Pio Abad at the Zabludowicz Collection
This exhibition couldn’t have been better timed. With a dark cloud rising over North Korea and the death of one of modern Britain’s most notorious political leaders, it is as if this small show from Pio Abad was scheduled on purpose.
Throughout his creative career Abad has scrutinised the connection between events and their public representation. With the utmost sharpness, he inflates propaganda to a level that only just breaches the limits of believability. Touching ever so delicately on satire, all of the work is subtle and pleasingly unpretentious.
In this collection of artworks at Zabludowicz Collection, Pio Abad’s signature premise of “uncovered connections” is explored this time via the 13th World Festival of Youth in North Korea, held in 1989. Imagery from this pseudo-cultural event is skilfully crafted into lavish, but deviously conceptual pieces that illustrate the factually diluted and embellished representation of past events.
Particularly striking are Chollima commemorative silk scarf, inspired by Hermès’ luxury designs, and Replica of the Ryugyong Hotel adorned with the bling of gleaming festival souvenirs. Both works fluently describe Abad’s perception of the antiquated falseness behind monuments and written legacies: meaning is synthesised, concealed and reduced to a simulation of itself. Whilst the battle blazes on between Thatcherites and “witch-burners” UK-wide, he has spectacularly underlined a call for us all to re-address historical and political fact before we find ourselves living in the future of an entirely romanticised and miscoloured past.
The marriage of heavy and unexposed topics with disposable, commercial motifs highlights a decline in political and social consciousness that has been mutating since the beginning of civilisation. The viewer becomes poignantly aware of his or her own ignorance of the world around them.
The versatility in this exhibition is exquisite, and such a small space makes you yearn for more. The vitality of Abad’s art is equal both in its visual effect and its concepts, truly capturing both vision and conscience. His insight is indispensable in our times and his execution highly commendable – Pio Abad is undoubtedly an artist for the modern masses and is well and truly up-and-coming.
Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Pio Abad is at the Zabludowicz Collection until 19th May 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.
For further information about Pio Abad visit his website here.