Contemporary Absurd: the Cruel Satire of Joan Cornellà

Contemporary Absurd: the Cruel Satire of Joan Cornellà
#Art

“I’m good, thanks,” declares the title of the exhibition, and, in fact, there is a constant smile in the paintings of Joan Cornellà. But upon closer inspection, her cartoon-like scenes exude the blackest sort of humour. With seven million followers on Instagram, the Catalan artist who lives in Hong Kong returns to the United Kingdom with a new and stunning series of new works. In the exhibition at the Public Gallery, a three-dimensional self-portrait sits at the centre of the hall, posing for a selfie. But the goal of Cornellà is certainly not to become a star of social media - her work is a scathing satire of contemporary life, bitter and no-holds-barred. From Kim Jong-un to the lady next door, and even the author herself, we are all bound to fall prey to her scathing irony. While the pastel colours are reminiscent of the publicity of the 1950s, the subjects of her paintings are totally from the present - addictions and questions of gender, abortions and technology, right up to the “masturbatory culture of the selfie”, these are the impulses behind her bizarre and surreal worlds. It doesn’t matter if someone shoots them, if nobody loves them or if they are the victims of a macabre accident - the characters of Cornellà continue to smile, up to their necks in the absurdity of daily life.

Francesca Grego - © 2019 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London