Canadian-born Ecuadorian artist Carlo Polidoro López invites us to question the boundary between the art and the ordinary object in his latest solo exhibition — PROCESO. Immediately seen through the glass doors of Galerie LarocheJoncas, visitors are greeted by a large piece of canvas stretched across the entryway, reading “PLEASE DO NOT THROW ALL THIS OUT I WILL BE BACK…” With no other point of access to the show, visitors are forced to engage conscientiously even before entering, prompted by the question of how we are expected to interact and navigate within institutional settings. Written in López’s own frenzied handwriting, this piece sets the tone for the entire visit in preserving a glimpse of the artist’s journey.
While PROCESO reflects on the stages of becoming, both in his personal life and in setting up the gallery space, the use of objects as visual anecdotes plays a common theme throughout López’s work. Inspired by fragments of his experiences in Montreal and memories from back in Ecuador, the narrative projected onto found and discarded items become an essential driving force for his automatic compositions.. The combination of both controlled and accidental ways of arranging his materials recalls the sense of passage— where change is inevitable, growth is necessary, and survival is key.
In situating everyday items within the gallery space, López‘s immersive environment also becomes reminiscent of the domestic sphere. In bringing sculptural elements to his drawn works, there is a clear address to the body and traces of its movement. The dynamic placement of López‘s works, some hanging on the walls, draped over the ceiling, or even scattered on the floor, captures the energy temporarily inhibited by the space.Each object acts as souvenirs of the artist’s most intimate memories and, in bringing in our own subjective realities to interpret them, we become spectators to López’s life.
By experimenting with the fundamental processes of collecting, sorting, and arranging, PROCESO provides a space to contemplate the social and emotional life of objects. In using a variety of premade and perishable media — such as paper, cardboard, plastic, string and tape — López’s installation demands a chaotic and continuous gaze that juxtaposes playfulness with provocation. While his materials are not necessarily chosen for their aesthetic qualities, the formal consideration taken into his constructions appeal to a different notion of beauty; one that is representative of truth and harmony in invoking a warm and nostalgic reaction. Through spontaneity, Carlo Polidoro López constructs poetic visual metaphors that bridge the gap between life and art.
Vania Djelani, Montréal, February 2021
Photo Credit: Jean Michael Seminaro