Artist: Paul P.
Exhibition title: Arrière-pensée
Venue: Lulu, Mexico City, Mexico
Date: November 23, 2019 – January 25, 2020
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Lulu, Mexico City
Lulu is very pleased to present a solo exhibition of the Canadian artist, Paul P.
The work of Paul P. willfully inhabits a very specific universe and nexus of reference. It looks back to the 19th-century, western origins of homosexuality as a discursive formation and the subsequent flowering of art, literature and coded language occasioned by its taboo status. As such, in P.’s universe we encounter everything from the languorous ethos of the English dandy, to the Whistlerian landscape, to the foredoomed adolescent idealization of beauty, Tadzio, in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. However, anything but nostalgic, P.’s interest in this period has less to do with a fetishization thereof than it does with a pictorial taxonomy of types and codifications. Pursuing this interest, P. looks at and draws upon its crystallization in gay pornography of the 60s and 70s, which becomes the core of his subject matter. It is almost as if he telescoped this entire, clandestine history into portraits culled from these magazines, which he portrays with the narcotic intensity of the otherworldly, here perfectly, if ethereally embodied in watercolor. Over the years, P.’s investigation of this period has expanded to include sculpture, in the form of furniture, and abstraction, among other things. It has been over ten years since the artist has done a show focusing on portraits. But for his exhibition at Lulu, he returns to this core interest, inevitably incorporating into it his exploration of landscape, abstraction and spacial organization which have been his concentration since. It is both a revisitation and a succinct distillation of the artist’s practice, offering a rare opportunity to consider the central stakes of his work and its evolution in its most concise terms.
Paul P. (b. 1977, Canada) lives and works in Canada. P.’s work has been exhibited extensively at international venues including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Freud Museum, London, among others. Select solo and two person exhibitions include Queer Thoughts, New York; Maureen Paley, London; Cooper Cole, Toronto; Participant Inc., New York; Daniel Reich Gallery, New York; The Suburban, Oak Park; Massimo Minini, Brescia; and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg/Paris. P.’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; among others.