'Catalonia is hot Spain'
Thu 17 September – Thu 15 October, 2009. Barcelona
NoguerasBlanchard is pleased to present the first exhibition with the gallery by Juan López (Alto Maliaño, Cantabria, 1979). Catalonia is hot Spain (2009), a site-specific installation, transforms the gallery space into an urban environment. López draws upon a range of influences – street art aesthetics, bill-boards, comic books – which allude to his most immediate surrounding environment and spaces, rooted in the context of urban subcultures.
López has decided to submerge the gallery into an Olympic sized swimming pool. Inspired by a desire to alter the architectural space, the work raises a new experience of the everyday and reflects the artist’s personal response to mass-produced advertising and the corporate logos that inescapably bombard us in consumer society. López uses packaging materials, such as vinyl and adhesive tape, or supports like stickers, posters and fanzines to create a unique visual language; their flexible and ephemeral qualities reflecting the dynamic and fragmentary nature of his work. His mural projects are not limited to interior spaces, López also carries out actions on the street where he manipulates the language of billboards, wall posters, signs etc, drawing new meaning from them. For this exhibition, he has extracted the logo of a sports brand, NB (New Balance) turning it into a decorative motive which surrounds the perimeter of the pool and at the same time, is an acronym for the name of the gallery. Similarly, the title’s substitution of one letter for another, turns a politically charged slogan (Catalonia is not Spain) into what could be a tourist aphorism.
Shunning associations with graffiti artists´ intentions of permanence or re-claiming ownership over public space, Juan López’s work is informed by a profound interest in associating language as it evolves on the street with the various artistic codes of private and institutional spaces. His interventions propose a round-trip journey on the one hand introducing the urban into art galleries and centers and, at the same time, he takes into the outside world other questions associated with the language of art, closer to a more institutional context. Fusing together found and invented imagery, his work describes a kind of urban poetry, and conveys critically compromised messages, marked by their ironic rather than utopian nature. Such could be the message underlying this installation, where the artist invites the gallerists to plunge into the pool with him.
Juan López graduated in Fine Arts in the University of Cuenca and in 2005 moved to Barcelona as a resident of Hangar, Centro de Producción de Artes Visuales. His recent solo exhibitions include Hoy no aspiro a nada, Fundación Joan Miró, Barcelona (2008); Spider Lab, LABORAL Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón (2007); Existencias, MUSAC (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León) (2007); One ‘n’One, Casa Encendida, Madrid (2007); Para tu tara, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica de Barcelona, (2005); Estuve en Toledo y me acordé de ti Espacio Contemporáneo Archivo de Toledo (2005). Juan López currently works and lives in Madrid.