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, Marvel, 2019 being no exception. The work depicts art handlers moving a painting, The Dream of St Mark, c. 1570, by Domenico Tintoretto, in which an angel is shown in dramatic movement, hovering above St Mark in slumber. Two other paintings are also present in the scene, Jacopo Tintoretto’s St Mark Saving a Saracen, 1562–1566, and Translation of the Body of St Mark, 1562–1566, both of which depict one body moving another.
Pacheco’s painterly treatment of the bodies and spaces, however, directs focus away from the precise details of the event toward the gestures and movements evoked by the scene. By borrowing motives from the history of painting, 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. By abstracting the motive from its initial context, enlarging, and distorting it, by removing some of its elements, or juxtaposing it against another image, Pacheco points to the impermanence of painting, where interpretation and a work’s reading is in constant flux. It is based on an associative chain, where one thing leads to another, and where content is created through rhizomatic structures, rather than through a linear approach to narrative.