Christopher Moller Gallery, Cape Town, SA
16 February – 23 March 2018
Andrew Salgado returns to Cape Town with a show that debuted at the Cape Town Art Fair and relocated to Christopher Moller Gallery. Salgado’s newest output, Dirty Linen / The Nihilist’s Alphabet, presents two separate related bodies. Dirty Linen consists of 10 paintings that are – for the first time – all executed on linen support. But the title also suggests the act of ‘airing one’s dirty laundry’ – a colloquialism for an over-sharing of secrets, but as Salgado assures us, with his maturation as a man and an artist, he is becoming less of an autobiographer, keen to remove his own intention from the work; a way for Salgado to ‘share less’, in order to allow the viewer to come to their own conclusions. Despite their sugary, saccharine veneer, the work seems to keep viewers at a distance, simultaneously inviting but also deflecting the viewer. Always one to play emotive tricks, Salgado seems aware of his ability to play with the viewer’s emotions.
In Talisman, the lead image from the exhibition, Salgado has found a sort-of visual metonym for his practice as a whole. He states: “to ‘go forward’, one must go back. I first painted Sandro like this in early 2016, with the plastic dollar store rose, and I love the image because it invites while it refuses: wholly Romantic but totally ironic – and I view my whole practice like that”. Salgado to the mood board with words like chocolate, dirt, Willy Wonka, and technicolor, and the resulting works function like a hallucinatory dream. The adjacent Nihilist’s Alphabet consists of 20 works on paper that seem to weave, wander, and interlace many of the concepts seen in the paintings with a cruder, more immediate approach. The viewer is compelled to find such connections as though drawing circles on a word-map. One sees how the subject in the two drawings, Castle and Young Price, recurs as the culminating painting in the beastly and triumphant Take This Pleasure, a piece that Salgado refers to as inhabiting an “overtly, self-conscious gleefulness… a beastliness.
“This desire to grow up, and out, of my own solipsistic realm has been nagging at me for some time. I wanted these to be more about my base materials, and specifically how my marks felt on the surface, and how they were presented in an environment. I didn’t want this work to be about me.”