Art Mass-media mutilation in Pablo Bermudez’s work

Mass-media mutilation in Pablo Bermudez’s work

Giorgia Massari
Pablo Bermudez |

Artist Pablo Bermudez performs a mutilation, a disembowelment, a defacement of the pop image. Terms with a strong negative and bloody meaning but that best explicate the operation carried out by the Colombian artist on mass-media images. In fact, his action affects the advertising image proposed by fashion magazines, comics and newspapers in general, with the aim of sabotaging the message conveyed by brands, which hijack the masses’ thinking through advertisements and implicit messages, conditioning their consumption and therefore their thoughts and habits. Pablo Bermudez (1988) starts with the image of a magazine, often an icon, a model or model, or just as often the cover, without separating it from its container -the magazine- but keeping the whole object, making a kind of sculpture. With the use of a scalpel, Bermudez carves into the eyes or mouths of the characters, digging deep and at the same time depriving them of their identity, of what makes them human and therefore recognizable. In this way, the icons lose their personality, bringing out what lies within the pages: phrases, images and colors. By losing their connotations, they lose their function as vehicles. The subversion of the image is complete.

The viewer in this way is placed in front of a magazine that no longer needs to be leafed through but is opened from the inside, emerging outward in a three-dimensional manner. The filaments, clippings and paper tears create an explosion, giving dynamism to the work.
Pablo Bermudez performs a destruction of pop imagery, transforming images into other images. Destroying but at the same time creating. However, the destruction is not complete: the artist chooses to keep certain elements, such as the titles of the magazines – “Playboy,” “Batman” – or the rest of the subjects’ faces, thus creating a strong visual connection. The viewer immediately recognizes the manipulated element without being able to enjoy it, however, and thus is forced into reflection.

Written by Giorgia Massari
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