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David de la Mano - The Shape of Things To Come

Words:

Edd Norval
December 16, 2019

Monochromatic artworks cannot help but embody a pregnant sense of duality. Evocative of the most famous aesthetic representation of black and white or good and evil - the yin-yang is perhaps its most famous product of the dual colourway. Naturally dichotomous, monochrome in art offers a stark and striking perspective and in David de la Mano's murals, a powerful way to convey his terrifying vision of our imagined future.

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Drawing on surrealistic and fantastical elements for his works, de la Mano constructs hybrid realities that seem vaguely possible - scarily so - but with enough imagination in his vivid imagery to remove it from the realms of our reality. As such, viewing the unique pieces as satire is one way of understanding the artist whose outlook might not be political per se, but undeniably socially concerned in character.


His work is inquisitive of the masses and mob behaviour. It's both sociological and anthropological in concept through the way it interrogates groupthink and lifts the veil on 'I just followed them' kind of sheep behaviour.


Particularly pertinent at this moment in time - when such divisive thinking has become pervasive in our lives - he defies the political left-right spectrum by making relatable yet unassociated silhouttes go to work. Their presence acts as commentary on the insidious element of our psyche that can easily manipulated by charismatic demagogous and the strangling tendrils of social media. These are two realities we can bear witness to regularly in our daily lives.

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The individuals present; protesting, at war or celebrating, all converge into something larger, greater or more significant. These figures coalesce Escher-like into a larger symbol - individuals becoming one, a face, an animal, a statement about groupthink that every single person is somewhat complicit in.


A unique gravitational pull emanates from the bold designs, convincing the audience like an auteur's propaganda warning us that we are all in this together - all the killing, the elected of corrupt politicians and everything else that goes wrong. This implication is sad, but entirely just. We might Tweet our discontent, but do we ever actually act on it?


It's here, as a call-to-arms, that de la Mano's paintings come in their own. Instead of simply allowing us to interpret, they provoke us into thinking and hopefully, into acting. A lot of shared opinions swirl around and into each other on online spheres or in public discourse - now they have a cohesive visual depictor in the artist. Perhaps instead of our groupthink converging into something negative, de la Mano seems to suggest that we could band together into a poisitive force. It's no longer groupthink, but groupact.

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