“Private Function”: performance and painting of lonely people

May 22, 2024 | nadiaevangelina

“Private Function” is the exhibition of Argentine artist Bruno Gruppalli, curated by Javier Villa at the Centro Cultural Recoleta. The artist exhibits large-format paintings starring solitary characters seated at the table of a café concert, where he experiments with new protocols of use and perception of pictorial space. The exhibition is part of a renovation proposal for the cultural center that is based on a series of individual exhibitions of mid-career artists and tributes that recover their past. In its refurbished rooms, it seeks to integrate a wider and more diverse public.

Gruppalli, who has previously worked with other media such as performance and sculpture, proposes a kind of novelty as he reveals to a wide public his recent facet as a painter. The artist brings together portraits and still lifes with (not so) veiled references to the world of art and counterculture in a room with a café concert atmosphere that includes a stage. The audience of “Private Function” is invited to step onto a stage while the characters created by Gruppalli watch from their respective tables, each one decorated with flowers and objects that evoke the history of art.

Around a series of self-portraits and compositions with seated characters, the artist builds a café concert scene that puts into play the pose and the relationships we build with objects. Bananas, shoes, vases, small busts, and record covers create somewhat encrypted surfaces of pleasure, which indicate a world of references linked to the history of art and counterculture of the twentieth century, where Picasso, Buñuel, Brancusi or Andy Warhol cross with some local icons such as Virus, Los Redondos or Rosario Bléfari. According to the artist, the interesting thing is the dialogue between a countercultural record like “Oktubre” by Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, which is printed on many T-shirts, and the most canonized art.

In “Función Privada”, the painting has not been confined to the wall but is presented as part of the construction of a scene; essential to the meaningful articulation of the space where the bodies of the spectators can relate to the bodies represented in the territories of the night. They are spaces in which the penumbra counts at the time of constructing sensations and senses. Each character enigmatically represented in a corner or seated at a table is waiting for the beginning of the show in front of an empty stage. The atmosphere is very surreal, something that is affirmed by the sum of references that also operate as winks to the spectator. These are key to deciphering quotes from the history of art or popular music.

According to the curators, the Recoleta Cultural Center's 2024 program begins with four artists who explore in depth the representation of the body in contemporary times. The selection was based on a search for empathy with the bodies that have been present at the cultural center in recent times, through urban dance experiences, shared workspaces, and recreational activities. By allocating several rooms for the visual arts, these first exhibitions seek to generate a dialogue and an opening to the imagination between the bodies present and those represented.

"Private Function”
Location: Recoleta Cultural Center, Junín 1930, C1113 CABA, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Opening Date: 19th March 2024
End Date: 19th June 2024
Working hours: Tuesday-Friday: 1.30pm to 10pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11.15am to 10pm

Official website: 

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