The synergy of rock music and geometric abstraction.
Artist Juan Bolivar fuses rock music with geometric abstraction, and his studio buzzes with this raucous energy. AC/DC blasts in the background as we step into the dynamic space, located in the basement of the London home that Bolivar shares with his partner Karen David, an artist and curator herself. To assert this influence of rock, an electric guitar and amp lie against one wall, while Bolivar is dressed accordingly in a Def Leppard t-shirt, blending into his surroundings. Paintings fill the walls, depicting the band logos of Iron Maiden, Van Halen and AC/DC. There are other familiar emblems – a Hollywood sign sits above Kazimir Malevich’s red house; Mickey Mouse’s hand points out of Piet Mondrian’s primary colours; a monochrome Yves Saint Laurent is reminiscent of Theo van Doesburg. The humorous element of Bolivar’s work is evident: he plays with language and representation through his titles and imagery. Pieces in all of their stages overwhelm the room – curious works in progress, completed canvases packed in bubble wrap, empty stretchers awaiting blank canvas. Organised materials are stacked and labelled – tubes of paint, carefully mixed colours, large brushes and rollers – alongside a collection of books exploring the theory behind modern painting. In a final glance around, bright blocks of colour and satisfyingly flat paint catch my eye. The music surges and I’m left pondering how Bolivar’s two disparate inquiries have become intrinsically linked. Yet as I notice a painting in which one of Malevich’s figures wears an AC/DC top, one can understand this symbiosis when met by our inherent cultural expectations.