Javier Piñon’s collages are a fantastical look at pop culture, a visual celebration of the fairy tale, his beautifully constructed compositions embracing the icons of the ages; Icarus, Babylon, the Minotaur, Don Quixote and the cowboy. Yes the images can be seen as juvenile but he manages to elevate them to something bigger, grander, a mythical deconstruction of everything we dismiss as frivolous and pulp.
Here’s what he has to say about his work:
My work has had a tendency to be a bit autobiographical. Not literally, but under the surface. My reality or state of mind at the time that the collages are made is reflected in the psychology of the work and the stories it tells. For example, the Minotaur was at one time an important personal symbol. I won’t get into the details, but it was a very difficult period of my life and I felt a strong connection and sympathy for this very tragic, and in my mind misunderstood, creature. It was when I finally found the strength to confront myself that the cowboy first appeared in my work.
My inner personal conflict played itself out in my studio through drawings and collages where cowboys and Minotaur’s battled one another in boxing and wrestling matches. The symbolism runs deep for me depending on how far I wish to track the thread: cowboy vs Minotaur, American vs Latino, cocky confidence vs a shy and reclusive nature. Eventually the cowboy, both in my work and I think in myself, emerged victorious, and the Minotaur retreated back into the labyrinth. So the cowboy in my work began as a psychological projection of strength, a rugged independence that I was personally striving for, rather than as a symbol for anything particularly ‘western.’