SHANGHAI Cristina BanBan “Melancolía” 16 september -23 october 2021. Perrotin Gallery.
BanBan’s large scale paintings are immediately recognizable. Their broad range of fleshy hues and voluptuous brushstrokes depict scenes of contemporary life and snapshots of intimacy. Her female subjects tend toward the Rubenesque, with features enlarged and elongated that spilltowards the edge of frame. These consciously exaggerated figures contain an illustrative clarity of form, occasionally tempered by gestural and abstract intrusions. This combination of precision and obstruction serves to define an emotional response that feels both realistic and swirled through that of memory and feeling. While BanBan’s work engages in direct communion with art historical painting, she also draws from her own reserves of personal recollection and invention. Her ability to merge the contemporary with historical notes underlines an interesting paradox found in the work—a vision both timeless and timely. This can be seen in Le Déjeuner at the Park Güell, a group portrait that takes its figurative composition’s inspiration from Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe. Here, BanBan takes the classical formal cues, but updates the participants and scene to contemporary Barcelona—in Gaudi’s famous park—with a shimmering Mediterranean milieu. The feeling is that of viewing an old snapshot of a group that has since split. Happy, languorous, and sad all at the same time.
Perrotin Gallery. 3/F, 27 HU QIU ROAD, HUANGPU DISTRICT. SHANGHAI