Another of Vidal’s projects, one more immediately connected with his own work, is what he calls his “U.topia Machine.” A portable plywood box outfitted with everything he needs to produce his work; this machine is both an ingenious and fully-functioning factory-cum-studio, as well as a wryly humorous comment on the peripatetic life of a successful contemporary artist. It also makes manifest another of his notions: that an artist is an itinerant, international laborer. Out of this box come compositions on thick, textured paper, handmade by Vidal out of discarded paper he collects. Evincing influences ranging from graffiti to graphic novels to music, they feature bold colors, raking lines, and snatches of text that seem to evoke revolutionary slogans. These coalesce into faces, figures, and motifs referencing postcolonial African history, workers, and labor—images of the world as it was, is, and, if Vidal has his way, will be.
“Francisco Vidal | Workshop Maianga Mutamba” is on view at Tiwani Contemporary, London, Nov. 13 – Dec. 19, 2015.
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