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A*Desk invites me to explore the concept of iconic and give an example of what is for me an iconic work of art.
It’s true that the first thing that comes to mind when I think of an iconic image of the art world is the Campbell’s Soup, Louise Bourgeois’ spider, that photograph of Yves Klein jumping, Duchamp’s Urinal, Manzoni’s Merde d’artiste…and I could go on like that for the long list of iconic images that I think we all have in mind.
Now, precisely during the last months, and thanks to this commission, I have realized that I have been using the word iconic very often, and not precisely because I am working with any of the pieces mentioned above.
I understand that I must explore the meaning of iconic from where I am, from Bombon and from my position. That’s what makes the most sense and I know best.
And so, what is iconic for me, and how do I use the power this gives to some of the pieces that I think are iconic or that might become iconic?
As a gallery owner, I’m interested in iconic pieces, pieces by artists I work with that have appeared often, that people recognize, that are in catalogues, that have appeared on exhibition posters, that people see and say, “Ah, it’s that very iconic piece by Pere Llobera!”
As you know, we are very close to the most important fair of the year in the Iberian Peninsula, and as you can imagine, we galleries break our heads thinking about what we can present and what we can do so that the public, the clients, the collectors, feel attracted by our stand and decide, among thousands of other works, to buy the one you present.
I guess you can imagine where I’m going, and how powerful an iconic image can be in the middle of this whole circus. So, I realize that I have been pointed out as iconic a specific image within the trajectory of an artist in the gallery (we understand that the artists here are most of the times not very relevant at a global level, not for that reason less interesting, and therefore the “iconicity” of a piece is relative and depends on the place and the context): Retrat de l’artista adolescent (amb ull de vellut) [Portrait of the adolescent artist (with a black eye)] by Jordi Mitjà, which was a poster for the PUNK exhibition and appears in many of his catalogues and which has often been photographed and re-posted.
And as you can imagine, after this “speech” about what is and is not iconic, this is one of the pieces that we will present at the fair and that we hope will serve to make people say: “Ah! This piece is that veeeeeery iconic photograph of Jordi Mitjà!”
(Featured image: Jordi Mitjà, Retrat de l’artista adolescent (amb ull de vellut), Photography b/w. Figueres.1991-2008)
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