About Pablo López



A fashion designer, Pablo López (º1981) is fascinated by fashion and its symbolism. The young artist left his homeland Bolivia to come to Europe, inspired by the myth of grand international couturiers with brands that represent sophistication, almost unreachable luxury and a culture that cultivates appearance as a mystic ritual. Pablo López uses the accessories of this world as a starting point for his artistic expression. The tools and instruments that are used to design clothing, are flirting with a surrealist world in his artwork.

Fashion is not such a lightweight subject as one would think. It is an image of a society, both in daily life and in the most elitist side of it. It represents the values and ideas, the social diversity, the movements and the contradictions. It stands for an irrational world, for a dream of looks and freedom. But fashion also represents the dictatorship of a collective aesthetic ideal. Today the acceptance of these beliefs exceeds the mere textile: fashion imposes a way of life and an aesthetic model that can be addictive…


The work of Pablo López may suggest this violent and aggressive aspects by showing the instruments used for tailoring, like scissors, that he adopts as an object of fetish in his collages, his drawings and his aquarels. Scissors, intertwined with threads or ribbons that gently meander through space, are a recurring element in a major part of his work. His drawings and paintings reveal a lightness of being, linked with a hidden violence that reminds the surrealist world of Dali who liked tearing and cutting scissors. An example is Dali's suggestive scene in Hitchcock's film 'The House of Dr Edwards'. Dali was invited by the film director to conceive a scene of a dream. In this dream, Gregory Peck is psychoanalysed by Ingrid Bergman and sees big open eyes, and enormous scissors that cut the eyelashes and eyelids...


Pablo López's universe is not as unbearable as Dali's, but this connection with surrealism makes his work ambiguous. The instruments and objects shown are taken away from their banality and become a source of longing, dreaming, and timelessness. The object escapes its normal context and enters an imaginary world, which is based on everyday elements like thread and scissors, a button attached to a piece of cloth... All objects become actors in a staged, symbolic scene that suggests reproduction, for example when a button with a thread accelerates like a spermatozoid, when scissors have wings to fly like in a dream.


This surrealism also belongs to the artist's culture. Surrealism leaves its mark on the recent history of Latin American painting, especially through the work of Frida Kahlo, whom Pablo López cites with great admiration. In her paintings, she evokes the suffering and pain of her life, tormented by illness and love… She uses scissors to mutilate herself in a painting of 1940 titled 'Cortándome el pelo con unas tijeritas' ('Cutting off my hair with a pair of scissors'). In this work, Frida sits on a chair in an oversized man's garment, holding scissors. Cut hair surrounds her. The work is accompanied by two verses of a popular song, showing Frida's lucidity towards her own condition: "You see, if I loved you, it would be because of your hair. Now that you don't have hair anymore, I don't love you anymore." She expresses the never ending challenge that life and death mean for her. In Pablo López's work, this painful force is exorcised by a desire for a world without worries or sorrow. He finds this through his link with an invented world of lightness, the world of fashion. Admitting that it is only a superficial image of reality, he gives fashion a kitschy character. "Happiness starts with pain", he says… His work reflects happiness and luck, tinted with poetry and melancholy, but very conscious of the cruelties of existence.


Text: Dominique Stella