Curated by Rossella Farinotti

December 19th 2018/March 9th 2019
Opening: Wednesday December 19th 2018@6PM

Rossella Farinotti

Wormhole is the tale of a space-time journey. It is a black hole of common matrix that develops on parallel roads with similarities, trends, stylistic and formal contingencies that resemble each other, meeting halfway from two different points of view on the things that deal with both everyday life and fanciful imagination. It is the meeting point of two artists, Laurina Paperina and Albert Pinya, eviscerated and elaborated by a long genesis that needs to be set in a precise context of a few years ago. This journey has been proceeding on two levels: the human one linked to friendship which has consequently led to a second one, a professional relationship. Last but not least, the two artists share a similar approach to art making.

I met Laurina Paperina thanks to Albert Pinya, on the same day Laurina Paperina met Albert Pinya – probably in 2008, we still cannot remember the precise date – during a fair in Bologna. Pinya was looking for Emilio Bordoli, a collector who had just bought one of his paintings entitled “Tsunami”. The artist from Mallorca, whom I had met In Berlin the year before, gave me a meeting point in front of some drawings both of us liked very much: a series of framed sheets dealing with our art myths from Keith Haring to Marina Abramovich, from Gina Pane to Maurizio Cattelan and Jean Michel Basquiat. Pane’s drawing was extreme and somewhat grim, ironic: the performer was in a bathtub with her veins cut. Among those drawings it was my favourite one by far. It was caustic, cultured and very intelligent. This is how I met Laurina for the first time (everyone called her “Pape”. I prefer “Laura” but she knows that I am quite conservative), and I imagine that on that day the two artists became friends.

It sounds like the story of a romantic date between friends, similar to the first dialogues from the Goonies, as the artist from Trentino would like it, but with a David Lynch-style end, just as she would draw it; however, I wanted to start the story of Wormhole and the project developed with the help of Martina Corbetta and Stefano Bergamaschi this way because there are collaborations that can only happen when deep respect is the driving force. The exhibition reflects a little of this: an initiative of two peculiar artists, with different views of the world, both linked to references between past and future channeled into a unique direction, eventually culminating in the creation of unique works painted by four hands. Not simple but effective. This is where the artist’s task lies: absorbing, simplifying and re-elaborating everyday views, social, ironical, political or purely aesthetic aspects. This is what Pinya and Paperina have in common, together with the yield that is childish, ironic, pleasant at first glance. The choice of remaining “Peter Pan” to some extent, is at heart of both: it is tangible in their colours and themes. The simple and clear style of a child, which is highly advanced in the case of Pinya, who has changed from deliberately flat paintings to three-dimensional extra-pictorials ones, even in the arrangement of works, in their yield that has even led to the creation of sculptures, as well as the characters of Laurina that may be recognized by a sharp and trained eye only. The theme of childhood, not as a shown subject but as a stylistic approach, is one of the common denominators that unite Paperina and the Spanish artist. Right from the first steps of his exploring painting adventure, Pinya has never given up his efforts to remain a child, with the purpose of striking in a subtler way. Explosive colour, energy that has spilled over from his paintings to all the other means of expression used by Albert – from arrangement to performance, to interaction with his audience (I still remember when the viewer had to wear a clown’s nose in order to enter the great artwork showing his studio, inside the Foundation Sa’ Nostra in his hometown Palma de Mallorca, entitled Laboratorio Pinya), not to forget his numerous videos and murals, the mixing with poetry, music, food in collaboration with the chef Maria Solivellas – the use of art as a refuge, as an excuse for not keeping your feet on the ground and finally, the typical features of a non-adult, which he still uses quite often together with irony and his personal cynicism whom he has never abandoned.

