Collaging by CHITO
April 29 - June 4
For some, the symbolic qualities of fences as limits or security act as an invitation towards transgression. Such has been the case for American visual artist and designer, Chito (1996), whose prolific oeuvre is threaded by a series of leitmotifs: a cast of characters, often airbrushed onto various surfaces, embody and typify the recurring themes of his idiosyncratic work. In Chito’s latest solo exhibition, Collaging, 17 pieces show “materials collected from life” —
designer goods like an Hermès silk scarf or Comme des Garçons fabric — interacting with rectangular metal frames of fencing. Likewise, a pair of aluminum suitcases, usually emblems of sophistication, lay haphazardly on the gallery’s floor. All pieces have been intervened by the artist’s airbrush and spray can, thus becoming graphic or textual communiqués. Initially intended as symbols of status and luxury, the items on display instead become vehicles for messages about the contemporary condition; allusions to Chito’s nomadic life experience as well as references to our collective values. The fabrics are precariously twisted and overlaid onto fencing, a decision which is both suggestive of the materials’ previous veneer of unattainability, and of the power of being able to see through symbolic barriers. The luggage represents the damage we accrue through time and movement. By desecrating their purported worth, Chito points to the absurdity of our desires. The narratives presented in Collaging coexist in opposition to each other, a tension which lends
the pieces the quality of questions, even — or perhaps especially — when they frame themselves as statements. Regarding the exhibition, Chito describes “grimy kawaii characters” and objects that are “cute but sturdy.” It seems to be the natural progression of his career, which has seen him engrossed by strange dichotomies, and the places and objects that can function as vessels for unexpected revelations.