Not many artists assemble as many conflicting personality traits as Carlos Pazos (Barcelona, 1949). Schooled in architecture, graphic design and art history, Pazos was involved in the conceptual practices in 1970s Catalonia, and was also one of their most unerring and forthright critics. The 1980s later saw him engage in dialogue with the politics of identity and representation, paradoxically extolling a trivial and frustrated subject, and resuming pop’s ecstatic approach to daily objects to show their most obscene and scatological flipside. Although deemed as heterodox or marginalised by critique, Carlos Pazos’ position is much more complex; his work, trapped in opposing spaces between Conceptual Art and Pop Art, or object and performance, simultaneously partakes in denouncement and guffaws.
Artissimo. Película de citas (A Film of Quotes), making its premiere in this screening, picks up a thread that explores Pazos’ lesser-known and relatively unexplored side: as a film-maker. The film is a montage of cinema fragments that depicts the futility and stereotypes of the artist in mainstream cinema, with the said artist appearing as a fanciful and irate being beset with melancholy – in short, a son of Saturn. Consequently, Pazos runs through the range of clichés that still reside in the collective imagination and demonstrates how art is little more than that essential praise of the useless.
Artissimo shares one of the key characteristics in Pazos’ work: collecting, understood as the transgressive search for a set order. Over the space of two hours, the gathered fragments of common places that persist in artistic “creation” conclude that this does not exist as a whole or unique truth. Therefore, Artissimo differs from the aspirations for transcendence in film montage, understood as a total work of art, which has carried significant weight in recent auteur cinema. Yet this operation to de-sublimate is also used to bolster the lack of definition, and therefore the aura, in artistic practice.
The artist will be present to introduce both screenings.