For his first exhibition, “Tonight Tonight” at Highlight Gallery, Facundo Argañaraz makes an impactful, yet subtly poetic statement. The work has appropriated images that are subjects of disassociated origins, though reminiscent of magazine advertisements. The generic and unspecified fragmented female anatomy in these perceived advertisements (hands or a neckline with a white blouse) makes them emblematic of the throw-away nature of Modern consumer cast-off culture, yet they also have a glamorous allure. Repeated, printed imagery alludes to the “made to order” customization of the work, as if offering selections of the same “model.”
A few of the pieces in the show include metal attachments, such as round disks or soft rectangular shapes that add an ambiguous embellishment, as if they are jewelry for the pieces – shiny accents that adorn but have no functional purpose. Also on display are sculptures featuring poles of LED lights, which are seen again as subjects in two photographic works: one is in the window display and another hung above the door. The lights are simply illuminated – recursions of the ready-made while at the same time reminding the viewer that they are practical objects for seeing at night. The tropes are syllabic of Pop Art visual language: appropriation, manufacture, editions, glitz, commodity. However, Argañaraz is in no way replicating the past, but rather addressing past issues of representation and aesthetic concerns that are still apparent and discussed today, albeit with a romantic tinge.
Argañaraz’ commodification intentions are two-fold: the lilac and purple tones of the work in the show act almost as if they are replacements for a standard grey or black, tricking they eye into a strange, surreal perception of assembly-line manufacturing; and the work is meticulously sprayed automobile paint on aluminum substrate – but the colors are not those that would be offered as a factory stock color. They are “dream car” colors. The press release offers a poetic clue to the title of the exhibition, citing a quote from the Jorge Luis Borges essay about the well-known Arabic folk anthology, “The Thousand and One Nights”, first translated from Arabic to English in the beginning of the 16th century. As noted by Borges in another segment of his essay: [The Thousand and One Nights are] “Stories within stories create a strange effect, almost infinite, a sort of vertigo.” Here too, Argañaraz offers strangeness to the viewer with repeated images set askew and lilac and eggplant purple tones that allude to twilight washed with a moist haze as if in a dream state.
“Tonight Tonight”, solo exhibition by Facundo Argañaraz will be on view through November 15th, 2013.
For more information on “Tonight Tonight” visit Highlight Gallery, San Francisco.