Beginning his artistic exploration in his early youth as a graffiti artist, Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone’s roots as a street artist influence his digital, pop art aesthetic. Whether his work is hung in a gallery at Scope Miami or takes the form of a mural on a hotel in Ibiza, Pantone’s work creates a hybrid world where skewed perspectives form optical illusions that pull you in, allowing you to become completely immersed into the space. Having displayed his artwork internationally, and with murals to his name in cities like Taiwan, Las Vegas, Mexico City, and Seoul, Pantone has certainly put his stamp on the art world. His perpetual traveling influences and shapes his practice, challenging his work to continuously evolve.
When stepping into one of Felipe Patone’s exhibitions, you are not just entering a gallery, but a physical cyberspace that is constructed from motifs of QR codes, planes of warped space, and vibrant streaks of colour, resembling a digital glitch. The artist’s theme of technology and virtual reality reflects on the current turning point we continuously face in our hyper-digital society, and the effect it has on the way we relate to the world. Pantone uses an amalgamation of digital aesthetics and a crisp, refined painting style to form a unique aesthetic that characterizes our path towards an increasingly technology driven future.
Although Pantone often works on a flat surface, the incredible contrast between his black and white backgrounds and the vivid hues zigzagging across his foregrounds cause the compositions to leap off the surface, like a 3D projection, visually striking the viewer. Often experimenting with the boundaries between the 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional realm, Pantone’s digital motifs jump out of the confines of a composition and into the viewer’s space in kinetic and sculptural form. In his solo exhibition Opticromías at Delimbo Gallery in Spain, sculptures created a rift in the space, a pixelated disruption, rupturing physical reality. Here, technology has taken time off from influencing our daily lives to invade our lives in the real, confronting us face to face.
This dichotomy between physical and virtual reality reveals how intertwined the two really are in contemporary culture. For better or worse, as a tool or for entertainment, new technology is constantly being introduced into every aspect of our lives. Pantone cleverly utilizes this mixture of the virtual and the real by creating interactive aspects in his work. His installation Vertical Cyberspace, featured in the exhibition Welcome Back at Colab Gallery in Germany, forms a mind bending visual of his artwork displayed suspended in space, complicating the perceptions of depth, tricking the eye of the viewer. Blurring the lines between authentic reality and fiction, Pantone’s installation raises questions concerning technology’s grip on our perceptions, and the effect this has on our interactions with the world as well as each other. The artist draws our attention to how our awareness can be so easily manipulated by a constructed environment where concrete realities cannot be quite pinned down. Perhaps we cannot always believe what we think we see.
We were delighted to have a quick chat with Felipe about how he stays updated in our ever changing world.
AMM: It is known that you embrace the modern world and its fast-paced environment in which through technology things can now be done in seconds, and it is shown in the dynamics of the works you create. Your art is more than just a ‘nod to the future’ – you’ve gone from incorporating QR codes to adding interactive aspects to your work that act as an interface between the physical and digital world. But, what’s next? Is it difficult to stay ‘futured’ or even ‘current’ in this ever-changing world, or do things like augmented reality in fact create more opportunities for your aesthetic to develop?
FP: I think it’s very important to keep yourself updated, not only in the advance of technology but in every aspect of knowledge. I’m not trying to stay “futured”, I just try to keep learning every day, and some times some of the things I learn end up using in my work.
AMM: Having acknowledged our frenzied modern world, how do you relax in between your hectic art ‘schedule’
FP: I never really relax! 😬😬😬👀👀👀
Text by Christina Nafziger for ArtMaze Mag.