Celebrating Destruction

Milano, 24/05 – 20/07, 2012

The Jerome Zodo Contemporary art gallery is proud to present Celebrating Destruction, the first personal exhibition of Spanish artist Eugenio Merino (1975, Madrid). The exhibition opens on Thursday 24th May at 18:30 at the Gallery in Via Lambro 7, Milan.

Eugenio Merino is a contemporary artist who made himself known on the contemporary scene, above all, for his acute provocations, including his latest work, presented at the ARCOMadrid 2012 Exhibition with the ADN Gallery Barcellona, Always Franco, which portrayed General Franco preserved in a Coca Cola freezer. 
Taking inspiration from popular media culture and various historic events, the artist’s work stands out because of his constant analysis of paradox; in a continuous duality between hypocrisy and frankness, reality and falsehood, respect and offence, playfulness and seriousness, his dissident style pushes away and rejects any pale veil of intellectualism, to restore art with a more captivating and ironic character. In his search to discover the essence and substance hidden in the appearance of things, Eugenio Merino uses the very nature of art itself, from languages to form, through mechanisms that regulate expression, to put his subversive politics on centre stage.

Eugenio Merino is a cynical and decidedly ‘anarchic’ artist. He euphorically pantomimes characters as objects, handling reality with pungent provocations: oxymora, aphorisms, play-on-words and what ever else is required to weave his works, just like the one that lends its name to his first Italian exhibition Celebrating Destruction (2011), a bottle of Champagne is popped and the liquid condenses into an atomic cloud.

Far from his early works, in most part inspired by popular mythology, the artist presents a more mature and ambitious creative phase, in which reflection invokes a new semantic divided between symbology and contemporary attitudes. Analysing the hypocrisy that accompanies the dynamics of power, our sight is directed, in particular, to scenes of war, and three silicone sculptures dominate the space in the Gallery: No Return Policy (2011) and Jack in the Box (2011) that portrays three soldiers still wrapped up in packing crates; the reflection is widened to the identity of the hero now seen as simply an object to be sent away for political or juridical aims that nations adopt in the name of peace. However, the adoption of a simple and fascinating methodology does not betray the artist’s criticism, in works such as Victory or Death (2011) or Gates of Hell (2011), Eugenio Merino stresses and, once again, affirms his position: two fingers shown as a sign of peace are not enough to forget and cancel the atrocities of war and the swastika used as a key-hole will not lock a door forever.

Eugenio Merino was born in Madrid, Spain in 1975, where he still lives and works today. After fnishing his studies at the Università Complutense in Madrid, he showed his works in various and important international artistic exhibitions including: Paradox: The Limits of Liberty, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam; Sculpture Quadrennial Riga 2012, Riga, Latvia; Lens Politica – Festival and Media Art Festival, Helsinki, Finland; The Armory Show, galería Nina Menocal, New York. Recently: (2010) One Shot! Football and Contemporary Art at BPS22, Charleroi, Belgium; The Biennial Animamix, Taipei, Taiwan; Ink Art Biennial in Shenzhen, China; No More Heroes Anymore, AND Gallery, Barcelona, Spain; (2009) La Comunidad Desbordada, Pabellòn Mixtos, Ciudadela, Pamplona, Spain, and in previous years.