Varsovia at Centro Cultural Maria Victoria Atencia in Málaga; Abierto-Abierto at Estudios Los Guayabamos in Guadalajara, Mexico; Black Disguises at MMSU, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka; PIGS, Artium, Vitoria; Les mondes inversés, B.P.S.22, Charleroi; 5th Thessaloniki Biennale; and Bucharest Biennale 6.