The Little Dog Laughed
By: Bojan Maric
Do the vastness of advertising industry and the ever-present symbolical universe of contemporary consumerism define the lifestyle of our generation? Is this a true representation of the dysfunctionality of modern society? These are not questionable stances for artist Pia Camil, but road signs for critical response to the reality which overwhelms our sense of expressional freedom. Through a solo exhibition, Camil will try to show us the ways of interpreting the said questions – during the period from July 12th to August 23rd 2014, at the Blum & Poe Gallery in Los Angeles, renowned for it’s thought provoking exhibitions.
Pia Camil lives and works in Mexico City. She is a 34-year old artist who concentrates on urban landscape, focusing especially on ruins which are proliferating in the modern society and it’s urban space. Her work includes intriguing projects along Mexico’s highways (highway follies), during which she reconceptualizes the abandoned billboards. She has received critical acclaim, which has brought her artwork to the European cultural and artistic scene. This includes awards such as the European Honors Program, Palazzo Cenci, Rome, Italy in 2001 and nomination for The Paul Hamlyn Award, London in 2008. She has acquired an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art and, beforehand a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
This exhibition was greatly inspired by John Fante’s novel Ask the Dust. The title for the show is extracted from the novels’ narrative which includes a struggling writer who experiences a brief insight to success by publishing one of his short stories. The exhibition will entail a large-scale hanging curtain, paintings, and ceramic vases.
Just like the literary protagonist which inspired her work, Pia Camil questions the paradoxes of the self-representation in the world of unsuccessful capitalism strategies. She dramatizes the relativity of the notion of self in a neoliberal globalized society. Through active interaction with the discourse of cultural space embodied in ruined urban surroundings, the artist tries to reveal the relation between the personal and the public. But how does she address these issues and existential stances? A hanging curtain covers in part the entrance to the exhibitional space, representing the theatrical dimension of the presentation. She creates paintings with the medium of hand-dyed and stitched canvas. This is constructed to represent the processes which form the fabric of mass cultural production in contemporary times. Finally, among the bricolage of different artistic expressions Camil leaves to the spectator to reveal the meaning and significance of ceramic vases, which form an integral part of the exhibition.