Paulo Nimer Pjota

Worst Come to Worst Ma People Come First, 2016

Acrylic, pencil and pen on canvas, resin object

204 × 160 cm


Interested in purchasing this work?

Enquire

Additional Information

Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

We offer collectors a range of shipping options including a variety of specialist art couriers.
Please allow four to six weeks for the artwork to arrive after purchase.

Artwork
Description

The conflict between peaceful society and violent urban protest is an integral part of Paulo Nimer Pjota’s artistic process. Pjota’s large-scale canvases combine art history with the fraught narrative of unstable cultural formation in urban conglomerates like the volatile favelas in his native Brazil. Traditional masks dominate three corners of the canvas, jarring with smaller images around the border which draw from cartoons, historical characters and cultural figures to represent quotidian life.

Yet the powerful mask-like faces are largely suspended in empty space; the clutter of icons and figures is balanced by large areas of unadorned canvas. As is typical of Pjota, chaos is juxtaposed with peace in a work awash with cultural contradictions. The masks may initially be perceived as intimidating, but they face inwards, towards each-other in a protective triangle. Outside the arena of the canvas, a cast resin basketball sits just in front of the painting, completing the square started by the masks; its inclusion suggests that the vision Pjota has created exists in reality as much as it does in an artwork. This sense of solidarity is consolidated by the work’s title; the theme of community is pervasive through such strongly symbolic icons.

About
the artist

Paulo Nimer Pjota (b. 1988) was born in Sao José do Rio Preto, Brazil and now lives and works in São Paulo. He moved there at the age of 17 to study visual arts at the Centro Universitário Belas Artes de São Paulo.

Pjota unites art history with the complexity of contemporary social imagery to create large-scale, layered visual narratives. Drawing inspiration from the vernacular constructions of the ghettoes, popular imagery, such as cartoons, and artists like Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat, the artist aims to highlight sensations of violence, conflict, and turmoil inherent to the periphery of urban conglomerates. More than this, his work is about the ordinary; about a place’s own cultural formation and public catharses.

Preferring to work across large surfaces, Pjota employs canvas, sacks, and metal plates found in junkyards. Expanding to colossal dimensions, Pjota’s narratives highlight the clichés of figurative and landscape painting and intertwine them with symbols of quotidian life. Incorporating detailed renderings of plants, vases, isolated words, cartoons, and historical characters, Pjota’s amassment of diverse forms are imbued with metaphors and allusions; manifesting themselves upon the canvas with a coloristic rawness. At once chaotic and calm, his compositions are awash with contradictions. Rather than adhering to a single, fluid understanding, innumerable alternatives of contextualisation encircle one another making his work appear to be both meticulous and random; spontaneous and disciplined.

Characterised by gestures that vibrate with consternation, irony, contemplation and protest, his works create anachronisms that address the handling of icons and indexes and the role they have played throughout history under the guise of power relationships. Within this turbulent mess, illustrations are juxtaposed with classical still-lives; ancient Greek art with superheroes; archaeological artefacts with soda cans, and so on. Interlaced in this constellation of conflicting objects are cartoons, stains, graffiti tags, and scribbles. Here, the appreciation of engravings, prisoners’ drawings and tattoo art reveals his past as a graffiti artist on the street of São Paulo.


Pjota unites art history with the complexity of contemporary social imagery to create large-scale, layered visual narratives. Drawing inspiration from the vernacular constructions of the ghettoes, popular imagery, such as cartoons, and artists like Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat, the artist aims to highlight sensations of violence, conflict, and turmoil inherent to the periphery of urban conglomerates.

Characterised by gestures that vibrate with consternation, irony, contemplation and protest, his works create anachronisms that address the handling of icons and indexes and the role they have played throughout history under the guise of power relationships. Within this turbulent mess, illustrations are juxtaposed with classical still-lives; ancient Greek art with superheroes; archaeological artefacts with soda cans, and so on. Interlaced in this constellation of conflicting objects are cartoons, stains, graffiti tags, and scribbles.


Paulo Nimer Pjota
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

September 20th, 2016 until
October 29th, 2016
Curated by ARTUNER