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Mutant Painting

Mutant Painting


29 September 2006 - 7 January 2007
Exhibition hall on the first floor
From Tuesday to Saturday (including holidays), from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo
Ignacio Pérez-Jofre

Works on exhibition

This exhibition gathers nearly 60 artworks -paintings, drawings and installations- created with a variety of ‘pictorial' techniques, such as oil painting, acrylic, ink, vinyl, photography, enamel, etc., on different media. The very title and core of the exhibition is a reference to the ability of transformation and adaptation of painting, and its contamination with other artistic techniques, processes and media.


Painting is not dead. As a living organism, it adapts to new situations, it mingles and contaminates with everything that surrounds it -cinema, photography, design, architecture, urban planning, comic strips, illustration, etc.-, it feeds on the experiences of the surrounding culture and responds to them in a constant process of transformation. The term ‘mutant' makes reference to the idea of chance and adaptation to the environment, to the ability of painting to genetically transform itself, as a discipline undergoing a constant process of transformation and linked to equally dynamic internal and external circumstances.

MUTANT PAINTING presents the works of 16 Spanish artists that have lived and still live the crisis and renewal of painting. It shows a double movement, centripetal and centrifugal at the same time: on the one hand, the adding of resources, themes and aesthetics alien to painting, and on the other, the spatial and conceptual expansion of painting.

They are artists of a generation born at the end of the eighties and during the nineties, a decade when most of them started their artistic career. They are all linked to a particular contemporary sensibility and they all share, to a certain extent, common features: they have no prejudices against the structure and hierarchy of artistic genres; they are open and have abandoned fanatical subjectivity in favour of a communicative will and interaction with the public, which produces as a result the renewal of formal languages with a high power of seduction; they use media, materials, processes, images and ideas of other art fields and cultural environments; and they are very different and follow different trends, even within the work of the same artist.

The exhibition halls show many examples of these contaminations and mutations. The irruption of the outside world in the idealized space of the artist's studio in Pablo Alonso's artwork; Toño Barreiro's research on the boundaries and hybridizations of artistic genres; the use of materials taken from everyday life, the media, pornography and architecture in Manu Muniategiandikoetxea's works; the choice of cyborgs and aliens as symbol of the transformation of humans by Marina Núñez; the use of pre-existing artworks imbued with new meanings in Nono Bandera's installations; Eltono & Nuria's graffiti and small size mural paintings that merge constructivist painting and urban art; Juan Rivas' fleeting and dynamic gaze in landscapes that are just like road movies disguised as easel paintings; the irregularity of hand strokes mixed with photographic precision in Bosco Caride's urban scenes; the combination of industrial materials in Arancha Goyeneche's artworks; the physical expansion of painting in Daniel Verbis' installation; the scenographic quality of Enrique Marty's paintings-installations; Simeón Saiz Ruiz's use of painting as a way of intensifying perception; Salvador Cidrás' meticulous technique, which balances the manual process and the mechanical nature of the original image; the tradition of assemblage combined with a particular architectonic approach in Teo Soriano's small works; Teresa Moro's animate objects imbued with apparent coldness and descriptive neatness; and the visual impact of Din Matamoro's images, born in the cinema.


    Arancha Goyeneche
    Bosco Caride
    Daniel Verbis
    Din Matamoro
    Eltono & Nuria
    Enrique Marty
    Juan Rivas
    Manu Muniategiandikoetxea
    Marina Núñez
    Nono Bandera
    Pablo Alonso
    Salvador Cidrás
    Simeón Saiz Ruiz
    Teo Soriano
    Teresa Moro
    Toño Barreiro

Curatorial text

"This exhibition is a way of understanding painting based on the transformation of the pictorial genre. Its core thesis is the fact that painting has ceased to occupy a central and solid position in contemporary art because it has been displaced by other more recent disciplines such as video art, photography, and installation, etc. Painting has become vulnerable, fragile; but this enquiry, far from debilitating it, has in fact stimulated a change and development in the practice of painting.

