Freight+Volume presents PutiPandi, an exhibition of recent paintings by Mallorca-based artist Bel Fullana. PutiPandi will be on view May 12th – June 18th.
The layered, brightly colored hues of Bel Fullana’s canvases revel in extremes. From the severity with which different zones of color are walled off from each other, to the way her otherworldly palette yields a mellowing tranquility—Bel Fullana paintings push their subject-matter and materials to their limit, then spill over into something else.
In the context of PutiPandi (which translated into English means Bad Girls Gang) Fullana’s painterly extremes feed into representations of women who are extreme in their own right. Feminine, marvelous, not to be messed with, alluring, and seemingly indestructible. All the markings of girlishness are present, but as floating signifiers rather than paragons. The figure in the painting Baby Killer, for example, radiates all the enchantment of a Lisa Frank sticker; but her boots with hearts for eyes, and her dolphin tattoo, only serve to highlight the fact that she’s actually posing on a battlefield.
Looking into the glistening, anime-like eyes of Fullana’s “bad girls,” one can’t help but think of global conflicts affecting citizens worldwide. The Instagrammable pose each girl adopts suggests love spilling over into duty. Even as soldiers, however, these girls exist to fight for themselves as much as against the onslaughts of their enemies. The figure featured in Fuck Off Queen has this very message quite literally written all over her body. Yet this urbane vulgarity becomes an eloquent statement of self-affirmation, of indignant autonomy, when set against the patterned flames that constitute the painting’s backdrop.
An air of familiarity, even security, halos the alien qualities of the dangerous women who constitute Fullana’s PutiPandi. Their fishnet stockings, tight bodysuits, tattoos and long nails could easily feature in a trap or reggaeton music video; and the imminent catastrophes they’re poised to defend against lends them an almost totemic stature. Incorporating imagery, signs, and symbols earmarked as “girly” showcases their maturity in the face of the roles society would impose on them. These PutiPandi are not only ciphers for a world steeped in war, but otherworldly visitors who remind us to embrace the adventitious nature of experience.