Born on March 12nd, 1981, Paulo Álvarez is a Colombian imperialist artist specialized in both graphic design and professional illustration with intense personal gloomy silhouettes leaning toward the brilliance and iniquity present in his pragmatic photographs. Besides his artistic deviances, he is also a highly valued professor at Universidad Católica de Colombia. On October 28th, we had the occasion to attend Canto Tercero, which concludes the trilogy from the odd Circulos Invisibles notion, which was previously exhibited at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Bogotá.
Canto Tercero portrays unfathomable seduction motions in between the irreligious and the solemn ceremonies of God-fearing practices spiritually inclined toward the incitement of religious perception and obscurity. It is a personal interpretation of spiritual facets entwined in a mystical experience within various scenarios without the contextualization of a definite timetable. An array of Sacro inquietudes aesthetically disposed throughout dark to lighter halls invite the spectator to travel through his/her mind and be accost with an ideology which lays intimacy portrayed through the darker spectrum of the artist. Indeed, if, in a lighter seductive aura, it may arouse a catharsis of symbolic ecstasies while indulging one’s mind in a personification of fabulous synchronous presences. Although, eloquently exhibited in a careful symmetry as if the spectator could be conveyed throughout the halls and with distinction be identified in a casual, yet powerfully unparalleled experience.
Paulo Álvarez’s contextualization is not entirely materialistic, as he steadily grasps the psyche of social controversy yet without detaching himself from the realistic dominions, therefore, mortifying moral indignation, torments, and artistic expressionism.
As we usher in throughout the illustrated halls, having Paulo Álvarez as our anfitrion, a fondness of mystical reminiscence scatters the dark countenance, as he thoughtfully unveils to us the abstraction beyond the artworks, in which much is left to be said, visually speaking.
In the first room on a lighter side, we spoke about one particular photograph, one oddly seems older than the others, a good-natured family relic which he transported into a photographic project. It is like the genesis of the entire visual series. A black man wearing a kind of clerical costume, indeed religious. In opposition to this photograph, there was a plentiful more, in which Paulo Álvarez poses a model, wearing several costumes in a unique methodology, like transgressing between the religious and the profane in an array of contradictory portraits, elegantly exhibited in chronological order.
Paulo Álvarez’s emotional appendage to the elder and familiar instances resounds through the halls as he comfortably articulated his words and gestures with carefulness and prudence, yet expressively enough to transpire a glimpse of tenderness and attentiveness to our questions and observations. His artworks are adorned with an array of symbolic elements, as he reduplicates his relatives by doing an overexposure between a modern approach and older photographs, as if he wanted to live in that era, and merge his essence with the past.
These photographs were taken with an analog camera and the photo reveal is a standard practice, sadly abandoned in today’s contemporary artworks as we embrace a more statistical approach. They are layered in scales of black and white, and the particular photograph capturing his relative is around one century old and the name of this series is Ubicuidad, which stands for Ubiquity (Omnipresent) in English.
In the second series, entitled Proclamación (Proclamation) he adopted a somewhat infant posture, exhibiting to the spectators a remnant of his childhood. As he told us, it was an aesthetic procedure that served as a form to “vindicate himself.” When he was a youngster, he had a charm with everything pink, and people used to scrutinize him to the point of down falling into a shameful gloom, because, in a habit, he felt attracted to the feminine gentleness of life as contrary to most other boys. At an earlier stage in his life, he fully understood that there was nothing erroneous with the fact that he fancies the color pink or various materials, so this is a sort of vindication to him. He no longer bears the shameful mediums that for years have taunted him and he feels entirely at ease to expose his realm to his spectators.
The religious satire is remarkably presented in the form of a controversial sacrilege while intentionally fusing the religious dogmas with a pinkish background to which our photographer made her remark as “I enjoy it because you make it seem really artistic and not like a witticism.” She also found it to be quite captivating and cavernous, mostly because these series were encouraged in his childhood fears.
Circulos Invisibles, the final series in a darker tonnage, were significantly created with the collaboration of his closest friends, a series of darkly splendid emotional portraits, which reflected the modern age various urban cultural tribes wearing elder clothing, representing mystical monks in a devious, yet smooth manner. Models had visible tattoos, dyed hair and a gentle touch of makeup, an alternative approach fusing the old and the new into one single, well approached visual concept that certainly catches the eye.
The closing series are somehow distinguished by the different approach undertaken by the artists, as Paulo Álvarez concept seems to migrate in stages according to his psyche, which included a very young female dressed as a Virgin Mary in representation of innocence, strategically placed nearby the male portraits as the opening piece. Altogether, inviting the spectator to think about profanity in the religious context. A profanation to the religious signs, as a fugitive personal confrontation.
Again, the pink was present on the walls as a connection to his “proclamation” and a bridge between his previous series.
Canto Tercero is a single art piece with a juxtaposition of different images which represents the presence of the Catholic and profane who has been in his life since he was born.
Muñecos de Loza, however, is a curatorial annual event organized by Paulo Álvarez that consolidated its international recognition during its second edition, presently preparing the third edition to take place next year. Thematically, it is a concept that drains the imaginary of the spectators while portraying the human body as an object of duality, auto-representation, egocentrism and alternative reflexion.
Also published on Medium.