Juan Sebastián Peláez | Fifth Generation


The Tony Hawk memes

We live in era of death, we know all those pretty little things we exhaust ourselves working for, which we buy with heart and soul, do not have much time left. From the distant commercial idea of long-lastingness we moved onto the updated, or, better said, onto what is updated. It is no surprise our own lives, the universes we inhabit and our daily politics are crossed by such dynamics. We have to keep up-to-date with information, know the topics people are talking about, maintain with the world’s stark speed. That’s what social networks and Internet are for, to remind us that we lag behind every second passed and, that it is possible to overcome such asynchrony.

The feeling of being updated connects us to the rest of the world, makes us democratic “participating parties”, not very subversive ones, though; I have not realized anything worthwhile when I say that it is impossible to catch up with the infinite over-production of information and technology. A bombing in Syria, a violation in the city South, the launching of a video game console, our only chance is to make quick and out of context comments about all sort of phenomena. A meme is a quintessential critical image: it is quickly adapted, uses few resources and becomes viral easily; as well, it profits from the source of information, and precise as it is it fades at lightning speed.

Fifth Generation by Juan Sebastián Peláez is some sort of meme. It is an exercise capable of addressing obsolescence, using modernity’s antiquated values. It can disguise as corporate decorative art through look-alike geometric and pictorial simple signs that ultimately are just a zoom in of the logo of another product facing extinction in the ocean of promises. It takes advantage of modern art prominence in fairs, collections and galleries to insert an image that does not pertain with modernity’s professed ideals of perpetuation and eternity. Conversely, the images proposed by Juan Sebastián Peláez are a mere vestige of an indiscernible digital phenomenon in the tangled mess of these same phenomena, the cadaverous vestige of another economic experiment that certainly was a boom in the world of video games, but today is no more that a cult object for a bunch of geeks that have not realized yet that absolutely everything since its inception is condemned to vintage-ness.

Tony Hawk is an American skater who has won countless skate championship titles. In 1999 Hawk signed a generous contract with Activision for a game for the Nintendo 64 console. Inadvertently he was signing the console’s death warrant. Subsequently to the launch of the game with its name, Nintendo decided to stop the Nintendo 64 production and launched Wii’s predecessor the Game Cube. Therefore, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 was the 3D graphics epitaph of a product that generated Nintendo millions of dollars in sales around the globe. I like to think Juan Sebastián Peláez paintings are ironic epitaphs for decorative painting, a genre of painting, which, although crumbling, still maintains an uncorrupted status among certain economic and esthetic groups – if such thing makes any sense. I like to think these paintings are a game, a ruse, some kind of sham, as everything is in these times of death and programmed obsolescence.

Gabriel Mejía Abad

Exhibition: Fifth Generation
Artist: Juan Sebastián Peláez
Dates: June 22nd to August 4th, 2017

Venue: (bis) | oficina de proyectos
Address: Calle 23 Norte # 6AN-17, oficina 412, Cali – Colombia

Opening times:
Monday – Tuesday / by appointment only
Wednesday – Thursday – Friday / 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Saturday / by appointment only