In No tornarà a passar, in collaboration with musician and writer Joan Miquel Oliver, he reactivates elementary and simplified creatures, to tell a live story. The ones designed by Albert can be traced back to the creatures, by no means simplified in this case, but developed, personalized and complex, that coexist in Paperina’s micro-world and animate the big den that the artist has built to protect herself and fight the outside world. Laurina’s characters are taken from movies, cartoons, video games, comics, from fantasy films which the artist mixes up by inventing stories often starting or ending dramatically and relating to everyday life. Laurina Paperina is following a way – which has literally brought the artist around the USA, Northern Europe and Italy in recent years – and which was synthesized in her Mixtape collection in 2016. It now features as part of the permanent collection at Mart in Rovereto, her second house. The friendship blossomed thanks to these similarities and their first meeting allowed the two geographically opposed artists to interact with each other and cross their paths. Albert Pinya y Laurina Paperina como Adán y Eva en el nacimiento de la tragedia, in “Pinya” style, is the birth of “Paperina Pinya”, the work that the Majorcan artist painted in Berlin in 2009, and the first example of Albert’s ironical and typically irreverent style: the two artists are represented as Adam and Eve. He is naked and dark-skinned, in order to emphasize his strongly Mediterranean origin, in opposition to Paperina, who has pink skin and blonde hair, and apparently looks like the essence of a pure and innocent woman. Both are covered by a fig leaf and look frightened and scared as they have picked an apple, Laurina having already taken a bite of it. They are afraid because “the tragedy has started”, the two artists have taken their first steps together and cannot stop anymore. The art world must pay attention: a small cultural revolution has taken place under the names of this extraordinary couple. The two artists remained in touch, and in 2013 Pinya invited Laurina Paperina to Mallorca to present a solo exhibition, entitled Spaceballs, at the well-known Ferran Cano gallery, the discoverer of outstanding artists like Barcelò. “Albert Pinya was Laurina Paperina’s curator since their styles are compatible: both are artists with a pop background and approach, apparently naïve, gifted with sharp and cutting irony, which in Laura’s case is often bloody but always accompanied by a smile. When Pinya and Paperina met in Bologna years ago, while still in Spain, the Spanish artist had already appreciated the works by the painter/cartoonist/illustrator who also works with video arrangements created with her animations (Spaceball is the second Spanish solo exhibition for Paperina)… Pinya creates a small, serious circus in the famous gallery of the great Ferran Cano”. (SPACEBALLS //// personal exhibition of LAURINA PAPERINA in Mallorca, curator ALBERT PINYA, Labrouge, March 2013)

Wormhole is a black hole you can get sucked into with the risk of not getting out. But here both artists have managed to escape, contaminating its exterior, interacting with each other. If “in relativity no single absolute time exists, but each individual has his/her own personal measure of time, which depends on where he/she is and how he/she is moving” (S. Hawkins), then there are two precise measures of space-time travelling simultaneously, Paperina’s one and Pinya’s one. Two different worlds, but visually similar and in harmony with each other. The dialogue begins, and the viewer must be prepared: Laurina Paperina and Albert Pinya make their first exhibition together. The two artists communicate by mixing symbols taken from their own worlds with irreverent irony, colours and overflowing shapes, recurring characters recognizable from the background of a pop battle. Paperina and Pinya swap roles, with irony and respect matured in many years of friendship, by using different styles but still revealing the same visual taste, meticulously refined and falsely pleasant in the subjects as well as highly critical. Laurina redesigns Pinya and so does Pinya with Paperina. And vice versa. Albert has a future-oriented attitude, he designs geometric supports and structures such as platforms in a style that we had already seen in Recent works in Italy in 2017 at the Lissone Museum, while Laurina plays with past and present, thanks to the references she grew up with and that, in 2018, culminated in the series of very dense and intricate drawings, dedicated to the “Seven Deadly Sins” shown in Miami.

The two artists have been invited by Martina Corbetta to present a new and surprising vision shown in works created by four hands, on both canvas and paper, as well as three sculptures by Pinya specifically created for the Italian exhibition, five large works by Paperina and a limited-edition series of screen printings made in black & white and colour. The real and fictional characters taken from the world of comics, cinema, animation, or even from the art system or cultural background in which the Italian generation of the Nineties grew up, typical of Paperina’s work, come to life and fuse with Pinya’s backgrounds, who fends off using a conscious, dense and well-defined painting style as well as consciously added shapes, geometries and symbols. Let the challenge begin. At least the one for the viewer who will discover all these elements step by step at the exhibition, imagining stories behind the works and the development of different styles inside these micro-worlds made in various dimensions.

