Perrotin is pleased to present Cristina BanBan’s second exhibition with the gallery and her first in Paris. For this occasion, the artist favors a gestural and expressive language to represent the human figure.
Born and raised in Barcelona and based in New York (by way of London), BanBan’s paintings present visual murmurs and echoes of her own geographical journey. Elements associated with European modernist figuration merge with a gestural abstraction more often associated with the postwar American avant garde. This exhibition showcases BanBan’s fertile painting practice—a place where rapid experiments in expression define forms that emerge and withdraw from the canvases amidst a rapid aura of brushstrokes. Here negative spaces are created from overlapping lines and gestures, leaving new forms in their wake. Describing her process as “attacking the canvas,” BanBan’s figures have a tensile energy that resists the bounds of the frame.
In this new body of work BanBan liberates forms and layers them over each other with loose brush work. Selectively, color mounts in areas, rendering and literally fleshing things out. This approach preserves the immediacy of BanBan’s drawings, enrobing them with a luxury that her oil-based paint supplies. These volumes of thick color contrast with the drips and slashes of nervy black lines, suggesting a velocity that recall artists past and present—Willem de Kooning and Cecily Brown. BanBan, though, skirts consistently closer to human form than an amorphous mass—a clear delineation.
Humans—women specifically—are firmly at the center of BanBan’s corpus, and while the viewer is free to determine and propose narratives about the female gaze and rejecting objectification, the artist is more occupied with questions of representing physicality versus political questions of representation. Worth noting perhaps is BanBan’s use of herself as a model within much of the work on display—where characters display her own physiognomy, creating a type of self portraiture even if expressly not stated. “It’s the body I know the best,” she says. Free to focus on these bodies, BanBan further strips away a sense of temporality, reducing interiors and architectural details to lines and their convergences. The occasional arch suggesting, perhaps, the artist’s Spanish origins.
"All the paintings are deeply personal and result from an introspective gaze. Often, I base paintings off of my own features or people that are close. In other works, though, the characters are fictional."
That these anatomical forms—semi self portraits and semi nudes—exist in vacated spaces, it’s not unrealistic to draw further parallels with Francis Bacon’s vaporous worlds—where form extends into space. Also consider Eadweard Muybridge’s delineated backgrounds in his landmark photographic studies of human motion (Muybridge served as inspiration for several of Bacon’s paintings). Motion is at the core of BanBan’s recent work and her canvases signify a new direction for the artist’s movement. Like Muybridge’s jumpers, they represent a great leap forward.
Born in 1987 in El Prat, Barcelona, Spain
Lives and works in Brooklyn, USA
Cristina BanBan's paintings are firmly centered on the female form. She depicts voluptuous figures in a palate of fleshy hues whose forms often overlap and stretch expansively toward the canvas' edge. BanBan’s work combines elements associated with modernist European figuration with traces of gestural abstraction. Energetic forms emerge and withdraw from the canvases amidst a rapid attack of loose brushstrokes, punctuated by fields of color that build into layered textured compositions full of expressive motion.