Chromophobia – ABC Arte Bologna Cultura

Friday 29th of November 2013 Chromophobia the much anticipated solo exhibit of artist Ryan Mendoza opens in the new showcase of ABC in Via Farini 30 in Bologna, Italy. For the opening of the show, ideated and promoted by ABC with assistance from the Patrocinio of Emilia Romagna, Genus Bononiae and CNA, Mendoza will present some 15 paintings from his recent work.

American born artist Mendoza has spent almost 20 years in Europe. Living and working between Naples and Berlin, cities culturally diametrically opposed to one another, each allowing for different creative freedom and research, Mendoza is considered by the international contemporary art world to be a rarity, an authentic voice, and a bit of a fugitive. Represented by Massimo Minini in Italy, Mendoza has worked with the biggest galleries in the world such as Akira Ikeda in Japan, Lelong in France, and White Cube in London.

Using paint as his medium, Mendoza rejects talentless conceptual art. Rigorous Puritanical work ethic keeps him exploring the hypocrisy of his American origins through a medium which makes his subjects personal, their fears and hopes tangible. With an eye on past masters, Goya, El Greco, Salvator Rosa, Caravaggio, Gericault, Mendoza paints a lively variety of settings where his main characters present themselves distorted, fiery, disgraced, longing, stunned and aware.

CHROMOPHOBIA as the title of the show, would seem to suggest that Mendoza has a fear of colors and one would expect from the show’s title, to walk into a room of monochromes, or to view a series of black and white images. The colours he uses are fierce, harmonic but acute, decisive, raw and rather fearless. Under the colors, however is a past that has yet to be fully deciphered. The fear of color, we gain through Mendoza’s conversation with former president of the US George W. Bush, is really a fear of contrast, a fear of difference, and ultimately a fear of people.

Chromophobia is discussed at length in the conversation between Bush and Mendoza in the opening pages of the show’s catalog. Rather than a ping pong of quips about art, their discussion leads like water coiling through a drainpipe down into fear, beliefs and the banal horrors of American History. The text leads the reader on a tight rope of uncertainty and disbelief. Each word seems simultaneously absurd and all-telling.

An important part of the show is “Everything is Mine”, an autobiographical book that Mendoza wrote after his move from the States to Berlin which is slated to be published by Bompiani in 2014 with a translation by the award winning author Simona Vinci. The book covers a difficult moment for the artist: plagued by remorse for having abandoned his father in an old folks home in the States, Mendoza moves to Berlin where he turns his attention to a visit he is promised by the most important art critic in the world. Looking for inspiration, he asks his wife and her friends to pose naked for him. The result is an intimate story where the boundary between art and pornography is blurred.

To anticipate the publication with Bompiani, Mendoza will litter the floor with 4000 sheets printed off from the book, a portion of which will be signed by the author. The public is invited to walk across the pages of his book, and to collect what they like. The time Mendoza is to spend in Bologna will be documented by Paolo ‘Fiore’ Angelini, film director and screenplay writer.

Mendoza has collaborated with Milan Kundera, Irvine Welsh and Bernard-Henri Lévy.


ABC – Via Farini 30, Bologna
Opening Friday 29 November, 2013, 6:30pm