• MAR 12 to APR 11
    Solo Exhibition
    #unknown @javialcuadrado


    • Solo Exhibition
    • Contemporary

    Dates and Opening hours

    MAR 12 to APR 11, 2015

    Vernissage: March 11th at 8 pm

    Event Location

    La New Gallery

    Carranza 6

    View website


    • Javi Al Cuadrado


    Can a stranger become a familiar presence? One day, an artist comes across the footprints of an anonymous man who shares pictures of his daily life. Two years later, the output of this casual encounter is #unknown, a drawing project that documents the story of a visual obsession of the Instagram era. The works included in this series is based on digital fragments hazardously chosen that, after passing through the gestural filter of ink and paper, become a sort of intimate writing questioning the nature of affections, obsessions and identity. How to decipher images that, since autobiographical, are nothing more than fiction? How to live with them?

    The origin of Javi al Cuadrado’s (Madrid, 1978) first solo exhibition at La New Gallery goes back two years ago. While looking for images for a project based on self-portraits crowding the social networks, the artist realized that, on his selection, there was a face more frequent than the others. It was from some young guy from Madrid living in Berlin. His images, as it happens more often than not, where somewhere between a selfie and costumbrisms: Sergio – that was the name on his profile- portrayed himself in front of the mirror, having breakfast, smoking, tanning or simply posing straight to the camera in parks or other urban places chosen at random. Allegedly, he always looked casual and care-free, but always with an aesthetic preoccupation underneath. Also looking seductive. Javi Al Cuadrado proposed himself then, to offer a replica: if that young stranger photographed himself daily, he will draw him continuously and on a daily basis.
    What started as a game, ended up being in a systematic artistic practice that, with time, turned up to be more complex. How was it possible to know by heart the facial features of a stranger, appreciate his daily changes, read his physiognomy and trespass the flatness of the image thought only as a surface? The answer to that question translated into a visual obsession that put the artist’s believes into question. If his intentions where aesthetics at first and ironic afterwards – how to get around the unequivocal narcissism of the conceived representations, as an autobiographic way, as auto-fictions?–, the daily repetition of the same gesture – sitting down to draw an stranger’s images - turned up to be something completely unexpected: the realization of the own vulnerability as a viewer.
    Because at the end, this is what this exhibition, presented for the first time in a specifically designed format for La New Gallery, is about: the vulnerability and its relationship with the nature of affections, obsessions and identity. Javi Al Cuadrado technique, a way of drawing that uses pens – hundreds of pens to be more specific – to recreate patterns linked with the traditional practices of engraving, impinges on the same orbit: is a constant and physically exigent job, a work closer to handcrafting – or intimate writing- that the impulsive creation. The objective here is not a big declaration of intentions or principles, but the verification that the images, sometimes, affect the creator more than it was predicted. Only then they can talk in front of the viewer to remind him that looking is not an innocuous act.

    Carlos Primo

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