The work of Bruno Pacheco is characterized by a specific ambiguity towards the field of representation. Despite its mostly figurative nature, his paintings and objects disclose an anonymity characteristic to its subjects, may these be human figures or random objects.
Cake is part of a line of works, for which a representation of anonymous figures is characteristic. Immersed in an unknown activity, the work is a play of subtle anxiety and melancholy. Denying the spectator access to the narrative of the painting, may this be through the position or the involvement of its characters in an unspoken activity – also known as the state of absorption -, Pacheco enhances our desire for involvement. By his physical relation to the work and anxious gaze, the spectator becomes a protagonist of Pacheco’s painting, actively participating in blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior of the work.
Inspired by an existing image from the artist’s vast archive of images, the work builds on unique tension between a contemporary subject and the modes of its depiction, reminiscent of 18th-century group portraiture. By combining these seemingly remote worlds, Pacheco rethinks traditional modes of display, perception, and subject construction while at the same time pointing to the impermanence of painting and image production, where nothing is fixed and where meaning is transformed through time.