Juan Araujo at Stephen Friedman Gallery
Born in Venezuela in 1971, Juan Araujo is widely acclaimed and has exhibited work internationally since the late 1990s. His work has featured in both solo and collaborative exhibitions in Sao Paolo, San Diego and New York, and in high profile collections such as Tate Modern.
The work displayed here offers a snapshot of the creative dialogue between Araujo and the architect from whom he draws principal inspiration, Brazilian-born Vilanova Artigas. This collection of Araujo’s work draws out the stylistic hybridity that informs his approach. Our understanding of architectural modernism, of neoplasticism and of the perception of colour is tried and tested through Araujo’s negotiation of the boundary between the original and its reproduction.
A materially explorative, thematically diverse engagement with Latin American architecture has been the artist’s focus since the early 2000s. While Casa Baeta IX, (2014) is oil on canvas, Baeta Back Light (2014) is comprised of glass in four parts, and is of variable dimensions, demonstrating the disparity in media utilised by Araujo. Most experimental is Complementary Shadows (2014-15), made from MDF, silk, paper, lamp and wood. The captions are appropriately minimal and factual, encouraging personal interpretation of pieces already highly visually vocal. Though accessible and well-ordered, Araujo’s serial approach is understated in this collection. This arguably limits our ability to appreciate his creation of works that function less as a portfolio, and more as a map charting the stylistic journeys of artists whose work he seeks to reproduce.
The roomy Stephen Friedman gallery, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, is the ideal venue for contemporary solo exhibitions; the Juan Araujo collection inhabits the modest space both literally and figuratively, enabling a connection between works to surface while keeping each separate. It is a fresh and challenging collection that provides a unique opportunity to engage with the recent work of Juan Araujo.
Photos: Matthew Pull
Juan Araujo is at Stephen Friedman Gallery until 7th March 2015, for further information visit here.