Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and currently living in Berlin, Juan Arata works in a variety of media including drawing, installation, video, and most prolifically, painting. His figurative paintings feature bold fields of colour, both enigmatic and illustrative marks, and the distorted visages and disembodied appendages of his imagined subjects. In the grotesque tradition of George Grosz, Arata describes in paint a cast of motley and gruesome characters caught in the follies of urban life. Though these portraits are developed intuitively, Arata is precise in shaping the uncanny affects of these bizarre and comedic figures, his mark-making and paint application mimetically attuned to the fraught gestures or blank stares of each persona.
For Arata, his consistent use of saccharine and neon colours underscores the web of desire and false expectations that mark the absurdity of the contemporary condition: the asinine pursuit of the bright, shiny, and new.
The paintings are sometimes paired in diptychs whose images mirror each other – dual portraits that give further emphasis to the egocentric, repetitive, cyclical worlds of these characters.
In Arata’s video and installation work he expands upon his interest in repetition and cyclical time, coaxing the uncanny from banal objects and occurrences as well as familiar media images and sound bites. Imbued with both humor and sharp critique, Arata’s work are driven by a profound sense of the absurdity of the everyday.
2018 Co/lab III, Torrance Art Museum TAM, Torrance USA
2017 Plural Solitude, Hilber Raum, Berlin GERMANY
2016 Models of Temporal Conciousness, Converge Gallery, Williamsport PA USA
2016 HAPPY Group Show, curated by 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace at Sofitel Gold Coast, Broadbeach QLD AUSTRALIA
2016 Come Undone, GlogauAIR, Berlin GERMANY
2015 What Makes Us Human? Vol. 3, Information Society – Mindful Playing, Hilber Raum, Berlin GERMANY
2015 What Makes Us Human? Vol.2 , A Migrationa Pattern, Ruberoid Festival , Acud Kunsthaus, Berlin GERMANY
2015 PAIN/TING, curated by Juan Arata and 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace at Open Walls Gallery, Berlin GERMANY
2015 Strategic Acts Of Seeing And Knowing, And Not, Hilbert Raum, Berlin GERMANY
2015 RED Expressionism Group Show, curated by 19 KAREN Contemporary Artspace at Sofitel Gold Coast, Broadbeach QLD AUSTRALIA
2015 Augsburg’s Theater Festival, Augsburg GERMANY
2014 Exorcize Me, what make us ill?, Galería Fiebre, Buenos Aires ARGENTINA
2014 Nord Art International Art Fair, Büdelsdorf and Rendsburg GERMANY
2013 Building A Factory: Pajama Factory Alumni Exhibition, Stairwell Gallery, Bloomsburg, PA USA
2013 Berlin/Barcelona, Galeria Mamacuchara, Barcelona SPAIN
2013 Berlin Nights, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast, AUSTRALIA
2012 Participating artist in re:MMX Open Art Venue, Berlin GERMANY
2012 Homage to Hollywood, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast AUSTRALIA
2012 Nord Art International Exhibition – Curator: Wolfgang Gramm, Budelsdorf and Rendsburg GERMANY
2012 The Art of Spain, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast AUSTRALIA
2012 Purify Me Reloaded, AquabitArt Gallery, Berlin GERMANY
2011 Parcours d’artistes, Centre Culturel Les Passarelles, Pontault-Combault FRANCE
2011 Found in Translation- Chapter L, Curator: Emmanuel Lambion, Museum Casino Luxembourg, Forum for Contemporary Art LUXEMBOURG
2011 Jusqu´au bouddhisme, Stattberlin, Berlin GERMANY
2011 Nord Art International Exhibition, Curator: Wolfgang Gramm,Budelsdorf and Rendsburg GERMANY
2011 Homage to Frida, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast AUSTRALIA
2011 Based In Berlin, MultiLayerLaden, Berlin GERMANY
2011 Pixelate Me, Transmediale – Das Weekend Festival, AquabitArt, Berlin GERMANY
2011 Troyart, Brazilian Sculpture Museum – MuBE, Sao Pablo BRAZIL
2010 Touch Me, AquabitArt Galerie, Berlin GERMANY
2010 Dirty Realism – Show VII, MMX Open Art Venue, Berlin GERMANY
2010 Wie es euch gefallt, AquabitArt Galerie, Berlin GERMANY
