Bruno Pacheco

Discórdia, 2022

The politics of painting is the foundation of Pacheco’s practice, making painting the principal medium in which Pacheco’s works are conceived and his primary subject. Despite breaking with traditional modes of depiction and display, thus challenging the sacrality and hierarchy tied to classical painting, many of Pacheco’s works also bear a relation to motives derived from classical painting, Discórdia being no exception.

Nicola da Urbino, The Judgement of Paris, ca 1550, Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware), 27 cm

Inspired by Nicola da Urbino’s maiolica plate, the painting depicts a scene from The Judgement of Paris, one of the best-known Greek myths. The scene shows Paris, a Trojan shepherd awarding a golden apple to the most beautiful goddess. Athena offers Paris victory in war. Hera offers to make Paris the ruler of the world. However, Aphrodite, accompanied by Cupid, is proposed as the most beautiful woman in the world and awarded the apple. Aphrodite leads Paris to Helen of Sparta, which later precipitates the Trojan War. Pacheco’s approach to the motive removes itself from the initial narrative, focusing instead through depiction on the sexualization of the body, emphasized by its pose and its context, where a group of anonymous men surrounds it. The image’s tension translates itself into the violence of the Trojan War, which the painting anticipates.

By borrowing motives from the history of painting and re-depicting them in variation, Pacheco looks at how the painterly gesture, the color pallet, composition, or fragmentation influences the construction of narrative and how images are depicted and perceived through time. Moreover, by abstracting the motive from its initial context, enlarging and distorting it, removing some of its elements, or juxtaposing it against another image, Pacheco points to the impermanence of painting, where interpretation and the reading of a work are in constant flux.

Bruno Pacheco is based between London and Lisbon. His work has been exhibited at the 31st São Paulo Biennial, Sharjah Biennial, Culturgest (Lisbon), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto), Whitechapel Gallery (London) among other. His work is part of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian – CAM (Lisbon), Fundação de Serralves (Porto), Kadist Art Fioundation (Paris), The UBS Art Collection (London), Van Abbe Museum (Eidenhoven), Sharjan Arts Foundation collection and the MCA – Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago collection, among other.