Where is there a common ground between art and design?
The two floors of the Victoria Miro on Wharf road are occupied by half-sculptures, half-design pieces. Both means provide aesthetically colourful and geometric shapes illuminating both rooms. The ground floor displays new paintings by Jorge Pardo, Mexican-based, Cuban-born artist while the first floor flaunts informal lamp shades suspended from wooden beams framing the gallery’s ceiling.
Pardo was born in Cuba but moved to the United States where he enrolled in art school, being taken under the wing of Stephen Prina and Mike Kelley.
Architecture and design are forever inscribed in his art, exploring the frontier of space.
His work includes murals and interiors; locations removed from a museum context. One of his most popular productions is entitled 4166 Sea View Lane; a house he built, lived in and ornamented with both hand and machine-made pieces. This house was exhibited in 1998 by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles for five weeks.
The main question which comes to mind when glancing upon Pardo’s work is: is this art?
The answer lies somewhere on a grey-scale. In the gallery, the artist’s pieces are intricately fabricated, mixing PETG plastic resin, layers of laser cut birch wood, ply and MDF to abstract outlines and shapes. Pardo introduces both 3 dimensional and plane elements, resulting in a combination of uncategorisable forms.
Both the canvases displayed on the walls and the brief glimpse of suspended lamps perceived while lifting our heads toward the ceiling, create a warm and gleeful harmony.
Although the ensemble of pieces appear closer to works of design, the fact that I can voyage from this genre to art and vice versa, underlines the blurry boundaries.
Which characteristics of the paintings or lamps give off that impression is uncertain. Both are impregnated by depth due to the imbricated circular cut-outs, and the transparency of the material’s quality.
Pardo plays with perceptions. What appears simple and obvious may actually hide ambivalence.
By housing Pardo, the Victoria Miro gallery reconsiders design’s place in art.
I was touched by the contrast in the organic nature and physical polished appearance of the lamps. Wishing that there was more to see of Pardo’s artistic career, I left imagining how other pieces of furniture could be morphed into sculptures and paintings, wondering where design begins and art ends.
Jorge Pardo at Victoria Miro (2 February – 24 March 2018)