Argentina’s fascinating and unique culture is a heterogeneous mix of strong European inspirations merged with native tradition. The country’s tempestuous past has also given rise to passionate creative expression through literary and cinematic production, diverse architecture and a buzzing and vibrant music and dance scene.
Appropriation refers to the act of borrowing or reclaiming existing elements within a new piece of work. Post-modern appropriation artists are keen to refute the notion of originality. They believe that in borrowing existing imagery or elements of imagery, they are re-contextualising the original imagery, allowing the audience to renegotiate the meaning of the original in a different or more contemporary milieu.
Widely known Argentine artist Gonzalo Sojo had his solo exhibition at the Satrang Gallery in Islamabad. The show titled ‘Director’s Cut’ features several engaging and amusing paintings by Sojo, which enraptured the audience and art enthusiasts equally. Zahra Khan and Hector Meana have curated the exhibition.
Sojo’s paintings are captivating and enthralling, showcasing the unusual and spirited. Motivated by an outpouring of imageries from popular culture and mass media, which overwhelm one’s day-to-day life, the painter has categorically chosen certain situations and personalities that he interprets in his work. His colour scheme is a palette of intense and bright blocks of colour. Prevalent and widespread images like those of Alice and the White Rabbit, the sensational magician and entertainer Houdini or Maria the governess from the tuneful musical ‘The Sound of Music’ are internationally decipherable. Sojo’s depictions are exclusively his own, the paintings strike one as whimsical scenarios with metaphors and circumstances superimposed upon and within one another.
As a painter, Sojo feels completely at home working with the oils that encompass his canvases. He has cultivated his own tastes and sensitivity by appropriating established imagery, and serves to validate the idea that he is not just a fascinating painter but also a thought-provoking artist. In separating images from the original context, he has allowed them to take on new and varied meanings. Sojo’s paintings such as ‘Day Set’, ‘Hall’ and ‘Night Set’ animates people to look at the pictures and then to displace the conventional meaning that these images may carry with perhaps a number of unusual interpretations.
Sojo appropriates in his series (Director’s Cut) and integrates imagery and concepts into his paintings that are familiar to the wider public. He has re-staged and performed his paintings in the context of his own work to enhance and deepen or to scour conventional classifications of what a work of art and virtuosity can be.