Intersecting his Spanish heritage of Surrealist, dreamlike landscapes with the biting grit of Dada’s pointed parody, Paco Pomet’s distinctive paintings and fierce wit unearth a nostalgic satire rich with the missteps of human history.
Pomet grew up between the city of Grenada, where he was born in 1971, and a small village, Cordoba—his father’s hometown. As Pomet himself explains, his paintings hold a distinctively Iberian sensibility. The cynicism in his work exposing a historical residue of a totalitatian Franco regime that meant fatalism was “an ingredient almost omnipresent in our culture.” In post-Franco Spain, Pomet’s traditional art education at the University of Granada focused on landscapes, portraits and still life.
- Solo show, Melancholia, at the Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Mónica, 2018
- Group show, DISMALAND, curated by Banksy, Weston-Super-Mare, 2015
- Recipient of the Excellent Work Prize in the Beijing Biennial, 2010
- Residency at the Colegio de España, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Paris, 2005
- Received the Fortuny Scholarship from the Spanish Consulate in Venice, 1999-2000
While he found this approach limiting, it edified his need to resist through artistic expression. As a result, he developed the unique juxtapositions of his work: hyperreal monochrome figures and landscapes punctuated by piercing colour, cartoons, lightsabers, elongated limbs, and foreboding masses of pink bubblegum. Taking inspiration from vintage photographs, along with his own popular culture references, Pomet’s paintings both honour and ridicule the absurd world around him.
In 2015, Pomet exhibited at Banksy’s controversial project, Dismaland, a dilapidated theme park in Weston-super-Mare with moody attendants and broken down rides. The show attracted unprecedented media attention, as well as more visitors than the Tate and V&A’s biggest shows from the same year. Internacional (2008), one of Pomet’s few works sourced from a contemporary colour photograph, was included in the exhibition. The painting depicts Chadian soldiers in the desert, driving into battle with weapons flailing. At the front of the truck, screaming among the seemingly jovial men, is an intruder: the Cookie Monster. Imposing this comic, fictional icon of children’s television, with the archetypal media image of the conflict between Chad and Libya during the 1980s—somewhat crudely nicknamed ‘The Toyota War’—provokes a dark and unsettling humour that bluntly questions the sensationalism of modern media and entertainment.
Pomet’s oeuvre has a bleak sense of nostalgia. His interest in the birth of photography and cinema is due, he explains, to a naïve enthusiasm for invention in a time “before mercantilism and advertising flooded everything.” The charming rural settings Pomet selects, collected from family archives and flea markets, speak to an age when photography was an event rather than a habit. Motifs such as location pins, emojis and low battery icons recur throughout his works, functioning as ironic interventions of the present day. However, in an age of constant iOS updates, contemporary technology comes with its own immediate nostalgia: a ferocious rate of development pushing the out-of-date ever closer to the present. This alignment of new and old is at the heart of Pomet’s work: a surface layer of change thinly veiling a deeper, repetitious consistency, that—all too often—the world is reluctant to face.
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