Santiago Cucullu

Santiago Cucullu: Pleathers

March–April 2010

Curated by Joeseph Ketner Experience the spirited, urban images of Argentinean installation artist Santiago Cucullu, who combines transfer drawings, video projections, and watercolors of various locations in the United States, Europe, and South America.

The exhibition re-imagines the world of hardcore punk music, including the artist's nostalgic memories of the Boston streets circa 1992 when the artist was employed here as a messenger.

Pleathers references his old "Members Only" jacket and riffs on the title of his own painting, Leathers, of a spiked collar in the window of a Berlin leather and tool shop.

The visual melange of images play on the viewers' expectations of art, often straddling a fine line between narrative and abstraction.

Argentinean artist Santiago Cucullu’s method is to research his community, take photographs, and collect the detritus of the area to gather into an environmental experience.

His principal material for his large wall drawings is contact paper—no different from that found in hardware stores and used to line kitchen cabinets. He arranges a random and roughly geometric pattern of swatches on the wall before outlining and coloring in the negative space of his image in white; the whitened segments are then excised with an X-acto knife, leaving an elegantly composed multicolored cutout ready to be glued to the gallery wall.

His colorful renderings combine recognizable silhouettes with abstract shapes in the form of large wall drawings, installations, watercolors, and sculptures. Cucullu’s installations breathe new life into historical painting, which traditionally depicts grand battles or infamous figures. Through a fluid manner, specific biographical details are lost and re-imagined to physically create the retelling of historical and contemporary lore.

About the Artist

Santiago Cucullu was born in 1969 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and currently lives in Milwaukee. He received his M.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999 and his B.F.A. from the Hartford Art School in Connecticut. Recent solo projects include exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Group exhibitions include the 2004 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York; How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Fresh: The Altoids Collection, New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York.