Tolo Cañellas

Do you think Albert and Laurina’s career paths crossed by chance? I don’t. They both met mine separately. At first there was Paperina’s work Freak Show in the Travesía Cuatro gallery in 2008, which was like love at first sight. I was particularly attracted by her sense of irony, all her research is based on wit, sarcasm and sour milk, by using friendly language and cartoons’ aesthetic taste. Talking and, openly criticizing the world of art from the inside, placing it in a kind of thoughtless reality are typical characteristics of Paperina. In 2010, a friend of mine contacted me and invited me to see the works of one of his friends as he was convinced I would like them. He then sent me so many catalogues and publications so, I must admit, it took me quite some time to open that envelope and have a look at it (actually it was not a good period in my life). At first glance I immediately liked his work, but I did not pay enough attention to it. Only some months later, I came across it when I moved house and this time I completely plunged into the painter’s universe while looking at the material. His language is particular and recognizable as full of aliens and flying pigs expressed with a sharp, critical and ironical wit. I was happy that day (also because I had moved house)! Yes, my friend’s friend was Albert Pinya. Later, in 2011, during a trip to Lugano I had the opportunity to see Paperina’s works again, especially the project Hello Hell, on the occasion of an urban art festival, where she presented her range of works.

After a period of 15 years in Madrid I returned to Mallorca in July 2012 and I met Albert personally the same year.  Then I finally surrendered first to his imagery and then to his holistic way of understanding art. I felt I had to work with him. This was the beginning of our relationship artist-curator, made of informal meetings and the prospects of future collaborations. During one of these meetings he told me about an artist who he had known, Laurina Paperina, and he had decided to organize an exhibition named Spaceballs at the gallery where he was exhibiting that time, whose departed owner Ferran Cano I would like to quote in the following: “they are building a bridge between Majorca and Italy”. Referring to that 2013exhibition, you may refer to my article in Nosotros (online page on contemporary art, which I collaborated with):

[…] The Mallorcan artist/curator Albert Pinya (Palma de Mallorca, 1985) met the work of the Italian artist Laurina Paperina (Rovereto, 1980) at an art fair in Berlin in 2008 where he was struck by an artistic flash of lightning. They were speaking the same language “simple and direct, we communicate important and transcendent things in an ironic way”, says Paperina. Some time later they met face to face at another fair in Bologna, there they became friends and shortly after the “super sheriff curator”, as she defines him, proposes her to exhibit at the Ferran Cano gallery, “everything came spontaneously, it was as if we had known each other all our lives and as if we were predestined to meet”, says the artist. That’s how Spaceballs was finally born. […]

In Paperina’s exhibition there was something of Pinya. Maybe they unconsciously influenced each other. In the meantime, I had asked Albert to participate in a project for Espacio Frágil in Madrid. A non-profit space that has marked an entire era in the capital of Spain. Somehow Laurina flew on Hijos de la Garmonbozia (2014) too.

[…] The poetry of uprooting and the representation of the evil under the form of garmonbozia, according to David Lynch’s postulates, under the form of corn as food, gives the artist the right to question himself and above all to rethink a whole series of values of today’s society, showing in a certain way, ironically, that everything is rotten and decayed; wishing to open their eyes, awakening their conscience, however, from a moderately optimistic point of view. Armed with great self-confidence, Pinya converts the Fragile Space, and by extension the rest of the cabin, to the red room, where the beings of the black loggia live, a sort of place in the middle of nowhere, where the notion of space-time does not exist […]

[…] On the black and white ground (once again duality) and at the feet of that transgenic Venus, rest a series of vividly coloured drawings, which actually show those situations of fear and pain […]

[…] The set is completed by an audio responsible for the musical project Exorcismo, where it acoustically alters a poem that the artist recites, like a sound landscape, like modelling a three-dimensional collage […]

According to the postulates of the psychologist Carl Jung, who coined the term “synchronicity” to refer to the “simultaneity of two events linked by sense and not by chance”, he concluded that there is a connection between the individual and his environment. This connection sometimes generates attraction eventually creating coincident circumstances, which have a specific value for the people who are living it, with a symbolic meaning. So, could Pinya and Paperina (and I) have been part of a synchronous experience and receive the influx of Unus Mundus, that hidden world Jung talks about and that permeates everything we know? Without doubt, and from the perspective of time (according to Descartes), both exhibitions are the prelude to Wormhole, or perhaps they are already Wormhole. It could be the result of a regression to a life passed through that space tunnel, from that hypothetical shortcut through space-time, in order to be exactly like that, to indicate the way towards Wormhole, a joint exhibition, with four-handed works, but also a single duo. A path from the future to the past, which modifies everything that is necessary. Thus, everything that happened has to happen, or more simply coexist in this holographic universe where past, present and future take place simultaneously.

This post is also available in: Italian