Solo exhibition at Ani Molnár Gallery, Budapest 2022
Carlos Aires (1974) is an internationally acclaimed Spanish artist known worldwide mainly for appropriating icons, traditions and objects from the universe of contemporary popular culture and music. The exhibition at Ani Molnár Gallery, the artist's first solo show in Hungary, presents works that deal with the visual representation of historical and political figures and events, mainly from a critical perspective, often with dark humour and cynicism, always keeping current world political events in mind.
The works of Carlos Aires transcend the technical specificities of photography, sculpture, installation, video art, happening, among other media. One of the main characteristics of his work is transdisciplinarity.
Quotes from pop music hits are juxtaposed with press photography extracted from the archive of the Spanish newspaper ABC, related to disasters in the first half of the 20th century in the Long Play series.
Pop culture and current politics also intersect in the context of music in the video Sweet Dreams Are Made of This.
Two men in riot police uniforms dance a tango in an elegant ballroom to a tango version of the Eurythmics' 1980s hit of the same name, devised and produced by the artist himself. The tango was originally an all-male dance, which is a fact that many people today are unaware of. It is a type of popular genre that has been romanticised over time, but whose origins are closely connected to macho culture.
The other works in the exhibition are linked by a motif that is of particular importance in Carlos Aires' art: money.
In I want to break free, from the series Love Songs for times of Crisis, Carlos Aires appropriates the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on a current banknote and amplifies it. As a trompe l'oeil he places the lyrics of Queen's I want to break free and constructs a high relief.
The spectacular work titled Reflections in a Golden Eye is also based on portraits on banknotes currently in circulation or withdrawn from circulation in many countries around the world. The enlarged cut-outs depict the eyes of historical figures, monarchs and key political figures.
Together they form an all-seeing eye, with which the artist interprets the cultural role of money and explores the long-standing relationship between money, art and value from a contemporary perspective.