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About Luiz Pasqualini's Work

The ephemeral of everyday life, the fleeting and sometimes alienating moments that the socioeconomic system in which we live, and which shapes the domestic, urban and suburban realities to which we belong become complex stories rich in meaning and significance in the realist painting of Luiz Pasqualini. The artist's works turn the ordinary into a politicized agent; into a perennial nucleus of conflict, questioning and negotiation of Brazilian political, ethical and economic reality.

Historically, social realism has its origins in 19th century France, where artists such as Gustave Courbet devoted themselves to painting only what they saw and experienced, detached from sentimentality and emotion. This strategy symbolised a complete rejection of the values of the Romantics and of academic conventions in the world of painting. Pasqualini adheres to this spirit of pure and simple engagement with social reality as it is, but in the 21st century, he does not disown the pictorial tradition and the legacy of the great masters of past eras; of the treasures of historical academic production.

In doing so, the most interesting and unique character of Pasqualini's oeuvre is the strength of anachronism as an impetus for contemporaneity. In fact, the artist fuses - fearlessly and with a sagacious irony - the logos and glamorous brand pieces that the modern mass media proposes to us as the foundations of a hedonistic lifestyle with the palettes and formal representations of the European Baroque. Pasqualini surprises and impresses us when he describes the human subject with the skill of a shrewd and refined portrait painter, clearly referring to Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Vermeer, and, at the same time, making use of contemporary human values and aspirations crystallized in a Chanel case, in Calvin Klein underwear, or in the culture of the selfie.

Pasqualini paints the contemporary Brazilian reality with an overwhelming density and a direct and forceful critical spirit. In the glossary of his iconography are present elements directly related to the notion of brasility, which symbolise the nation, which are stereotypes of social class and of the ethical and behavioural compartmentalisation of society resulting from capitalism. Religion, consumerism, the 'semio-capitalist' dimension of the 21st century, street culture, that of the masses, and even the biased and pretentious art system are themes explored by Pasqualini with an uncompromising candour and emphasis on the material dimension of existence.


By Kalinca Costa Söderlund

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