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Juan Pablo Hernández Gutiérrez

Bola 'e trapo 

Soccer rag balls


Artist statement

This project aims to reproduce what was once home and is now fragmented between two geographies. Bola ‘e trapo (soccer rag ball) is part of a body of work that references Hito Steyerl’s essay “In Defence of the Poor Image” by exploring the political value of bootleg aesthetics and materiality. In this installation, soccer serves as a catalyst to highlight the resourcefulness and resilience of marginalized sectors that participate in globalization by adapting it to their conditions. This installation uses the visual language of football memorabilia to hack the spatial devices where soccer is distributed and practiced and to create a repertoire of cultural symbols for bootleg practices. These rudimentary balls mimic the artisanal production of knock-off balls which are still predominant in Colombia, allowing a more accessible product. The rag balls’ cheap materials intrude into a milieu where quality and mastery are usually the norms. Further, his project invites the public to rethink the hierarchical conventions of materials and techniques in the art world itself, which also perpetuates discrimination and marginalization.

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Artist's biography

Juan Pablo Hernández Gutiérrez is an interdisciplinary artist based in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal). He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Painting and Drawing at Concordia university. His interests revolve around the intricacies of misinterpretation, precarity and adaptation of cultural symbology in new environments. Hernández Gutiérrez is intrigued by how a set of signs loses and gains meaning when displaced and wrongly repeated. He recently participated in group exhibitions such as Open house curated by Sled collective at Livart, and Ya llegamos curated by Diane Garcia Ramos and Vanessa Maya at Hoy gallery in 2022. In August 2022, Hernández Gutiérrez attended a residency at the Lab Program in Mexico City.

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