A solo exhibition by Luis Cobelo
Curated by Marisa Caichiolo & Fabian Goncalvez Borrega
Presented by Building Bridges Art Exchange in partnership with Art Museum of the Americas - Organization of American States.
Luis Cobelo: Exploring love, heartbreak and life experiences through a dual lens
Fotonovelas are a form of sequential storytelling, similar to photo comics, popularized in Latin America and Europe between the 1960's and 1980's. Much like similar Latin American genres such as telenovelas, fotonovelas are loaded with intense emotions. Hate, passionate and forbidden love, adultery, envy, revenge, fantasies, and explorations of social classes and stereotypes, are just some of the common themes.
Luis Cobelo's conceptualization of fotonovelas takes on a sarcastic, provocative and critical approach in his new series "Te Amo". Made up of black and white photographs filled with sexual tension and using similar overlapping text to traditional comics, the scenes explore archetypes through dramatic characters portraying intense and sometimes violent emotions in their poses/postures and facial expressions. The artist appeals to the viewer's own experience of love and heartbreak, while questioning somewhat toxic or cliché societal stereotypes, aiming to reconcile both sides of the coin. Consequently, this proposal serves as a safe space for viewers to reflect on the dramatic reactions in the scenarios the artist depicts, in a way that feels free from prejudice.
Perhaps a bit more intimate in nature, but with the same critical study of archetypes, love and machismo, Cobelo also presents us with "La Casita de Pilar", a performance installation coming out of his previous project "Chas, Chas", a piece set in the Argentinean neighborhood of Parque Chas in Buenos Aires. Inspired by - yet transcending - Cobelo's unborn sister and what he imagines her character would have been, the room is an ode to Pilar, representing her values and temperament through its decor. Vintage accents in the living room and wooden dining table á la anglaise show she is conservative and sophisticated. The fotonovelas and the hanging rifle left by a long-lost love unveil her as being heartbroken. The ballads playing and pictures of pop culture Argentinean icon Sandro reveal she is still a romantic woman, and believes in love, especially in her own love. The artist explores these values in two ways: one through the eyes of an imagined protagonist, Pilar, incarnated by Cobelo himself, and the other by creating a fictional dialogue between them and the viewers.
Pilar emerges from "Chas, Chas" to introduce everyone to the debut exhibition of "Te Amo". Both proposals, equally captivating in their metaphors and symbolism, are sure to leave viewers inspired to embark on an introspective journey.