Aquatico • Jojo Serrano

Sep 28 to Oct 20, 2021 • Upstairs Gallery

Jojo Serrano’s art-making begins with diligently creating collages by culling and cutting out images, which he then transfers onto a canvas using paintbrushes. As the artist describes the process as “faithful recreation,” Serrano intimately studies and reproduces the original images by exploring the effects of photographic images.

The density of his handwork dismembers the narratives embedded in overflowing media images and slows down the production, circulation, and consumption of visual information in contemporary life. It is a solitary practice, a quiet attempt to unravel the perception of the world coordinated by modern technologies.

The ceaseless advancement of modern technology continues to deepen the discourse of dichotomy that disconnects our life from nature and legitimizes the abuse of power of humans over the natural environment. Encountering Serrano’s new series of work composed of octopus, jellyfish, shells, creatures from the sea, I am reminded of the intricate networks of life existing at a depth of the ocean. Within the ecosystems, every life has an equal significance. Even death has a meaning.

At Earth’s deep point, humans are extremely vulnerable as we lose the ability to breathe while the millions of creatures maintain their life balance. The chain of life below water sustains itself as the complex circulation of the subtle signs of nature that are indiscernible to human eyes. The intelligence and powers of the sea/amphibian creatures betray our knowledge and expectations. Close attention to the life-and-death mechanism of each organism reveals the limit of our worldview constructed by the binary rhetoric. Merging individual elements, sinuous, undulating, flowing movements in Serrano’s works navigate the viewer’s sight fluidly across the canvas, inviting to imagine breathing synchronously with the sea creatures and to recognize oneself belonging deep into the natural environment. (Mayumi Hirano)