David Datuna Brings Jay-Z and Picasso Eye to Eye

Artsy Editorial
Nov 21, 2013 3:07PM

Between his newest work featuring Jay-Z and Picasso at Art Miami and his Google Glass project at SIME MIA, New York-based Georgian artist David Datuna is taking his eyeglass-based art to the next level during this year’s Miami Art Week.

The highlight of Contessa Gallery’s Art Miami booth is Datuna’s newest work from his “Eye to Eye” series, wherein he makes portraits of two infamous individuals and arranges them so they face one another. This work portrays Pablo Picasso eye-to-eye with Jay-Z, merging and comparing two disparate art worlds. At the present, any comparison of the modern art master and the Brooklyn-born rapper extraordinaire is inextricably linked to Jay-Z’s bold foray into the art world last summer with his Marina Abramovic-inspired performance for his single “Picasso Baby”. Through this new work Datuna uses the Picasso/Jay-Z juxtaposition to offer his own viewpoint, and encourage others, linking the two figures in their disparate yet inarguably significant contributions to art.

Fundamental to Datuna’s mixed-media wall sculptures are hundreds of pairs of eyeglasses, popularized in his “Viewpoint of Millions” series. Beginning with a painting or a collage of an icon—in the past he has used the American and Israeli flags, logos from luxury companies like Louis Vuitton, and Marilyn Monroe—Datuna then covers the image with glasses, both positive and negative lenses to create rippling optical effects. Datuna plays with the physical qualities of lenses as well as the trope of the lens, as a perspective through which to consider concepts and find truths. Presenting hundreds of individual lenses, his works symbolize “the admissibility of the different points of view and attitudes towards the same image.”

In Jay-Z/Picasso Opposition of Imaginations, the two portraits bring together two distant places and periods of time to create a parallel between the artists’ forward-thinking and innovative contributions to art. Placing the icons together, Datuna hopes to embody 20th-century art, and he portrays Jay-Z in fragments, “representing modern art as an experimental puzzle.” Arranging the portraits so they stare at one another, Datuna captures the viewer within their gaze, prompting them to consider the relationship between the two and their imaginations. Through his use of lenses, Datuna effectively unites Picasso and Jay-Z and pushes the viewer to consider concepts of illusion, perception, imagination, and the art object.

Jay-Z/Picasso Opposition of Imaginations is on view at Contessa Gallery, Art Miami 2013, Dec. 4th-8th.

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