Have a nice day! – The Tourist – Marcelo Campos – 2011

The Tourist

Excess, anxiety, the longing for a quick taste of paradise, the wandering eye searches for images, interviews given through open windows of vehicles in motion, badly framed pictures, thus are but a few of the tourist’s conditions. The common pleasures, popular quotes, irony, elusive shapes, imprecisions, wanting to belong, here are but a few of the conditions in Bruno Miguel’s paintings. Would they fit together like two sides of the same coin?

Bruno Miguel carries out the exhibit Have a nice day, the everyday greeting withholding existentialist utopia. In the exhibit the artist presents the laborious results of two sides of his work, paintings on reappropriated objects and sculptures. On second-hand frames, scribbled on by other artists, Bruno Miguel sets out to depict and instill an on the road state-of-mind, landscapes taken from car windows, in a clear reference to the classics of modern painting. Effects stand out rendering close to 3D or holographic results as layer-on-layer are posed on wooden, glass and metal frames. Taking advantage of what would be left-out or wasted, Bruno paints on every possible inch of the object. Trash is seen as a ressourceful heritage. Painting becomes the task of an almost sculptor, not of those who wish to magically reveal the underlying shapes in blocks of marble, but rather of the kind who indulge in popular culture’s vivid symbolism, outdoor billboard slogans, carnival merrymaking, raw trash material. The result is vivified, inflated and melted with foam, resins, and paint. Are we still dealing with painting?

The images chosen are there to shed a light on the tourist, underlining the various meanings the term may take. Culturally exotic places stand out, fast food stands shaped like Apache teepees, motels, fisheries, slaughterhouses. We are struck by the natural creativity of advertising architecture: balconies, sunrooms, banners, façades of buildings and houses. Everything seems to hit the streets. Bruno Miguel’s paintings seem to walk the same path, coming in through windows, marking street line stripes, matching traffic lights, highlighting the signal letters, and casting shadows. The native foreign tongue is kept to keep the traveller overwhelmed. That way drawings are made when words seem to make sens. Bruno Miguel uses the typography as yet another pictorial and architectural element. It all flows concomitantly: El Rancho Motel, Pancake Palace, Niblocks Pork Store. The viewer is invited behind the curtains of American culture, unveiling ancestral ethnic and aesthetic realities, ruralities, migrations, frontiers and colonial conquest.

Inclined to sculpture, interested in space, yet mantaining painting as a goal, a series of imposing objects mimic mountains, vegatation, stones and rocks on a toy or scenographic scale. Like the Hollywood Sci-fi studio settings, revealing the aesthetic of a generation, the pieces stand on chair and table legs, flat or curved, sometimes in resin others out of wood. The artist bravely takes on the role of the carnival scenographist, the kiddie’s fun park designer, suburban edens. A place where very few have ventured. Instead of exceling in using the glossy lacquer of orientalized sculptures, so much in vogue, Bruno opens the way for wrinkles, hand-made,