cheo gonzalez

100 PORTRAITS

The portrait as a form of intimate and collective dialogue.

A dialogue with the street.

In this combination of works, Cheo Gonzalez shows how through portraiture, an intimate conversation directed towards self-knowledge can be facilitated, as well as an external dialogue with an anonymous group that represents the collective spirit of undefined but existing groups.

In the exhibition “100 Portraits”, Cheo Gonzalez brings together works from his previous exhibitions “Horrible Self-Portraits” (2015) and “Portraits” (painted between 2015 and 2018).

In these works, the artist shows his interest in the graphic form that the interaction between official communication and popular response takes, which is normally expressed as intervention or graffiti on posters and walls, and the casual superimposition, which with layers of posters, graffiti, and patina, generates collective abstract works that the artist reconstructs. To do this, Cheo Gonzalez uses paper that he pastes and peels off from the walls of the street, and then rebuilds and paints over it again, exemplifying the dirty and vertical dialogue between official power and cultural resistance. But this time, within the work of art.

In the older works of the “Horrible Self-Portraits” series, from 2015, the artist bases himself on the immediacy of the digital format to generate a critical conversation with his own image. In the more recent pieces, the artist continues this communication, but this time with people on the street, proposing important themes for this anonymous collective at that political moment, such as religion, race, sexuality, and voting intention. This conversation is proposed by pasting his work on the street to be anonymously intervened by the public, who in this context also becomes an author. Then, Cheo Gonzalez retrieves his work, restores it in the studio, and sometimes intervenes it again and pastes it back on the street. With this process, the artist tries to generate a connection between his work and popular opinion, creating a physical and aesthetic record of this conversation, thus declaring the anonymous collective as an artist, co-author, and therefore, a voice within his work.