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IntroductionSocial criticism and willful iconographic boundary crossing merge into new subversive forms in Lluís Barba’s epic collages. The Catalan artist takes the most significant works from the history of art and swamps them underneath contemporary symbols, artworks, tourists, and celebrities. Like an invasion, these visitors charge upon the old masterpieces and convert them into scenes of a turbulent exhibition, positioning art and reception in an ambivalent relationship.
The artworks by the Barcelona based artists stem from conceptual thinking and demonstrate their own ironic and symbolic contextual language. Barcode tattoos stand for loss of identity, black and white the past, and color the present. Every detail in the fine-grained collages refers to something contemporary or traditional. The irony is primarily targeted at the commercialization of artworks and museums. His works mirror how we perceive art and what we perceive to be art in different places. But this mirror might also reflect the viewer, especially if they are so captured by Barba’s glamorously dramatized spectacle that the appropriated old masters become merely a stage. Or just maybe they read Barba’s works for what they are, art and collaged spectacle colluding against the art market’s “scene” culture.
Lluís Barba received his training at the Escola de Belles Arts de Barcelona. He is an internationally renowned artist with solo and group exhibitions in London, Brussels, New York, Miami, LA, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, and many other places around the world. His work has been included at the Venice Biennale and Havana Biennial in Cuba and is on display in museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museu d'Art Contemporani in Barcelona.
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