Bruno Peinado’s work operates through a principle of contamination and cultural mix, melting influences and references in a way we could define as “democratic” and free from any constriction. The artist blurs the distinction between the so-called “high” culture, reserved to the elite, and a popular culture spread through communication means, cultural industry and advertizing; by doing so, he assembles eclectic elements coming from different temporalities, cultural and disciplinary fields.
The title of this exhibition shows that even language is a means of hybridization for Peinado, an artistic matter he manipulates and distorts. Wild Angle plays with the idea of a broad and open point of view (“wide angle”, corresponding to a typology of photographic lens), juxtaposed with an unpredictable “wild” dimension that resists to domestication and moves away from the common schemes and models of representation. Some images integrate with the social sphere without their media, cultural and social impact being reconsidered critically. Peinado extracts and put them in contact with other references, inviting the viewer to adopt another viewing angle. This tension can be perceived through the exhibited works; familiar signs and codes shock with alien objects, “made-up” by the artist till they become unrecognizable. Despite this, images can provoke a feeling of “déjà-vu”, like in the installation “Les Ambassadeurs”. The work takes up a model of representation considered as an exercise of mastery and sophistication during Renaissance: the anamorphosis. It applies it, ironically, to a very common and almost trivial sign of our time, the smiley.
Humor and irony have indeed a fundamental site in Peinado’s work, as devices used to mediate the inevitable clash between diverse cultures and ideals, which is characteristic of our globalized world. In the sculpture “Kinky Afro”, the raised black fist (symbol, among others, of the Black Panthers’ struggle) belongs in an ironic way to a character of comics, very likely Mickey Mouse, which was often denounced as a symbol of U.S imperialism. The installation “Sans titre- I melt with you” displays national flags, objects that usually crystallize identities and patriotic feelings. The flags are declined in eleven versions fading gradually, up to total white. Erasure does not appear here as a negative fact, but as the first condition to receive other influences and melt with them.
In accordance with this gamble on hybrid cultural forms that resonate with his own half-blood roots, the artist pays tribute to a literary and political trend that brought in one of the most important social and political transformations of the last century: the “Négritude”, initiated in the second half of the 20th century. Peinado diverts a classical sculpture of Hermes, protecting god of the travelers and poets. Classical Greek sculpture is seen as a very significant step into occidental culture; in Peinado’s work, it is hijacked by other identities, black and Creole, like those of poets Aimé Césaire and Edouard Glissant, eulogists of a multi-sourced culture, cosmopolite, mobile and open.