Gerben Mulder returns to São Paulo for his fourth exhibition with Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel. This time, the Dutch artist occupies the Galpão, in Barra Funda, with eight new paintings full of eccentric characters that evoke epic images and dream narratives.
The artist explores a subconscious archetypal repertoire, which he materializes through vigorous and fast brushstrokes, so that the emergent narratives become revealed not only in the images but also on the painting’s surface. In Rite of Passage, the largest work in the show, a turbulent composition decomposes the figurative elements into a cerulean, almost abstract atmosphere.
Euphoria and melancholy become superimposed among sombre backgrounds and electric colours. This is the case in Happy Campers and Pretty Little Cabin, Little Death. The artist also explores theatricality in these paintings, articulating their characters as if on a stage. In The Blind Leading the Blind, two sullen characters occupy the foreground by walking in procession, while the other figures merge with the strands of colour in the background.
Other works in the show feature grotesque characters in absurd scenes. The narratives are not the motto or the reason for these paintings; they are, mainly, a way to create connections between the figures that “emerge” throughout the creative process, always surrounded by the artist’s fantastic (and often sarcastic) vocabulary. His quirky humour transpires through titles like Donkey’s Ride of Shame or Fleeing Gondolas, the Brutal Attack by 8 Legged Birds on Unsuspecting Masses. Side by side, it is as if the paintings were chapters from a fantasy novel – a story full of fury and lyricism –, but which also point towards the intense acceleration of contemporary visual culture in the cinema, TV and social media.
Gerben Mulder was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1972, but has lived and worked in New York for more than twenty years. He has participated in several exhibitions around the globe, among which the following solo shows stand out: Works on Paper, Galerie Frank Taal (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2013); New Works, Galeria Fortes Vilaça (São Paulo, Brazil, 2012); The Tucson Work, MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson (Tucson, USA, 2011); Flowers, Newman Popiashvili Gallery (New York, USA, 2010); Galerie Akinci (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2009); Gallery K4 (Munich, Germany, 2009).