In the last hundred years or so, painting has been declared dead on a number of occasions and for very different reasons: for being illusionist, for playing into the market system, for not being a medium of ideas but merely a provider of sensations... The last decade saw a certain hostility resurface with regard to the painterly after the flowering of the trans-avant-gardes of the 1980s. One of the arguments used against it was its excessive cultural baggage. Since it had come from the pinnacle of the arts hierarchy, it could not shed the connotations that such a position entailed: authority, property. This situation would mark out a clearly defined and closed aesthetic arena that imposed formal and conceptual limits. These would be transmitted unconsciously and insidiously, and without our realising we would be painting with inherited tools and devices that would deprive the medium of its ability to surprise, to renew itself. While these observations on painting have so far been of a cultural order, with no reference made to the material qualities of painting, they lose validity the moment that painting sheds these connotations. To do this, artists today have to be capable of dismantling this hierarchy and working with painting on an equal footing with regard to the other disciplines. That's why the model of the multimedia artist is so important: because it dismantles the structure of artistic genres, thereby preventing their hierarchisation.

Painting, then, is adequate when it is considered as just another medium and not as an end in itself. For the artists taking part in this exhibition, painting is not the central motif of their creative thinking, they don't confine their activity to a strictly painterly sphere, they don't defend the genre's essentialness (indeed, most of these artists work in other areas of art too). They use painting, photography and video with a clearly-defined purpose which is largely determined by their physical, visual and cultural qualities. So it's not really a question of techniques or formats, but of attitude.

The problem of the medium has a bearing on other issues that figure recurrently in the debate on painting: the genre is criticised for its staticism, its stable configuration, its physicity. It is believed that these qualities inherent to painting incapacitate it as a vehicle for transmitting aspects of contemporary reality, which is more fragmentary, changing, and virtual in nature, and better suited to electronic media and information networks. What I propose is a rejection of this polarisation of aesthetic concepts (material versus virtual, immediate versus mediated, static versus temporary...) that so often accompanies discussions on genre.

Just as a film can convey a sense of staticism and materiality (the material qualities and contemplative tempo of Tarkovsky, for example), so a static and material medium such as painting can allude to fleeting and non-material realities. The paintings shown in this exhibition are therefore not presented as an alternative to the technological media or the temporary arts, but rather as a dialogue held between both in a space interweaved by cultural relationships.

In that sense, this exhibition also aspires to help "normalize" the art scene so that painting is accepted as just another aesthetic option and technique available to contemporary artists. It is for this reason that we have chosen to confine the exhibition to the genre of painting (albeit understood in its broadest -contemporary- sense), and avoid the usual trick of modernising painting exhibitions by including supporting video, installation, and photography.

So the work is created in a transaction, an exchange between the artistic and cultural environments. It is not an introspective, quiet work, but an outgoing and even noisy one. Design, illustration, publicity, television, photography, film, sociology, architecture, urban planning... are implicit in this exhibition in the same measure that the painting is explicit.

As a consequence, the heterogeneity, hybridization, and mix of cultural ideas, attitudes and practices characteristic of the present day are also present in painting. Styles are juxtaposed and superposed freely; images are appropriated, manipulated and returned to the sphere of the public; concepts are reutilised, recycled, in this ongoing "post production" process described by Nicolas Bourriaud.

The way of understanding painting I propose here is inscribed in a new model of artistic dynamics based on the idea of mutation. Mutation is a random process of genetic transformation which enables species to evolve by virtue of their adaptation to the medium. The dynamics of avant-gardist progress conclude in post modernity, when all possibility of progress in art is denied. In contrast to this way of thinking, the metaphor of a mutant art asserts the possibility of change, not of autonomous, idealistic and utopian change like that which infused the avant-gardes, but of evolution behind the inevitable transformation of society. Like a mutant being, painting both develops strategies of adaptation to a similarly dynamic context and is instrumental to the transformation of that context."


Ignacio Pérez-Jofre

Ignacio Pérez-Jofre Santesmases (Madrid, 1965) is an artist and professor in the Faculty of Fine Art in the University of Vigo. He has presented individual exhibitions in the Museum of the University of Alicante, La Fábrica (Palencia), Galería Trinta (Santiago de Compostela), and Galería Bacelos (Vigo), among others. Lately, he has made performances in several festivals, such as IFI (Pontevedra, 2004) or IMÁN (Vilanova de Famalicão, 2005). He is the author of the book Huellas y sombras (A Coruña, 2001) and coordinator of Isto faino calquera (Pontevedra, 2004). He has organized and given seminars and workshops in collaboration with museum and art centres, such as MARCO in Vigo, CGAC in Santiago de Compostela, and Fundación Laxeiro in Vigo.