Pablo Guardiola searches and achieves in finding the poetic in everyday objects; a paper bag with a grease stain becomes a world map, and a simple globe toy a paradox that points to geographical uncertainties and an increasing globalized economy. The use of different mediums of representation, such as photography, installation, found objects and sculptures, is clearly just a vehicle to mediate the relationship between perception and visual representation, which in his work coincide but still remain at odds with each other.
His practice entails a post-conceptual approach to the object. What we see as spectators are familiar objects that through Guardiola’s lens acquire different significations; his pieces stand as intermediary platforms where meaning is renegotiated and constructed. Born in Puerto Rico but based in San Francisco, the influence of the Caribbean is subtle but still existent. Not in terms of a particular tropical aesthetic, one that could be considered clichéd and trite, but in his interest in light, geographies and containment. In the piece Some ideas should be kept warm (2007), Guardiola uses the box as a self-contained environment for the incubation of ideas; a familiar object that provokes numerous conceptual readings.
In a recent solo show, Primero la Caja (First the Box) at Galería de la Raza in San Francisco, Guardiola took as a starting point a quote from Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa that deals once more with this idea of the contained: “There is no synthesis where there isn’t a criteria for synthesis; for the same reason that you cannot put things in a box if there is no box.” The exhibition was comprised of 17 C-Prints, three sculptures and various found objects presented as one single installation. In this exhibition, the box is a metaphor for both visual and conceptual propositions. Each object presented a clue to a narrative that can be interpreted and understood as heteronyms of one single identifying concept; a paradox that points to interspersing associations and chance encounters.
Pablo Guardiola holds an MFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has shown his work in Galeria de la Raza, Little Tree Gallery, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC), Puerto Rico, among others. He lives and works in San Francisco.
Images provided by the artist
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