PAWS AND CLAWS
Plus je connais les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens 1
L21 Palma announces Paws and Claws, Alex Chien's first solo exhibition in Spain. The Greek artist presents his new paintings dedicated to two of the most recognisable characters in his iconography: a friendly dog and his faithful pet, a green dinosaur that accompanies him everywhere he goes.
Chien introduces humour and tenderness into his compositions, which are characterised by a slow execution and in which he takes great care and a lot of patience over detail. His project unfolds a series of pleasant, everyday situations in the shape of the two protagonists’ portraits, who pose happily and delighted.
Chien's canvases represent luminous moments that follow one after the other as if they were a dream that occurs while our eyes are open; as if they were the fruit of a child's lively and ever-brimming imagination. The circumstance they evoke - and to which they refer - is, precisely, childhood. Wandering through his exhibition, the carefree and full illusion with which children live comes to the surface.
His trajectory as a graffiti artist is evident in his current techniques, such as the use of the airbrush in the precise lines that circumscribe the simplified forms of the characters and backgrounds. He also highlights the smooth gradient and the very meditated and coherent use of colour in all his compositions.
The dinosaur accompanies the dog in everyday situations and also in some adventures: while playing sports, reading, resting or carrying wood for the fireplace. The charming idealism of these scenes omits the latent threat of paws and claws, turning them into domestic games that take place in a safe and secure environment.
His atmospheres do not propose an escape, because there is no place to escape to. They are rather an invitation to imagine other circumstances where pleasures and serenity are within our reach, celebrating the little things of everyday life.
As the artist himself states in a recent interview: “I don’t like nowadays pretentious seriousness. In the end by creating an alternate universe filled with my own version of characters gives you a godly kind of feeling. Every one is the creator of their own universe when painting”2.
Alex Chien's paintings function precisely as gifts, they are travel tickets to reach a pleasurable and joyful dimension. A place where you can discover yourself safe and feel on your skin the wonder of being in the world, of being able to look at reality like a five-year-old child. And they achieve this twofold: both for the artist, who during the making of
these canvases stops thinking about the hustle and bustle of everyday life and worries, to abandon himself to concentrate on his painting. But also for the viewer, who indulges in a longing nostalgia within a paradoxical daydream. Even if it is only for a while, we both (artist and spectator) return to the period of full hopes, where everything is new, where existence itself is a promise and happiness seems to last forever... These works allow us to imagine and move towards such a serenity, dazzling, without shadows.
As we move through the exhibition, we notice that his works include a certain dynamism and the context in which his characters move is well defined. As his narrative develops and his motifs are enriched, the artist's compositions and pictorial resources become more sophisticated, although without losing their frontality. For Chien, it is a question of creating appetizing, relaxed, joyful sensations. The pleasure of small moments. His works aim to be a means to reach them, even if only for an instant, so that they are not just a longed-for memory.
Alex Chien's painting allows us to rediscover that feeling of well-being and offers us the possibility of staying there for a while. At least, as long as his exhibition lasts; or at least, as long as we decide to extend our contemplation in front of his canvases. Such a pleasant reverie, let's hope no one wakes us up!