Carlos Pazos (Barcelona, 1949) didn’t want to be an artist, “If we’re going to be something, let it be nothing. If we’re going to be somewhere, let it be with the stars. To be a star.” To this end, in 1975 he photographed himself in the role of a film star – Voy a hacer de mí una estrella – in a desperate attempt to dissolve himself in images, given the impossibility of attaining his original self.
Pazos’ work is situated in a kind of no man’s land between the two main forces that defined Spanish art in the second half of the twentieth century: Informalism and Conceptual Art. Pazos has been linked to Rauschenberg-style Neo-Dada, but also to Arte Povera, Surrealism and the aesthetics of silence of Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol and Marcel Broodthaers.
In spite of its apparent irony and sense of humour, his work is profoundly dramatic. Faced with the failure of the modern utopia and the questioning of all systems of representation, Pazos chooses to hide behind the mask of Narcissus, escape through the accumulation of objects and become one with the abject.
In the picture:
En La Intimidad, 1977
Courtesy MACBA Collection
Carlos Pazos «I am going to make myself a star».
William Jeffett on Untitled, nº 18. London, spring 1999
Carlos Pazos presents the self as both a social and artificial construct. The mass imagery of the film and rock music star is his terrain, and Pazos from the early 1970s onwards, tried to reinvent himself within the photographic language of the star. His early series Voy a hacerme una estrella presents the artist in the role of a star and the typical tabloid presentation of film stars. Pazos used photography to construct an artificial fictive identity as a star and as a means of presenting a glamourous and ambiguous sexuality, a position which anticipated and paralleled that of younger American artists such as Cindy Sherman. These works built on Pazos’ earlier Modelos de escultura (1974) and Esculturas al aire libre (1975) in which Pazos posed himself and other models according to the composition of paradigmatic works of art, that is as living sculptures captured in photography. Here the immediate predecessors for Pazos were artists as diverse as Manzoni, Gilbert and George and Vito Acconci, not to mention figures beyond the artworld such as David Bowie and the growing climate of glam rock.
In the pictures:
Les loups (II), 2009
Asesinato en el Taller de Romero de Torres, 2009
¿Vida Resuelta?, 2010
Absinthe Absente, 2010
En el monte del percance, luna rasgada, 2009
El Cerdo y el Cisne, 2009
Y Zen y Tal Cual, 2008
Elogio del Artificio (I), 2007
Nota de Fondo, 2010
ADN Galería presents the first individual exhibition by Carlos Pazos in the gallery, Naufragios Recientes (Recent Shipwrecks), a show which revolves around the idea of the shipwreck understood as a failure, with a new repertoire of pieces that are melancholic, direct, and ironic and the Barcelona premiere of the film Artissimo. Película de Citas (Artissimo.A Film of Quotes). There are few artists whose personalities combine so many contradictory characteristics as Carlos Pazos (Barcelona, 1949). His work – often unclassifiable – would be located between two guiding principles: that of the pop art (1960s) and that of practices tied to conceptual art (1970s). Not only would he move between these two currents but Pazos’s heterogeneous practice also traverses a hybridisation that involves neo-Dadaism, arte povera, and surrealism. From a position that is at the same time marginalised and exposed, the skin of his work participates simultaneously in denouncing and roaring with laughter, in a sense of humour and a sense of the dramatic, in myth-making and in failure; always with an undisguised desire to address the frontiers between being and seeming, pretending and dissembling. Carlos Pazos´ exhibition at ADN consists of a set of collages, ensembles of objects, and the projection of Artissimo. Película de Citas – pieces created in recent years and which are presented here for the first time. For Pazos, “Naufragios recientes” evokes, through irony and bitterness, falls, torments, anguish, ships that have run aground on the obstacles of life. The artist disguises himself with various masks and uses objects and souvenirs to make the act of collecting one of the central ideas of his work
In the pictures:
“Dandy en bancarrota” (I) & (II), 2016
“Nuevos vientos, vieja ola”, 2016. Climatic piece
“Douce France”, 2010-2016. Climatic piece
“Huyendo de mí mismo hacia una muerte súbita”, 2014. Climatic piece