During the last three years Javier Arce has been developing a series of crushed drawings. These are not only the result of a reflection about the evolution of art in the production system context, but also about the uses we give to the main works of art and their place in the contemporary collective imaginary.
He also focuses on the dilemma between copy and original, to which he approaches from a clever and very caustic position, which has its origins in the aesthetics used by the artist.
Javier Arce works with an easily malleable unbreakable paper, arranged in big cylinders.
He spreads it on the floor and uses a marker to reproduce masterpieces from different periods, such as the Sistine Chapel, Las Meninas, The executions of the 3rd of May, Guernica or The Brillo Boxes.
Once finished, the artist wrinkles the paper to a ball.
Arce has designed different ways of displaying his work: it can be hung directly on the wall or inside a little plexyglass box; it can be crushed to a paper ball and left on the exhibition room floor; it can be placed even inside a garbage bag.
At one thousand four hundred meters of the rectified drawings, is the title of the exhibition that will open on the 25th March in Max Estrella Gallery, in Madrid.
The exhibition consists of two different groups of works:
Firstly, the artist wants to place the viewer outside the gallery and take him to the Prado Museum. One thousand four hundred meters is the distance between Max Estrella gallery and the museum. It is the distance between the original series of paintings made by Francisco de Goya at La Quinta del Sordo and Javier Arce´s crushed original copies of the paintings from La Quinta del Sordo.
In this case the artist will intervene the gallery space, crushing not only this but even the walls. With this the artist thinks about the power of the frame, the mass culture or the relevance of the museum name to define what is art, and invites us to value the cheap experience of being in front of a copied original work.
Secondly, this show includes the appropriation that Javier Arce makes of The Disasters of War, which can be seen at the National Calcography Museum.
Arce appropriates not only Francisco de Goya´s Disasters (original-copy), but also the ones The Chapman Brothers made about the original edition of the painter.
These artists add one more layer over the message of Goya´s images, from a XXI Century Anglo-Saxon point of view.
With this gesture Javier Arce makes us think not only about the concept of originality (meaning unique work), and its more than possible pirate reproduction. He also makes us wonder whether it is possible to rewrite what happened 200 years ago with grotesque humour (which oddly happens nowadays). Or if (inside this global art business) the artist, the gallery or the museum director, or even the critic is (are) willing to get a punch full of postmodernism?
Javier ARCE intends to make us think about the barriers between high culture and popular culture, in an almost always ironic way, and how conventional the artistic discourse can be.
The starting point of his work is the gap that points the avant-garde project failure.
In one hand his commitment of stripping art of any ideological or representational function and of any mercantilist purpose, to make it the purest expression of the self of the artist. On the other hand, in his attempt to blur the boundaries between elite culture and mass culture as a way of transgressing the boundaries between art and life.
Arce’s gaze is projected from a postmodernism which calls into question not only the tradition but modernity itself.
This young artist was granted with The International Studio & Curatorial Program (I.S.C.P.) at New York last year, by the Fundación de Arte y Derecho in 2008, and by Hangar (Barcelona) and Fundación Marcelino Botín (Santander) before that. He was awarded with ABC Price (honourable mention) and Caja Madrid Generaciones 2007.