The 2019 Glastonbury landscape was marked by an image that is already a pure icon: that of a gigantic rainbow with sunglasses lying on the festival's grass. Its author is Paul Insect... But beware, because this is just a small sample of this artist's long career.
Glastonbury is one of those festivals that, every year, throw a pair of images that remain in the eye and in the collective memory. Normally, it is concert pictures. But, in its 2019 edition, one of the great protagonist images had nothing to do with music and much to do with the vibrations that are usually associated with this festival. It was the image of a gigantic sculpture of a kind of anthropomorphic rainbow lying and wearing dark sunglasses. Its colossal dimensions were designed for people to lie around and on it, becoming a true icon of the 2019 Glastonbury landscape.
And also becoming an excuse to put the artist's name back in its place: Paul Insect . After all, this has been a fairly common name in the art of recent decades... Starting, like so many others, in the use of the ubiquitous stencils in the 90s. Gradually, however, the artist moved away from this practice of pure street art to attack other formats, especially painting and sculpture. Since then, Insect's work has been seen in cities such as London, Los Angeles, Stockholm or Sydney. He has also painted with Banksy at The Can Festival, has left his mark on the wall of Palestine and has even made covers for artists such as DJ Shadow .
Now, Paul Insect's first big bell rang in 2007. It was then that, suddenly, his name became talk of the artistic world. Because it is not every day that Damien Hirst himself buys all of your solo exhibition, but that is precisely what happened with the artist's Bullion exhibition in London's Lazarides Gallery . No wonder: his work operates in coordinates of irreverence and subversion of pop culture that can directly be identified with Hirst... As much as the work of both could not be more different.
Insect himself usually mentions other references that he considers much closer: John Baldessari, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, Basquiat and George Condo, for example. Also other more concrete influences such as Van Gogh's chairs or the work of Czech animator Jan Svankmajer . Anyways, all of them are mere references that can serve to understand better Paul Insect's work, but never to explain it at all. Because his is a Dadaist and surrealist vision in which the iconography of contemporary pop culture is celebrated and criticized in equal parts. And, above all, because we are facing one of those artists who have long since found their own voice... And who don't need to shout to be fascinating.