Milan / March 22 —April 30, 2010
Massimo De Carlo Gallery inaugurates “Karma”, the first solo show in Italy of Dan Colen. The artist uses materials, images and languages taken from everyday life to narrate – through a diverse and multiform artistic production – his life and that of his generation. The exhibition, spread through the whole space of the gallery, shows new works that, if on one hand confirm the interest of the artist in street and underground culture, on the other hand attest a new period in which he experiments new techniques and new subjects, being still coherent with his stylistic career.
On the first room, the site-specific installation Oh Shit dominates the space. It consists of a gigantic, capsized, skateboard ramp that allows the viewer to catch a glimpse of Moments Like This Never Last (No. 2), a big painting that belongs to a new series of the “Confetti Paintings”: a new chapter in the artist’s poetics. His “Gum Paintings”, “Kiss Paintings”, the “Birdshit Paintings” of some years ago now became confetti and streamers.
In the following room, twenty-two basketball panels become fallen pieces of a large domino, in the work Chocolate And Vanilla Swirl: there is an evident reference to the daily life of the artist, to the city of New York, and to that American popular culture that inspire Colen. Let My People Goreproduces a banner of an Internet ad. As in the other works, it is part of that process of reapropriation of reality that the critique recognized in the new generation of American artists, who take inspiration in the present and in Pop Art. Follow The Leader is an oil painting that depicts a grainy image – as if it was enlarged with a computer – of the word KARMA. Foreground/Background, a photographic print that reproduces an iPhone with a splinted screen on which one reads “Poetry”: on one hand the word, on the other the action, amongst all the endless, possible stories.
On the first floor, Knock Knock Jokes is a sculpture made out of twenty-one doors found in the streets of New York. Organized by groups and displayed in a specific way, they create a sort of division behind which the visitor discovers the second “Confetti Painting” Moments Like This Never Last (No. 3), two large prints on canvas Doo – Wa Diddy – Diddy Down Diddy – Do and Oogum Boogum, and the second canvas with the text KARMA Word On The Street. These apparently diverse elements have a common denominator: the city, with its streets, its lights, and its colours.
The last room. Talk To The Hand is an oil painting in which two light wakes, in a dark space, draw an arch on a white platform: the technique is traditional but the subject, that recalls some drawings by Walt Disney, recalls a dreamlike world. The concreteness, the precision and almost the coldness of the two paintings Gospel Train and 40 Days And 40 Nights is enhanced by the vicinity to the dream of a “magic arch”.