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The reality of being an artist, making art, being alive in a digital era and thus the way we connect to each other is what the Maison Européenne de la Photographie presents in hand with the Spanish artist Coco Capitán on her current solo exhibition titled Busy Living: Everything with Everyone, Everywhere, all of the Time. The first institutional exhibition in Europe of the work of one of the most accomplished artists of her generation is on view until May 26 in Paris.

Showcasing around one hundred and fifty works, the exhibition is conceived as an immersive journey through the artistry of Coco Capitán. You probably already know her for her ongoing collaboration with Alessandro Michele at Gucci, nonetheless, the twenty-seven-year-old artist has been in touch with a camera since the age of seven and became involved in the world of fashion at an early stage of her career. Her art practice stands out for blurring the line between the fine art and the commercial worlds. Capitán masterly implements a wide range of genres that include photography, painting, mural, text, video and installation with a unique sense of honesty and freedom.

By combining intimacy and playfulness with a subtle social critique, the Sevilla-born artist marks a change in thinking. Her photographs and paintings adopt an innate understanding of form while disclosing her sincere statements culturally relevant to the times we live in today. Reflecting her sensitivity to contemporary social issues and in the representation and perception of the body, Busy Living displays many series that provide an insight into the scope of Coco’s body of work.

Art and Commerce after the Big Pop, a series that in particular focuses on Coca-Cola cans, reveals the artist’s critique of consumer society while reflecting a close kinship with the Pop Art movement at the same time. On the other hand, her Fashion Without the Fashion series is an essential part of the show, that offers a fresh and thoughtful perspective on the familiar manners of fashion imagery.

Curated by the MEP’s new director, Simon Baker, the show is just her second solo institutional exhibition, being the one held at the Daelim Museum in South Korea last year her first one. “The title of the show is Busy Living: Everything with Everyone, Everywhere, all of the Time. It’s a long title (laughs) that reflects the speed of how we all live right now – this need of wanting to achieve everything in the matter of a single second. But it’s also about an energy for life as well, especially mine. I want to see everything in the world and I want to do it now”, Coco told to AnOther Magazine recently.

“It’s just about the possibilities to really dedicating things, the time they need and also being very enthusiastic and wanting to achieve a lot, a lot in a little time. I don’t deal with it really well. I feel I am a bit overwhelmed with my own time, in the sense that I would like to have more time to enjoy things, be free, to enjoy everything possible, all sorts of possibilities and combinations to live this life. I guess that’s why I chose that title because I do feel a little bit trapped”, she added.

At a time when photography is omnipresent in an increasingly crowded visual landscape with an uncontrolled urge for more, Capitán gives a warning, compelling us to slow down and really pay attention at what lies in front of us. Her great way with language is what we see reflected on her aphorisms spread via social media and later reproduced on canvas, encouraging us to live in the here and now despite being constantly encouraged to live in a projected future.

The series Middle Point Between My House and China alludes to the highly personal relationship the artist has had with the country, from her childhood, when she used to think she could get to the other side of the globe by digging a deep tunnel in her garden, to the time she actually visited the country. It is no mere coincidence that Coco Capitán’s work is presented at the MEP alongside an exhibition of works by Ren Hang, a Chinese photographer and poet who, having grown to great acclaim in spite of his repression in his native country, took his own life two years ago.

“I was moved by his photography. I can see how difficult it is to be an artist in China – you have no freedom, and I’m sad that there are still countries that don’t support their artists the way they should. On the other hand, I think his work is magic”, Capitán once said. “I think a lot of Ren Hang’s photography is red, and most of mine is blue. I think we complement each other well.”
The exhibition Busy Living: Everything with Everyone, Everywhere, all of the Time by Coco Capitán is on view until May 26 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 5/7 Rue de Fourcy, Paris.

Marina Pérez
Coco Capitan after Richard Prince after Marlboro after American Mythologies, London, 2018. © Coco Capitán, courtesy of the artist.

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