2010 Out of control, MMX Open Art Venue Berlin GERMANY
2010 Galerija-Muzej Lendava, SLOVENIA
2009 Signals through the Flames, Galerie Friedrichshohe, Berlin GERMANY
2009 This is not an exit, a duo show with artist Jo Wilmot, Gallery-33, Berlin GERMANY
2009 Interzone, Wolterholme Projects, Liverpool, UK
2009 Resident artist, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast AUSTRALIA
2008 T.A.O.M.A.C. 2, Gallery-33, Berlin GERMANY
2008 Abnormale – Normale, .BHC Kolektiv, Berlin GERMANY
2008 Sexy faces, Arte Comprimido, Buenos Aires ARGENTINA
2010 Atomino Art Festival, Textilmuseum, Crimmitshau, GERMANY
2010 Panama Club. A colaboration with artist Philippe Marcus, Munich GERMANY
2013 Parenthesis Space Parenthesis, Edition 1, 2013, Lendava, SLOVENIA
2013 The Pajama Factory A.I.R, Williamsport PA, USA
2010 International Young Artists Fine Arts Colony, LindArt-co-operate-vol. IV, SLOVENIA
2009 Schmiede artist-in-residence, Hallein AUSTRIA
2015 PAIN/TING, in collaboration with 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace at Open Walls Gallery, Berlin GERMANY
2010 Out of control, MMX Art Venue, Berlin GERMANY
2009 “Signals through the Flames” Interzone video screenings, Berlin GERMANY
2007-2008 Arte Comprimido Gallery, Buenos Aires ARGENTINA
Sapporo Short Fest, Japan
5th International Film Festival Balchik, Bulgary
38th Tampere Film Festival, Finland
Calgary Underground Film Festival, Canada
9 Marematraggio Film Festival, Italy
XXIV Festival de Cine de Bogotá, Bogota
The Northen Wave International Film Festival, Iceland
VIII Sonorama Film Festival, Spain
Digital Barcelona Film Festival, Spain
Naoussa International Short Film and Video Festival, Greece
Festival des Tres Courts, France
Sehsüchte Film Festival, Potsdam-Germany
Galerija-Muzej Lendava, Slovenia
2011 MMX One year book, Berlin
2011 Transmediale Festival, Berlin
2010 Show your Hope, 8Q Foundation, Netherlands
2010 Equinox, Grim Museum, Berlin-Germany,
2009 Der Greif, special issue Schmiede 09, Germany
2013 The Art Party, WXPI Williamsport Community Radio(July 22nd) Williamsport PA USA
2013 Sun Gazette Newspaper (July 18th) Williamsport,PA USA
2013 Rabbit Radio (Feb) Gold Coast AUSTRALIA
2011 SWR ARD Buffet (Sept) Berlin GERMANY
2010 Die Tageszeitung (Feb 26th), Berlin GERMANY
2009 FAD, Art Fast News, Berlin GERMANY
2008 Libero Magazine, Finland
Q&A INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. At what age did you begin creating art?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Why do you make art?
A. Because is the only thing that pushes my limits.
Q. Who do you make it for?
A. I don’t care. I’m only interested in the process. Actually, I no longer believe that the final product is art. It is simply another product, like a pair of sneakers. Art is for me the process of doing. And this process exists exclusively between the canvas and me.
Q. Do you plan out a piece or do you wing it?
A. No. I don’t even have a sketchbook. I like working in layers. Usually the final piece has nothing to do with the beginning of the process. I like to follow what the images suggest to me and not what I would suggest to them. I paint directly from my head, and my head is often times very messy. I don’t use photos or models. I also work with concepts that are of global importance and of course there are things I want to fight against. I try to be consequential. I start with some basic lines and from there I no longer know what is going to happen.
Q. Do you have heroes? If so, who, if not why not?
A. Yes, everybody who is against the villains.
Q. How do you decide when a piece of work is finished?
A. Either I just know, or the fact that the painting has been stapled to the wall so long without my doing anything to it indicates its completion.
Q. Do you have your own cure for artists block?
A. Going to my studio every day. If that doesn’t work, laying in the park drinking beer with my wife or playing with Bertha, my cat.
Q. Do you think having an art education is important in order to be successful?
A. What does it mean to be successful?