Ambar Quijano: Liquid Frictions brings together the work of 15 artists from around the world who draw and extract from a myriad of present conditions and histories. Presented within the context of a unique imaginary space designed by Italian architect Riccardo Fornoni, the space exists as a combination of ancient ruination, traditional architectural forms and contemporary sensibilities. It is a digital experience that looks both backwards and forwards, providing a stimulating environment for a collection of paintings reflecting on the factors that are continuously shaping our personal and collective understanding of how we live in the parameters of history, and how that has informed the creation of our contemporary narratives. Hand in hand, the exhibition deals with what it means to engage with painting today, together with the idea of painting as an inquiry tool, a set of questions, a means of sampling from the world around us, as well as a vehicle from which many realities and dimensions can be experienced.
Throughout the exhibition, a series of contrasting themes, ideas and explorations present us with contradictions and polarities. Every work exists within a fluid state, an outburst of the multiple, where a collection of reflections, concerns, relationships and experiences are brought to the fore for them to continue to exist and develop through us, in our minds and imaginations.
The works in Liquid Frictions present us with scenes within the context of private and public spaces, popular culture and social media, as well as the depiction of women in painting, androgyny, religious iconography, psychological landscapes, healing bodies of water, organic temples and voids undefined by figurative subject matter.
Within Liquid Frictions, and painting more broadly, the works exist as a series of samples. Slices of the outer world, glimpses of inner worlds, snippets of sensations, ideas, philosophies, art histories, of us…of what we deem important, unimportant, of what we desire and what we can imagine. There is an extraction and distillation process that leads to what a painting depicts. It's a method under constant negotiation and subject to change, as we continue to bring what we learn to the conversation the sense of exploration expands, as new work has the possibility of redefining and recontextualising what it was that came before, and after. Sampling is to get a fragment that shows, suggests or at times even confronts us with what the rest could be, what lies here but also beyond. This has been a constant in painting from its origins and remains relevant today. In a different sense of the word, sampling could also exist as information that we gather in response to a question, usually because we seek answers but the sample is never the conclusion nor a guarantee that it’ll take us to one, we however, take chances and dig deep.
The difference between today and paintings that have come before, is that today's paintings are in a unique position to respond to the legacies that have been developed up to this specific point, and can do so, not just for the sake of seeking newness or originality, but to grasp what was left unsaid, marginalized or even silenced. We are also at a specific historical and technological point where we have access to countless new and instantaneous resources, but we are tragically endangering the vital resources we need not only to thrive but to ensure our future existence as a species. We are living in a time where conflict is a constant, information wars are a reality and where we’re still facing the consequences of old, divisive and hegemonic norms, standards and ideals. The artists within Liquid Frictions are part of generations experiencing, processing and responding to these subjects directly or indirectly, but they all are grappling with questions and creating direct and speculative works reflecting their realities, what they’re undergoing, went through or could undergo in relation to ongoing events unfolding in our world.
In Liquid Frictions, intuitive, absurd, decolonial, anthropomorphic, bodily and animalistic forces come together to orchestrate a situation that at times, alludes to a narrative but that is ultimately reflecting upon a range of modes of communication, living and healing. Through world-making, the artists challenge vision beyond the rational, in this way transcending logic along with the limitations of conventional language. From this perspective, the works within Liquid Frictions sample from, whilst simultaneously bleed into, the imaginary, the psychological as well as the lived and the encountered today. The exhibition provides counter-voices and alternative views beyond a self-reverential fine art sphere, as the artists offer a range of insights into fantastical dimensions, emotional experiences, complex histories as well as societal realities and mythologies. Ultimately, the artists within Liquid Frictions openly broaden conversations, give a voice, foster an atmosphere of curiosity and continue to process and deepen our understanding of the world around us, and our place in it.