July 5 - August 19, 2023
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Piramide Building, 1F, 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku

Cristina BanBan’s paintings are insistently non-narrative. Their meaning and art historical significance lies in their composition and technical depictions of beautiful, complex forms, of which the female figure is paramount for the artist. Rather than self-portraiture, or representations of bodies intended as overt gestures about our current culture war debates, BanBan prioritizes aesthetics. She has painstakingly created her richly painted canvases with a nuanced complexity that invites us to spend time with them and get to know them better in a digital era where so much is glossy and glossed over.


View of the exhibition "Figura" at Perrotin Tokyo. Photo by Keizo Kioku. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.
View of the exhibition "Figura" at Perrotin Tokyo. Photo by Keizo Kioku. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.
View of the exhibition "Figura" at Perrotin Tokyo. Photo by Keizo Kioku. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.
View of the exhibition "Figura" at Perrotin Tokyo. Photo by Keizo Kioku. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.

BanBan’s primary subject is the human female body, but her oeuvre’s content is abstraction and painting itself. She interprets physique in a thoughtful dialogue between figuration and abstraction, gravitating toward certain bodies and faces that she chooses because their features interest her, especially because of the possibilities of movement that they propose. She conveys enough anatomical information to root her work in a realist tradition, but she acknowledges an undeniable influence of Abstract Expressionism and the classical Modernist lineage of painting, allowing her work to excel beyond naturalism to achieve a tactile richness.


There is an understandable misreading that happens for some viewers because of our innate tendency to focus on faces and recognizable features as content above all else. Pareidolia is the term for the primal inclination that all humans have to seek other human faces in patterns - it is a survival mechanism leftover from our pre-historic ancestors’ need to locate each other in the wilderness. It is also the stumbling block that risks keeping us from looking closely at BanBan’s forms instead of seeing her women as individualized characters. Instead, she would have us hone our ability to pay attention to the compelling poses and groupings that she has arranged – the bodies and limbs in dialogue with each other, and especially her luscious application of paint and the juxtaposition of color and line.


It’s clear that BanBan truly enjoys the act of creating, and that her work is an invitation for us to learn to celebrate looking too. Her paintings are executed in a masterful manner that teeters on the edge of looseness and defined form. There is an evocative gesture and richness in the work that produces a truly powerful experience for us to receive if we give ourselves over to the sensuously rich experience of looking closely.


Cristina BANBAN

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 palette 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.


More about the artist
List of artworks