“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve“ – Coco Chanel
Since 1998 Rob Pruitt has been using repetitively the image of the panda as a humorous yet emotional symbol of frail endangered species. These days his panda comes camouflaged as «motivational posters» – or, for the purposes of the exhibition, under the heading «motivational pandas». Here our animal is associated with coaching and personal growth messages supposed to unleash motivation and even boost our self-knowledge. The title of the show comes from these “motivational pandas“, but it also chimes with the Artificial Intelligence Style Transfer Self-Portraits, a new series created with software whose smart algorithm takes the contours of the artist’s face and mixes them into the features of art history masters and icons. And so we see Pruitt daring a joyous face-to-face with David Hockney’s blue swimming pool, Bridget Riley’s signature stripes and the Fauvist curves of Henri Matisse.
- Rob Pruitt , Motivational Panda (Heaven / Henry David Thoreau) - 2017