Jorge Pardo Continues to Redefine What It Means to Live With Art

Jorge Pardo | Surface | By Alexxa Gotthardt

The artist's exploration into the intersections among design, painting, sculpture, and everyday objects has resulted in a colorful and enchanting style that stands out for its originality.

In 1990, Jorge Pardo staged his first solo exhibition, in a garage tucked into a West Hollywood alley, filling it with carefully crafted replicas of common tools: wrenches, a ladder, a splicer. But none of them worked. Even then, fresh out of graduate school, Pardo was challenging perceptions of fine art and functional objects. This project, and his subsequent work, exuberantly broke barriers between sculpture and design, form and function, art and life.

Eight years later, MOCA Los Angeles invited Pardo to mount a show. Instead, he built a home, opened it to the public, and then moved in. Most recently, the Cuban-American artist designed a hotel, L’Arlatan in Arles, France, swathed with 500 of his own paintings applied directly to doors and tables rather than walls.

New York’s Petzel Gallery recently showcased Pardo’s early work, spanning the late-1980s and 1990s. His sculptures and wall-mounts emphasize a natural inclination to subvert expectations about art, design, and lived space. And much like the rest of his oeuvre, they celebrate plurality. Assumptions, he seems to say, are ambiguous and constantly changing.

Here, we catch Pardo at his studio in Yucatán, Mexico, where he sheds light on his multidisciplinary, inquisitive practice.

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