PIXNIT: Folie que la nouveauté

DeCordova Exhibits
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On View 2008 - 2011

PIXNIT is the pseudonym, and perhaps alter-ego of an artist whose identity is currently unknown. The artist adopted this name (based on the Latin phrase me pinxit, “I painted this,” which often accompanies artist signatures on European Late Medieval and Renaissance paintings) in 2006, to protect herself as she embarked on an ambitious project of urban guerilla graffiti art in Boston and Los Angeles. Now PIXNIT increasingly turns her attention to the creation of large scale site-specific installations in places devoted to contemporary art, like galleries, art fairs, and alternative spaces. Folie que la nouveauté, commissioned and designed for The Café @ DeCordova, is her first museum installation.

PIXNIT’s work on the streets significantly informs her indoor aesthetic. Her graffiti art was based not on the familiar bold and highly stylized “tags” (signatures) which became the dominant form of unofficial urban art in the 1980s, but rather on imagery based on the history of decorative arts, applied with spray paint through hand-cut stencils. By inserting visual quotations from 17th- through 19th-century architectural ornament, ironwork, and wallpaper into the contemporary urban fabric, PIXNIT created an anonymous public art that commented on urban design, decorative fashion, the uses and misuses of social space, and issues surrounding renewal and beautification.

Here in The Café, PIXNIT’s technique and sources remain the same, but are complicated and enriched by several factors. Foremost is her prominent reproduction of a 1797 etching by Alexis Chataigner, which satirically contrasts characteristic dress and behavior before and after the French Revolution. PIXNIT’s imagery also responds specifically to the unique architectural, functional, and social space of The Café itself. In sum, Folie que la nouveauté addresses the perennial interweavings of fashion and politics, the contemporary and the historical, and the real and the faux. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same).