At SC Galleries in Bilbao, the outwardly bright and fuzzy exhibition Suadade 01//158, lures you into a saccharine trap. Open to the public until December 2, you are invited to a showcase that is soft and colourful, animated and playful. You beeline in like a child to a bouncy castle, but the figure that greets you in the centre is grasping its plush head trying to keep the noise out. To your left is an image of one cartoon character trampling another, and to your right, the figure opposite, witnessing the atrocity, cries tears of laughter. This is the best worst birthday party every.
Grip Face (David Oliver) has been busy. At the start of the year, he presented his solo exhibition Masks of a Millennial Generation at Cerquone Projects in Madrid. At a glance, a Pingu-esque totem greets you. Upon closer inspection the pink head with a rosy button for lips is found perched abreast another yellow-eyed face with a USB-C shaped port for a mouth. The upper appears as a facade, breaching the parapet. A caustic reminder of our own social media simulacra.

The artist from Palma De Mallorca has recently unveiled Suadade 01//158, his second exhibition at SC Gallery provides more cloaked characters drowning in their own artifice. The fluffy pinkness of Novo athlete confined harks back to the Masks of a Millennial exhibition, making the lower half of the totem appear oil-slicked in comparison, a reminder of the blue collar preserving the white’s brightness. In Urvanity, Grip Face describes how 1,500 hairs were added, one at a time. The labour appears to be even greater, here, in the construction of the athlete.

A similar narrative thread to his prior exhibition can be found in the wool tapestry, The algorithm crushes the cybernaut. Here, reading the doom-scroller aspect within ourselves as the cybernaut, the information captured by our devices over the years has us pinned into submission. The crushed figure reminds me of a childhood caution, one of the likes of “if you stare at that screen any longer, your eyes will go square.”

The pupils of Cotco 89 #02 have already succumbed, as they cry tears of joy. Or do they? The balaclava’d figure is rendered incapable of laughing, out loud, as their mouth is plugged, and a blank cloud has gathered over their head. The Health Coach is found self-soothing in the foetal position. In this world, cutting uncomfortably close to home, there are only two options: Exercising meditation, or plugging in; and practicing oblivion. Grip Face’s Suadade 01//158 is a room full of mirrors, and they’re looking at you. This exhibition is set to be the first of a trilogy, alongside curator/collaborator Jordi Pallarès, next showcased at New York, and finally in Seoul.
Suadade 01//158 is being held at SC Gallery in C/ Cortes 4 Lonja 48003 Bilbao (Spain), afterwards it will be showcased at New York and then Seoul.
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