FOCUS BIENNALE: LET’S KILL NICOLE | JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI
A long-eared fawn, its a little lost gaze, its paws inside a pair of trendy Uggs. It stands in front of a pink and white corridor in which bright Irish pub signs follow one another in a dilated and distorted room that ends with large neon Keystone Light. Jamian Juliano-Villani’s painting is the result of a sum of elements, quotes and references that the artist assembles following an anarchic stream of though, ignoring any hierarchy. Let’s Kill Nicole (2019), a large canvas, fits perfectly into Juliano-Villani’s practice, managing to represent the most surreal, cute and grotesque aspect of our everyday life.
The bright colors and the subject, which seems to come out of a cartoon, become the visual counterweight to the psychological complexity that the artist inscribes within her compositions: like a crazy puzzle, the American artist’s painting is composed of images whose sources are of the most varied, drawing on the personal life of Juliano-Villano as a great erotic cinema tradition of the Seventies and Eighties or clear references to pop culture. The canvas therefore becomes a result of different stories and anecdotes to which we can or often cannot have access: the union of these elements generates an ironic and disturbing vision, a secret that we try to investigate.
The absurdity of Juliano-Villano’s narrative is the resulting harmony that arises from these ambitious combinations of subjects: it hardly seems like there is anything strange if a fawn in the middle of a pink room is wearing fashionable shoes or is getting ready to have a beer at one of the Irish Pubs behind it with its puppet friend. Everything falls within its established range. “My works are like highway accidents: there is always something represented inside that you can’t really explain to you” with these words the artist describes her works and, all in all, this image requires to be reassembled, to put together with the various pieces scattered after the accident. The random, disturbing and funny associations find their order in the gaze of the observer who, by becoming familiar with this mass of symbols, memories and quotes, reconstructs his own story. Let’s Kill Nicole, without telling us who Nicole actually is, shows in a frightening and tender way the complexity of human thought but above all its fragility: spinning in a vortex of references and memories, the thought is now wedged in the pink and white checkered room, perhaps a respite or perhaps a trap.
Let’s Kill Nicole, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 243,4 x 182,9 x 3,8 cm
© Dario Lasagni, courtesy MASSIMODECARLO