Guacuco
a solo show by Alexander Mignot

15 December 2023 — 14 January 2024


OVERVIEW

When we think about layers, we can understand them archaeologi- cally, conceptually, and materialistically. Layers of earth upon itself over time covering artefacts. The stratification of concepts leveled upon themselves. The applications of paint and other materials to a canvas through an artistic process. With these new works, Alexander Mignot asks us to consider the layers in ourselves which lead us to our current state of being. He exposes in the materiality of his work layers of paint upon a layer of sand upon a layer of adhesive. At its core this brings us to engage with the vibrating dynamic of accumulation. As we grow and evolve through life we carry our past selves underneath our current selves. The notion that who we were is replaced by who we are now is predicated upon the absence of memory, and since memory is a core feature of cognition, this cannot be true. And, the consistent tendency for humanity to memorialise itself is quite clear.

Mignot who has a history of exploration of different places on the planet, has moved through time and place, accumulating memory, experience, and images. Much of his process has to do with exposing the way in which his autobiography intersects with the collective experience of becoming. His paintings speak to both the transformation of self and the transformation of ones environment. Deeply influenced by his growing up in Venezuela and his extensive time spent surfing, again with these works Mignot brings us away from the amended protocols of continental Europe, transports us to an island, and lets us travel through the colourful and the elemental as a form of play. By titling his paintings with the names common foods he grew up eating and which are regionally specific to his country or origin, we are given the opportunity to enact our own flavour palettes. To make a painting edible. To activate tertiary senses through the experience of painting. These are opportunities that the artist offers to the viewer.

Although certain aspects seem to align, Mignot’s paintings reject their compartmentalisation into the cannon of abstract expressionism. Through his use of humour and text, it is clear that he composes at the level of form as well as thought, succinctly and simultaneously. Above all, his paintings are tactile, they boldly ask to be absorbed and metabolised into the body and psyche. Perhaps this is rooted in his channelling of his experience of being at sea, floating, surfing, which is undeniably physical. So, it is with great finesse and at the same time a gentle push, that this series of paintings is enriching through the complexity of its layers. The artist generously opens the bridge between the autobiographical and the anthropological, while meanwhile transmitting the joyful possibility of his medium.

— Josseline Black


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