Van Der Plas Gallery Presents:
Alejandro Caiazza’s “Clown City”
March 17th, 2023 - April 9th, 2023.
Opening Reception: Friday, March 17th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Alejandro Caiazza is an Argentine painter whose recent body of work portrays the classic subject matter of the harlequin or even trickster brought to life by his absurdist imagery modernized in the character of the clown. An extensive historical and artistic theme, Caiazza brings to the surface a new understanding and reinvents from a contemporary and Latin perspective. Initially appearing whimsical and delightful with a child-like innocence, the work of Caiazza on closer inspection reveals much deeper and darker aspects of our human condition with, at times, absurd brutishness as well as an aloof coolness and shocking intimacy with the rawness of humanity.
As we see in looking at Humor Bastard (Mi Payaso Personal) (2023), the audience is met with a wide eyed jester burning with something to say yet too consumed in a toothy, boiling rage to speak. Perhaps knowing exactly what to express but without the ability to conjure this correctly or bring it forth from himself because of the context from which he sits in a borderless background of layered light blue mixing with pink pushing into the foreground of scribbled ears on the face itself. This is a form of the clown who is actually somewhat isolated and lonely, inwardly forced to deal with emotions and outwardly grimacing. The color of his large red nose obscures the center of the work, dispersing into the rest of the picture and acting perhaps as a silent siren, or a warning. For the viewer and himself. He is on a precipice but unable to move forward.
However, not all the clowns in this body of work are outcasted or debilitated; not all of them are smeared with discontent. Some of them are party makers with happy faces. Popy Pachanguero for example, looks like a laughing, caricature version of the musician Bad Bunny. With others, their make-up is often foolish and their images deformed, but they are not always crying. Besto Friendo (2022) depicts the best friend. Someone Caiazza describes as cool and kind. While primitive and basic in their feelings, the clowns still find moments of joy and ways to connect with each other through strife and differences. The image of the clown itself is complexified and the strong irony played upon between the singular pieces finds a greater middle ground of feeling and understanding.
Many of the figures and characters that inhabit Clown City appear as jovial and as friends while others are simply caught in their own repressed realms. The paintings draw on inspiration from daily emotions and perhaps at times allude to the uncertainty of social upheavals as well as political strife. With various faces and personalities, Caiazza creates a cast of universal parodies of the self among a broad range of today’s societal captives. The layers of paint and materials mixed onto the surface of the work, including wallpaper and sand, speak to the infinite levels of human pathos experienced by all walks of life.
"Clown City" will be on display at the Van Der Plas Gallery from March 17th to April 9th. The gallery invites the public to attend the opening reception on Friday, March 17th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Alejandro Caiazza, (b.1972) Santa Fé, Argentina, was raised in Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela. He trained in architecture and fine arts at the Jose Maria Vargas University in Caracas and had his first one-man exhibition at the “Sala de Arte de Sidor” in Ciudad Guayana in 1999. Caiazza moved to Paris in 2000 and lived there for ten years, studying at L’École Supérieure Des Beaux-Arts under his mentor, Ouanes Amor. He exhibited at the Lavatoio Contumatiale in Rome in 2010 and currently works and resides in New York City. His style is “art brut” or “neo-expressionism,” with influences such as Jean Dubuffet, Jonathan Meese, Georg Baselitz, Willem de Kooning, Jean Michel Basquiat, and A.R. Penck. He creates whimsical and delightful paintings with a darker side, using acrylic, oil bar, charcoal, and spray paint, experimenting with mixed media on cardboard, canvas, and wood.